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Grant Competition: Future Economy Investor Partnership

You could secure up to £1.4 million in grant funding plus support from an investment partner through Round 4 of Innovate UK’s Future Economy Investor Partnership SME competition. 

The competition is designed to combine Innovate UK’s expertise in supporting promising technologies with the network, advice, and financial backing provided by private investors. 

You may be eligible for this competition if you are:

  • A UK-registered micro, small, or medium-sized business 
  • Working on a scalable project which promises to have a significant impact
  • Planning to carry out and exploit your work in the UK
  • Capable of delivering a 6 to 24-month project costing £50,000 to £2 million

Your project must focus on one of the three themes set out in Innovate UK’s action plan for business innovation. They are:

  • Net zero
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Next-generation digital technologies and technology families

Below I’ll explain how the competition works and how to apply. 

If you want a quick, no-hassle assessment of whether you’re eligible for the Future Economy Investor Partnership Competition, just get in touch.

Finding a partner

If you are considering applying for this competition, Innovate UK offers a range of resources that can help understand and improve your readiness for investment. 

As a first port of call, speak to Innovate UK Edge, who can help you understand your investment readiness and strengthen your plan for growth.

Innovate UK also advises that you contact Innovate UK KTN (knowledge transfer network), who can tell you if there are specific programmes connecting companies in your sector with relevant partners. The Catapult Network can also help you make connections with suitable investors. 

Armed with this advice, you then need to make contact with one of Innovate UK’s list of approved partners. Your partner needs to confirm that you’re in a position to apply for grant funding; you’ll be asked to name your partner in your application. 

My colleagues and I at GrantTree have a great deal of experience connecting innovative SMEs with suitable project partners. 

If you want help picking a partner that can best support your project, just get in touch.

How much funding can I apply for?

The amount of funding you can apply for depends on the type of project you’re looking to undertake, your eligible costs and the size of your company.

Three types of projects are eligible for this competition. Here’s a breakdown alongside the minimum and maximum durations and project costs for each one.

Feasibility Studies Industrial Research Projects Experimental Development Projects
Project Costs
£50,000 - £300,000
£100,000 - £1 million
£250,000 - £2 million
Project Duration
6-12 months
6-24 months
12-24 months

If you are looking to fund a feasibility study or industry research project, you can apply for a grant covering up to 70% of your project costs if you are a micro or small business and up to 60% if you are a medium-sized business.

If you are looking to fund an experimental development project, you can apply for a grant covering up to 45% of your costs if you’re a micro or small business and 35% of your costs if you’re a medium-sized business.

More on the definitions of micro, small and medium-sized companies here.

How to apply for the Future Economy Investor Partnership competition

The application for the Future Economy Investor Partnership competition is split into three rounds:

  1. Project details
  2. Application questions
  3. Finances

1. Project details

This six-part section asks you for a range of background information about your project, such as who in your company will be working on it and how you would like it to be described publicly. It is not scored.

2. Application questions

The application questions section is the most important part of the application. In it, you will have to demonstrate your project’s eligibility for grant funding, its viability, and its potential to disrupt your industry. 

There are 13 questions in all, covering outcomes and route to market, the wider impacts of your project, the risks, and your approach to project management.

3. Finances

Here, you must complete a detailed account of your project costs.

Maximise your chances with GrantTree

If you are looking to secure a sizable grant to take your project to the next level, GrantTree is here to help.

With an industry-leading 65% success rate, our grant writing team has the industry-specific expertise and competition experience to give you the best possible chance of securing funding.

And with a range of service tiers available, GrantTree has an offering to suit your need and finances.

To learn more, just get in touch.

Speak to GrantTree

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