Launch of £150m loan scheme for innovative SMEs

The government has launched a series of loan competitions offering up to £150m to small and medium-sized businesses to support their research and development projects.

The loans will support innovations seen as having the greatest potential to support future economic growth and address social challenges, the government revealed on Thursday.

They will be provided in a number of areas, including next-generation digital technologies as well as the “7 technology families” of the Innovation strategy – a strategy focusing on the best way for the government to help businesses access research, development and innovation.

These seven families cover advanced materials and manufacturing, engineering biology, electronics, sensors, photonics and quantum, robotics and smart machines.

Funding will be provided by Innovate UK and will be available to SMEs over the next three years. Businesses can apply for funding through the Innovation Funding Service.

“Supporting our talented innovators, not just to develop their ideas, but also to bring those ideas to market, will be key to developing an economy based on the technologies of the future and securing the UK’s status as a true nation of innovation,” said science. Minister George Freeman.

Projects already supported through the loan program include portable freezers to safely deliver vaccines to care homes and medical practices, a platform designed to protect hospitals and health centers against cyberattacks, and hospital displays. patents preventing the transmission of pathogens and viruses.

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Businesses with late-stage projects can apply for a loan of between £100,000 and £2 million, with flexible repayment terms to help secure future growth and business success.

The new program will begin with monthly competition rounds, where applicants will be required to demonstrate evidence of a high quality proposed innovation project, suitability for a loan and inability to access funding for their project from commercial finance providers.

To date, government loan schemes have committed £163m to around 200 businesses across the UK. More than a third of portfolio companies have accessed additional private investment, raising more than £110m of new capital, with an average increase of £1.8m, according to the government.

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