Attracting innovation funding and finance ranks alongside entering new markets and exploiting innovation effectively as a key priority for fast-growing, innovative businesses that ultimately want to scale. Supporting your innovation and expansion plans, we can assist you to develop your finance and funding strategy and review your applications as a critical friend.
Having conducted a thorough audit of your needs, our first engagement with you may focus on one of the following areas:
- Making sense of the many funding and finance opportunities available
- Advising on the best options from regional, national and international sources, both public and private
- Support and guidance to improve your pitching performance
- Providing access to our national Pitchfest investor readiness initiative
- Helping you develop your appeal to investors in the round, to achieve your scaling ambition
Tailored innovation funding and finance support for every business stage
We can offer bespoke advice to UK-based businesses so that they can identify the right strategy for their stage of growth. For example, at:
Seed and early stage
- Introducing financial controls, financial KPIs and understanding financial management
- Developing a realistic finance strategy to achieve innovation goals and growth ambitions, embracing both grant funding and private equity finance. Please see our focus on R&D / grant funding below
- Maximising the benefit available through R&D tax credits and understanding the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and patent box schemes
- Supporting you through the 2nd round equity finance process
- Securing grant funding for collaborative projects
- Improving the management of cash and working capital
- Leveraging the assets of the company, a critical appraisal of investor attractiveness for next stage quilty raises, including for possible listing
- Using debt finance
- Supporting you to harness innovation loan finance
Please contact us for a consultation about funding and finance-related business support with one of our innovation and growth specialists.
Accessing R&D grant funding
We know that Research and Development (R&D) funding is important for companies that are developing innovative products, processes, services or technologies.
This type of funding is particularly important for Seed and Early Stage companies undertaking feasibility studies, prototype development and testing.
A primary source of R&D funding is government grants, which support companies to test and de-risk ideas without the requirement for repayment.
At Innovate UK EDGE, we can help you to identify the right R&D grant funding opportunities, including those offered through Innovate UK, and help you navigate your way through the application process.
Applying for funding
If you are applying for grant funding, you will need to understand the eligibility criteria and application process to ensure your innovation project complies.
Discover essential questions to ask before applying for innovation funding here.
Preparing for investment
For businesses seeking investment, first, you will need to have a plan and strategy in place for growth, as well as an idea of the amount of money needed to achieve your goals.
Our innovation and growth specialists can help you to evaluate your business offering and market to identify any gaps or weaknesses. We can also help with financial forecasting, Intellectual Property rights and future projections.
Finally, we can help pinpoint the right finance option for your needs and connect you with potential investors or sources of funding for innovation.
Understanding sources of finance & funding for innovation
External finance is any funding that comes from outside your business. This can include help from family and friends, a bank loan, grant or private investment.
You can either choose equity investment (selling shares of your business to raise money) or debt finance (borrowing from a lender). The other alternative is grant funding.
Find an overview of some of the different sources of business innovation funding and finance below.
Angel investment is suitable for early-stage businesses with a clear growth strategy and business plan. Business angels will invest their time, money and resources in exchange for a share in your company.
Equity Crowd Funders
Equity crowdfunding gives you access to a group of investors with diverse backgrounds and experience. Individual investors will apply for a share of your early-stage business.
Grant funding often comes from government agencies, research councils and Growth Hubs. Grants can provide funding for innovation projects or for specific topics or themes. An R&D grant could help your business develop a new product, process or service and get it to market.
Although you will not have to repay the grant, grant funding often comes with specific conditions.
Growth capital allows your business to accelerate growth by entering new markets, developing new products or investing in technology. This option is suited to growth stage businesses with evidence of year on year growth.
Private equity finance is suitable for growth stage businesses with potential for accelerated growth. This medium to long term investment is made in exchange for equity in the business and often involves larger sums of money.
Venture capitalists will invest in your business in return for equity shares to help it grow. This type of finance is suitable for early stage businesses looking for a flexible option to scale quickly.
Asset finance takes physical assets, such as equipment, as security for lending. This type of lending could work for a growth stage business with assets of value looking for a cash flow injection.
An EFG is a 75% guarantee provided to a bank or approved lender by the Secretary of State in support of a lending facility to a business. This can provide support when looking for additional funds.
Export finance reduces some of the risk of exporting and trading abroad. Export capital can include bonds, guarantees, letters of credit or working capital loans. An option for UK businesses looking to enter new overseas markets.
Initial Public Offering
An Initial Public Offering (IPO) is when a privately owned business sells shares to the public for the first time. This allows growth stage businesses and scale-ups to raise significant funds.
Peer to Peer Lending
Peer to Peer lending comes from individuals, businesses and institutions as an alternative to bank loans. Borrowers and lenders are matched via online platforms. Suitable for growth stage businesses looking for quick access to finance whilst retaining control of the business.
Start-up loans can help new and seed stage businesses get set up for trading. This is a personal loan for business owners who have not been able to secure finance from traditional lenders.
Crowdfunding, or reward-based crowdfunding offers rewards in exchange for investment from individuals through online platforms such as Kickstarter. This provides an alternative to debt or equity investment, but, it can be difficult to reach your funding target.
A term loan is a lump sum of capital that you pay back at a fixed interest rate.
Trade finance is commonly used for international trade, in which the lender pays for goods which are security for the advance. It can be used to protect against currency fluctuations, political instability and other external factors.
What our clients say about us
Our innovative business is on track to scale, thanks to Innovate UK EDGE. It connected us with wider stakeholder networks and opened new markets.