New funding option for UK tech start-ups

The Government has announced a new £2 million investment grant designed to help UK tech start-ups bring new ideas to market.

According to the report, published by Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation, the fund will help to bridge a “productivity gap” that exists between UK and international competitors.

The fund will be available to tech-focused businesses to “prove and test ideas” that enable small businesses to become more productive, which could include technologies such as cloud computing, mobile technology and e-purchasing.

As of January, the Government has allocated funds to two projects. The first involving AI technologies, such as chatbots, to improve customer experiences in the retail and hospitality sector, and the second supporting greater digitisation in dairy farming.

With up to £60,000 available per project, this opportunity for fledgling entrepreneurs could help fast-track their products to market.

Commenting on the scheme, Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. As part of our modern Industrial Strategy, we are supporting them with new investments to boost their productivity and ensure they can continue to thrive in the future.”

Eligibility and applications

Qualifying projects must look at how SMEs can become more productive through one or more of the following methods:

  • adopting tried-and-tested technologies, such as accountancy, CRM, HR and payment systems;
  • adopting modern business practices; and
  • improving the use of technologies and practices already active within the business.

Specific considerations might also include:

  • addressing information failures and improving awareness of relevant technologies and practices;
  • building the confidence of SMEs on the application of these technologies and practices;
  • offering advice services through trusted advisors, supply chains and informal peer-to-peer networks;
  • exploring how using complementary technologies and practices can affect adoption;
  • comparing lower cost, scalable interventions with more intensive types of support; and
  • exploring specific characteristics and issues SMEs may face, such as within family-run firms.

If you’re a growing business looking to expand and would like to look at funding options, please get in touch. We have an experienced team of corporate solicitors to help lead you through the investment process, from Seed funding rounds to public grants and more.

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Maung Aye
Maung is a partner in our Corporate and Commercial department. He joined Mackrell Turner Garrett following corporate law positions in London and in a leading regional firm in Essex. Maung read European Legal Studies at Lancaster University and the Università degli Studi di Trento and is a fluent Italian speaker.