Innovate UK Launches £25m Loan Fund
UK SMEs can access loans that are affordable, patient and flexible for late stage innovation projects that have a clear route to commercial success.

Innovate UK (IUK) is offering loans to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) overcome barriers to their innovations becoming a successful, commercial reality. The aim is to make a considerable economic impact which results in significant, sustainable business growth.

Loans are for highly innovative late stage research and development (R&D) projects with the best potential for the future. There should be a clear route to commercialisation and economic impact.

Projects must lead to new products, processes or services that are significantly ahead of others currently available or propose an innovative use of existing products, processes or services. They can also involve a new or innovative business model.

IUK has allocated up to £25 million to fund projects across four rounds of this competition. Loans of between £100,000 and £2 million are available, based on project proposals and IUK’s judgement of the suitability and affordability of a loan for the business.

IUK will fund experimental development projects that can include prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation. Projects must focus on one or more of the following themes.

  • Net Zero
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Next generation digital technologies
  • Technology families
To receive an innovation loan for a new project applicants must be a UK registered SME carrying out a project from or in the UK.

Funding will be allocated across a series of four competitions. The first competition is now open with a deadline for applications of 13 April 2022 (11:00 BST).

Current round competition dates:

  • Open: 10 March 2022
  • Competition closing date: 13 April 2022 (11:00 BST)

The funding available will be allocated across a series of four competitions with the next round opening on the day the previous round closes. The final round 4 will close on 13 July 2022.

  • Round 1 opens 10 March 2022 (this competition)
  • Round 2 opens 14 April 2022
  • Round 3 opens 12 May 2022
  • Round 4 opens 9 June 2022
Applications are made online. More details can be accessed at the Innovate UK website.