I am pleased to say that up to £10m in innovation loans is available to UK small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to scale up and commercialise innovative manufacturing processes and materials development.
Innovation loans will be made through Innovate UK Loans Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Innovate UK.
The loan competition aims to help SMEs progress their innovative manufacturing and materials projects, and achieve manufacturing and commercial readiness.
Projects should focus on a late-stage manufacturing or materials innovation rather than be at a product level. They may include (but are not restricted to):
- Creation of new or improved manufacturing facilities, equipment and systems
- Development of software
- Development of new business models
- Materials testing
It is open to all manufacturing sectors and I would encourage companies wishing to scale-up to seek out more information at: bit.ly/2p8DaJ9 – the deadline for registration is midday on 25 April, 2018.
New Women in Innovation awards
Promoting female entrepreneurship has been a priority for Innovate UK since the first Women in Innovation awards was launched in 2016. Their chief executive, Ruth McKernan, announced last month their long-term commitment to expand the programme.
A second phase of the Women in Innovation Awards competition will be run in 2018, alongside a dedicated support programme, continuing their commitment to encourage female-led innovation.
The inaugural Women in Innovation campaign was aimed at addressing the disproportionately low number of women seeking support from Innovate UK.
It resulted in a 10% increase in registrations from female applicants for Innovate UK support and saw a 31-strong cohort of women achieve business successes.
Last month, Innovate UK announced the 2018 awards at two events held around International Women’s Day. This was an opportunity to hear from the original Women in Innovation award holders, such as Pauline Dawes, managing director of SOMI Trailers.
Pauline has drawn on her 10 years of professional experience to inform her innovation; leading the development of a trailer body that uses the space underneath trucks to transport greater loads with every journey. This could lead to a saving of 10,000 truck journeys a day in the UK alone.
Other award winners include Elena Dieckmann, co-founder of Aeropowder, who has been selected for Forbes’ 30 under 30. Aeropowder is a start-up, turning waste feathers from the poultry industry into innovative materials.