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From carrying out necessary research to developing existing projects, and everything in between, innovation funding can help to provide business with essential funding, ensuring their business grows over time. In today’s article, we’re examining the innovation funding options that are available for large corporations.

According to data platform Beauhurst, 69% of companies that have received large innovation grants since 2011 are operating within the Technology and IP sector; and, as ‘the central source of economic growth’, innovation is constantly changing its scope. 

As per the Innovation and research strategy for growth policy paper, published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the growth of the UK economy crucially depends on the innovation performance of the rapidly evolving service sector, and of large medium and low tech industries such as manufacturing, construction and energy supply.

To see what financial support large corporations could benefit from, we’ve put together a guide, looking at the different types of innovation funding streams. From tax credits to other government strategies, read on to find out more about the available schemes.

Government Digital Service

As a world leader in ‘using innovative techniques enabled by technology to deliver outstanding public services’, the Government Digital Service (GDS) was formed in 2011 as a way of leading digital transformation. Heading up the Digital, Data, and Technology function, they help the government choose the right technology and support the use of emerging technologies by the public sector.

Innovate UK

Offering various types of funding opportunities throughout the year, one of the most well-known government strategies providing funding for all types of corporations and looking to push the UK tech sector forward is Innovate UK – part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). It is the main grant funding stream on offer for business-led R&D projects.

Seeking to support ‘innovative ideas and business growth through grant funding, loans or procurements’ and helping to ‘drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop and realise the potential of new ideas’, each organisation can apply for a funding opportunity based on tailored eligibility criteria and scope.

One of the various benefits offered by this type of scheme is the stage at which the funding is available. Offered at an earlier stage than banks and equity investors may be willing to, due to technological or commercial risk, Innovate UK has invested around £2.5 billion in businesses across the country to help launch new ideas since 2007. With industry choosing to match this figure with £1.8 billion, this funding opportunity has so far returned up to £18 billion to the economy. 

Alongside helping over 8,500 organisations realise the potential of new technologies, Innovate UK has also helped to create roughly 70,000 new jobs, working out to 9 for each company the scheme has worked with – that’s also up to £7 to the economy for every £1 invested in a project.

National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta)

Helping organisations ‘to understand and navigate innovation’, Nesta is an Innovation charity, providing funding and helping to support businesses in the tech industry that are focused on making a difference.

Through the use of a clear innovation strategy, organisational design, and research plans, the foundation works with partners and on projects around the globe, constantly seeking new ways to support the backing of entrepreneurship.

The Future Fund

And in the wake of the current pandemic, which has – and will continue to – hit the UK tech industry in a significantly disruptive way, the government has promised a £500m fund investing in high-growth private companies impacted by the crisis.

Known as the Future Fund, the stream looks to provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, as long as they can secure equal match funding from private investors. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has said, ‘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.