Loans help businesses to keep innovating through pandemic


Innovate UK has made up to £134 million in continuity loans available to help small businesses drive on with innovative and exciting new products and services.

Hundreds of businesses have been able to keep their important research and development work going thanks to innovation continuity loans made throughout 2020.

Continuing impact from the pandemic has seen demand for the loans increase in the most recent competition that closed in January 2021.

Loans of between £250,000 and £1.6 million have been made to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and third sector organisations that would otherwise have struggled to continue with research and development activity.

Maintaining R&D is vital

Neil McDaid, Chief Investment Officer for Innovate UK said:

Research and development and innovation are vital for businesses that are looking to compete, grow and succeed.

It often suffers in challenging times, and today’s circumstances are truly challenging. Despite this, we are seeing many examples of fantastic UK innovation both to help us to tackle the pandemic and to develop the products and services of the future.

In addition to our COVID-19 support, Innovate UK’s standard innovation programmes continue, you can search for funding opportunities through the UKRI Funding Finder.

Keeping innovation going

Successful companies that have benefitted from innovation continuity loans include:

  • Kornwall Ltd – the business was able to increase automation and scale production of its innovative Kwickscreen infection barrier that is now being used in hospitals across the UK
  • Maze Theory Ltd – loan funding will help this games company implement new technology developed in an Innovate UK-funded project in its Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom game
  • Orpheus Cyber Ltd – the cyber security business is using loan funding to develop its existing capabilities and combine them into a full-spectrum cyber risk management platform
  • Sunamp Ltd – the developer of the heat battery will use loan funding to improve the technology it developed in its last Innovate UK-supported project for use in increasing the range of refrigerated trucks.

Record applications

Loans were originally available to SMEs seeking to continue with open Innovate UK projects.

Eligibility was later extended to SMEs that wanted to follow on from a successful Innovate UK-funded project and then to SMEs wanting to extend innovation activity that had not been supported by an Innovate UK award in the previous 36 months.

Innovation continuity loans are one of several measures taken by Innovate UK to support businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

These included a £40 million competition to fast-track projects and services designed to boost economic recovery from the impact of the virus.

It attracted a record 20,000 applications and saw 800 businesses receive help to take their ideas to market.

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