The Government has launched a new series of Innovate loans worth £150 million to support innovative SMEs and level up the UK, supported by an independent interim evaluation of the pilot.

Some of the UK’s most innovative businesses are set to benefit from a new series of loan competitions.

The competitions will offer businesses up to £150 million to support their research and development projects, the government announced today.

The Innovate loans will support:

  • innovations deemed to have the strongest potential to support future economic growth and tackle social challenges, across fields such as:
    • net zero
    • health and wellbeing
    • next-generation digital technologies
  • the ‘seven technology families’ of the innovation strategy:
    • advanced materials and manufacturing
    • engineering biology
    • electronics
    • sensors
    • photonics and quantum
    • robotics
    • smart machines.

Funding over three years

The funding, to be delivered through Innovate UK, will be available to small and medium sized-enterprises (SMEs) over the next three years.

It will prioritise projects focused on the most important areas of the future economy as set out in the Innovate UK plan for action.

Businesses can apply for funding through the Innovation Funding Service.

Building on the innovation strategy

The Innovate loans are part of the government’s plan to build on the measures outlined last year in its innovation strategy.

The measures enable UK innovators to access the right finance at the right time in order to grow.

It builds on our world-leading research capability and helps to secure the UK’s position as a science superpower.

Monthly competition rounds

The new full-scale programme will start with monthly competition rounds, for which applicants will need to demonstrate evidence of:

  • a high-quality proposed innovation project
  • suitability to take on a loan
  • inability to access finance for their project from commercial finance providers.

This government-backed finance builds on the success of:

  • an extended pilot programme that has been delivered by Innovate UK Loans Limited since 2017
  • the programme of innovation continuity loans delivered as part of Innovate UK’s coronavirus support package.

Driving productivity and growth

Innovation loans are designed to support suitable SMEs in carrying out late-stage research and development projects, with a clear route to commercial success to drive productivity and growth across the UK.

The decision to transition from pilot to full-scale loans programme was taken following an independent evaluation of the scheme’s success.

The evaluation found that the pilot had been extremely effective. And that the innovation loans programme is viewed as a key finance product within the market, supplying essential funding that would not have been available elsewhere.


Innovate loans are focussed on experimental development projects  – the type that all innovative tech businesses should be looking to undertake to keep them ahead of the competition.

Key to winning these loans will be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact. This is an area Infintec specialises in – making sure the technological road map  matches the market opportunity.

Understanding your market and where your solution adds value is critical, but too often overlooked in the rush to develop the ‘technology’.

We can help you with the entire Innovate loan application process – why not contact us to discuss your ideas.

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