Innovation loans - Innovate UK

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Check if you’re eligible for funding

Innovation loans are for research and development (R&D) projects only. You cannot get an innovation loan for general business purposes.

Innovation loans are not for earlier stages of research and development, such as activities covered under the categories of fundamental research or feasibility studies. If your project is at an earlier stage, you may consider applying for alternative funding, such as an innovation grant.

More details on project eligibility, including any specifics relating to the scope, can be found in the brief of the loan competition you wish to apply into.

Understanding if your business is eligible for an innovation loan

Only single UK-registered SMEs may apply for an innovation loan.

By UK-registered, we mean that your business must be registered with Companies House. We expect you to carry out the bulk of your project work and to exploit the results from or in the UK.

By single, we mean that only one business can apply per application. Collaboration with other individuals or organisations cannot be funded through an innovation loan. You may subcontract work to an individual or organisation as part of the project if you can justify why doing so is critical to the delivery of the project.

For more information on company sizes, please refer to the company accounts guidance on GOV.UK.

This is a change from the EU definition unless you are applying under State aid. If your business does not fall within the definitions given here then you will not be eligible to apply.

You can apply for an innovation loan if you have an existing award from Innovate UK, so long as you are not applying for the same innovation project and we consider that you have made substantial effort to exploit any previous award.

Last updated: 17 August 2021

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