10 UK Innovation Strategy Highlights: Innovate UK EDGE to Expand

Growth graph innovation

Today the UK’s department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched its UK Innovation Strategy.

It comes hot on the heels of the Treasury’s commitment in ‘Build Back Better: Our Plan for Growth’ in March 2021 to make innovation one of three pillars of investment, to act as the foundation on which to build the economic recovery, uniting and levelling up the country. 

The UK’s innovation agency Innovate UK is highlighted as a central player in the UK’s effort to boost innovation in the Strategy. Among many initiatives, its business growth service Innovate UK EDGE will be expanded, to provide bespoke support that will help the UK’s most dynamic R&D-centric companies realise their potential.

Here are some other highlights from the Strategy and information on what the Government’s vision to make the UK a global leader in innovation means for innovative small to mid-sized businesses:

1.    More public investment in R&D annually: It will increase to a record £22 billion. Innovate UK’s parent body UKRI will be responsible for allocating a large proportion of this funding
2.    Innovative companies will find it more straightforward to negotiate the ecosystem through an online finance and innovation hub developed by Innovate UK and the British Business Bank
3.    A £10 million innovation seed fund will provide early-stage patient capital for high-potential businesses. 
4.    New High Potential Individual and Scale-up visa routes will be introduced, and the Innovator route will be revitalised to attract and retain high-skilled, globally mobile innovation talent. 
5.    £127 million will be allocated through the Strength in Places Fund to develop R&D capacity and support local growth across the UK, delivered by UKRI
6.    £25 million of funding will go to the Connecting Capability Fund to help drive economic growth through university-business innovation.
7.    A commitment to ensure government procurement is proactive and supportive, providing a route to market for innovative new products and services
8.    Support for lenders to better assess risk when lending to innovative businesses
9.    A commitment to fuel businesses who want to innovate by ensuring effective access to private and public investment
10.    A £50 million package for innovation infrastructure projects will be provided

This Strategy recognises the challenges inherent in global competition, the opportunities presented by new technologies, our assets such as a vibrant R&D and investment ecosystem and the UK’s outstanding legacy of innovation. It will be of great interest to innovative companies today that want to realise their ambitions to change their industries and society and with that drive economic growth in the UK.

Look out for Innovate UK’s own strategy later in the year to learn more about how Innovate UK, including Innovate UK EDGE, will be your ally in this endeavour.