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New 1.25bn package of funding for innovative UK firms

Posted 20 April 2020 · Add Comment

UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package, the Chancellor announced today.


Courtesy Innovate UK


Rishi Sunak said the targeted and tailored help would ensure firms in some of the most dynamic sectors of the UK economy – ranging from tech to life sciences – are protected through the crisis so they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth.

The comprehensive package includes a new £500 million loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund, and £750 million of targeted support for small and medium sized businesses focusing on research and development.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, said: "Britain is a global leader when it comes to innovation. Our start-ups and businesses driving research and development are one of our great economic strengths, and will help power our growth out of the coronavirus crisis.

"This new, world-leading fund will mean they can access the capital they need at this difficult time, ensuring dynamic, fast-growing firms across all sectors will be able to continue to create new ideas and spread prosperity."

Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, said: "The UK is a world leader in innovation and at this hugely challenging time, we know that young, fast-growing firms require tailored support to see them through.

"This wide-ranging package delivers important help that will protect some of the most dynamic sectors of our economy."

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: "We are the tech and creative capital of Europe, and it’s crucial to maintain our place. This funding will protect high growth businesses and enable the unicorns of tomorrow to thrive so that tech is in pole position to drive our post COVID recovery."

The £500 million Future Fund has been designed to ensure high-growth companies across the UK receive the investment they need to continue during the crisis.

Delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank and launching in May, the fund will provide UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5 million from the government, with private investors at least matching the government commitment. These loans will automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid. To be eligible, a business must be an unlisted UK registered company that has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors in the last five years.

The government is committing an initial £250 million in funding towards the scheme, which will initially be open until the end of September. The scale of the fund will be kept under review.

The £750 million of targeted support for the most R&D intensive small and medium size firms will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme.

Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing Innovate UK customers on an opt-in basis. An extra £550 million will also be made available to increase support for existing customers and £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding. The first payments will be made by mid-May.

This package builds on the government’s existing support for innovative, high-growth firms including the £2.5 billion British Patient Capital fund, the upcoming £200 million Life Sciences Investment Programme, internationally competitive R&D tax reliefs and our major commitments to increase public R&D spending to £22 billion by 2024-25.

Gerard Grech, Chief Executive, Tech Nation said: "This is a bold and welcome intervention for the tech sector. Tech start-ups and scale-ups are crucial to the UK’s future growth, jobs and innovation.

"At this moment of global crisis, the UK must ensure that the tech sector builds on the huge successes it has achieved over the past 10 years, and that it continues to deliver for the economy. In 2019, a staggering 33% of all European tech investment was in the UK. We must do everything to keep building on this success story."

The £750m of targeted support for R&D will be available through Innovate UK’s grants and loan scheme, allocated if your company passes an ‘innovation assessment’. Details to be made available in due course.

The £500m investment scheme will launch in May through the British Business Bank. It will provide UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5m of Government funding, with private investors matching (or bettering) their side, as long as the company has previously raised equity from a third party. It is a convertible loan, so if it cannot be repaid, the money will convert into equity. The eligibility criteria has been set that a business must have raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from a third party over the past five years.

The headline terms of the Future Fund are here .

 


 

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