While it feels to some that business is constrained or even grinding to a halt in the current testing economic times, there is still much innovation and development being made in many sectors.
Back in May, the government launched a £250 million Future Fund of loans to help innovation in business and has recently extended the closing date for applications to the end of January 2021. Backed by the British Business Bank, companies can apply for loans of between £125,000 and £5 million which must be matched by equal funding from private investors.
For businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support because they are pre-revenue or pre-profit, the Future Fund convertible loans may be a viable option. The fund aims to help innovative companies that are facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic.
There are of course eligibility criteria to reach before applying, such as:
- UK-incorporated businesses (only the parent company of a corporate group is eligible)
- At least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last five years
- No shares traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listed venue
- Company incorporated on or before 31 December 2019
- Either half or more employees are UK-based or half or more revenues are from UK sales
The application process for a Future Fund loan must be initiated by an investor who has invested at least £12,500, rather than the company. Applications are reviewed by the British Business Bank in a minimum of 21 days and if all the conditions are met, funds are released.
The Future Fund is part of a multi-billion pound package of measures announced by the government to ‘protect firms driving innovation in the UK’, notably those in the tech and life sciences sectors, so they can continue to develop innovative new products.
£750 million of support for small and medium-sized businesses in research and development was also announced back in May. Available through Innovate UK, the innovation agency, up to £200 million of grant and loan payments were accelerated for 2,500 existing customers. Another £550 million of extra support was made available for existing Innovate UK customers and payments of £175,000 were made to around 1,200 non-customer companies.
Continuity Loans for SMEs and third sector organisations that have an Innovate UK award and are experiencing difficulties in continuing their live project are also available. The loans are for £250,000 to £1.6 million and applications are open until 31 December 2020 whilst funds are still available.
Thinking of applying for a Future Fund loan or an Innovate UK Continuity Loan? Time is of the essence with the deadlines for both schemes looming large – as an innovative company in the science and technology sector, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the lengthy application processes of funds, grants and loans.
If you’d like assistance or guidance to maximise business potential and make your innovation affordable, the team at CRM would be delighted to share their specialist knowledge of R&D tax relief, Patent Box tax relief and other important aspects of finances in the sector. Call the experts on 01865 379272.