Did you know that you can apply for innovation funding to invest in research and development?

Especially for ideas linked to health and wellbeing following Coronavirus?

In our recent webinar ‘Innovation Funding, what it is and how to access it’, we discovered how funding has helped SageTech Medical Equipment Ltd and Touchbyte Ltd to provide innovative solutions to some of society’s major health problems. Layla Burrows from Business West shared guidance for applications and Marc Barlow, formerly from GE Healthcare, told us what funders are looking for. 

You can sign up to our mailing list to watch the full webinar and check out some of the top takeaways below.

Funding innovation in response to Coronavirus

Jeremy from Touchbyte Ltd said that Innovation Funding has helped the company to respond to problems caused by Coronavirus. 

“We originally started looking in the retail and hospitality sector to fund our face recognition technology. But after contacting the University of Exeter’s Smartline Project, we started looking at e-wellbeing. Working together we successfully applied for a grant.” 

“First we developed facial recognition technology at the touch of a button, ensuring secure access for medical storage. But Coronavirus meant that health professionals don’t want to press buttons anymore. We heard the same problem in the construction industry where sites use fingerprint security. That gave us the idea to go contactless and we’ve recently secured more funding with the Smartline Project to develop more ideas.”

Innovate UK offer continuity loans for small to medium businesses and third sector organisations facing a sudden shortage due to the pandemic. Scroll down for more information about funding opportunities.

What to consider before applying for grants

Dr Sebastian Brown told us how SageTech Medical Equipment Ltd first received £20,000 from Innovate UK’s Smart Grant. Later they successfully secured a larger sum of £80,000 helping to fund their technology and salaries. 

“The Smart Grant was a great start for us. It gave us insight into market opportunities and enabled us to seek investments based on hard data. But two of our following applications were unsuccessful. That taught us a lot and disrupted our timelines, but we stuck with it. 

For businesses thinking of applying for Innovation Funding Sebastian shares some advice: “For smaller grants, working with organisations like Business West can help you learn how to build a product and take it to market. But for bigger grants, we took a different approach. We worked with a grant writer to ensure we showed our company in its best light and to demonstrate how we would deliver on our promises. 

“I recommend doing as much preparation as possible before putting in your application. Take time to research the grant, who was involved and why the specification was chosen. This will help you to decide if your organisation matches the criteria before investing time and resources.”

Jeremy from Touchbyte Ltd said: “It’s important to get your team onside and supporting and to really understand the questions in the application. Organisations like Business West and the Smartline Project really help through that process.” Layla from Business West added: “Getting the application reviewed by as many people as possible is crucial to getting it right. Our advice is to keep it simple and keep it clear.” 

Watch the full webinar replay: ‘Innovation Funding, what it is, and how to access it’

Innovation Funding from Enterprise Europe Network 

The Enterprise Europe Network provides funding, expertise and contacts to connect you with the right international partners that can help you grow your business. Organisations and businesses of any size can apply for up to 70% of the income you need for projects between 6 – 36 months (up to the value of £2 million). It’s worth noting that you need funds upfront as the payment comes at the end of the project. 

Funding from Innovate UK 

The Innovate UK Network (IUK) has up to £500million to invest in innovation, research and development projects for a unique game-changing product, process or service that doesn’t yet exist in the market. You can visit the website for more information.

Checklist for your application

Marc Barlow said that funders like to see clear evidence that demonstrates the value of your innovation. To write an evidence-based application Marc recommends including the following:

  • A clear articulation of what problem was being solved
  • An explanation of the benefits (for example to society, professionals, or institutions 
  • A summary of the impacts (for example clinical, financial, operational or environmental) 
  • An outline of how innovative your product, process or service is

Thinking about applying for innovation funding?

The Inclusivity Project also offers grants, advice, consultancy and in-residence research partnerships. We can work together to help you develop your ideas and move along the innovation journey.


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Ruth Gripper, business engagement officer at The Inclusivity Project, describes the support we give to businesses. To hear more, find out how you can work with us