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Global Incubator Programme: business acceleration for SMEs

An acceleration programme for innovative SMEs to explore the potential of overseas markets.
An international meeting overlaid with an aeroplane and connect world

The Global Incubator Programme is an acceleration programme for innovative SMEs to explore the potential of overseas markets.

Apply to take part


Are you ready to scale your business globally?

You need to explore the potential of overseas markets before you can grow. The Global Incubator Programme is an acceleration programme for cohorts of 6-8 innovative SMEs to spend time in world-leading incubators abroad.

Our structured programme uses an intensive four-stage method to tackle the challenges that most companies face when entering global business markets. Small and medium-sized enterprises can explore the potential of specific overseas markets and access world-class mentors and tailored workspaces. 

The programme operates in four countries: the USA, Canada, Singapore and India.

Who is the Global Incubator Programme for?

In order to be eligible for the Global Incubator Programme, you must be a small or medium sized company based in the UK. 

The four stages of the programme are as follows:


A two-day preparation workshop delivered to the entire group in the UK. You will be allocated an innovation and growth specialist who will work with you on your strategic development plan for the programme. You will receive an overview of the innovation and sector landscape of the country's market and training to maximise the incubation experience.



A market visit as a group, providing the opportunity to consider technology and market fit, preliminary customer validation and an introduction to ecosystem players.



Working with your specialist, refine your strategic development plan, spend 3-6 months in the incubator within the market country and experience a tailored programme of activities.



Work with your specialist to exploit the programme and consider the potential funding, connections, skills and expertise required to enable opportunities that will impact your company and enable it to grow.


Selection for the incubation programme

The Global Incubator Programme operates on a competitive basis and businesses selected against the criteria listed on the programme page are required to actively participate in all four stages.


What is the cost of Global Incubator Programme?

Innovate UK will cover the training and incubation costs offered by this programme (conditions apply) as well as the Participate market visit. Companies must cover staff time and any travel and accommodation if a physical programme is possible.


Apply for Global Incubator Programme 


Canada - Artificial Intelligence

Why Canada? Canada is ranked among the top five countries for commercial AI-focused ventures and has the most patents per million people among the G7 nations and China. Toronto's start-up ecosystem also hosts the largest concentration of AI-startups, with 273 firms, thanks to Canada's support of foreign-owned multinational corporations

In 2017, Canada released a national AI strategy to attract and retain world-class AI researchers, foster a collaborative AI ecosystem, advance national AI initiatives and understand societal implications of AI. 

From this, $93 million was invested in research institutions and AI talent, which has helped make Canada one of the world's leading players in the sector and has led to investments and job creation.

Applications close on 3rd April 2023

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Shortlist Interviews between 4th and 10th May 2023
Market visit #1: 24th - 30th June 2023
Market visit #2: 14th - 20th October 2023

Online Application Form can be found here
Example GIP Application Form (to prepare submissions only) can be found here
Register for the briefing event here


Singapore - Advanced Manufacturing

Why Singapore? The Singapore Manufacturing 2030 Vision sets out a 10-year plan to grow the sector by 50%. As the world progresses towards industry 4.0, sectors in advanced manufacturing are growing in importance to help materialize this vision. 

Leading firms across industrial sectors such as Shell, Micron, and Merck have chosen Singapore as a strategic manufacturing hub.

Singapore is the world’s 4th largest global exporter of high-tech goods and produces 5 of the world’s top 10 drugs. Singapore is a critical manufacturing base producing a diverse range of medical technology products from implantable pacemakers, to contact lenses and life science instruments for global markets. Virtually every key gadget today has parts created in Singapore. You most likely own a piece of Singapore’s electronics industry, industry, from Seagate’s hard disk drives and HP Inc’s print heads to Energizer’s iconic batteries.

This is a four-stage programme, including preparation workshops, an immersion market visit, incubation (March – July 2023), subsequent exploitation of the programme and a showcase visit. 

Applications are now closed.

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Shortlist Interviews on 31st January 2023 & 1st February 2023
Market visit #1 (Immersion) w/c 6th March 2023
Incubation Programme  March – July 2023
Market visit #2 (Showcase) Oct 2023 during SWITCH


USA (Houston) - Healthtech

Why Houston? As a hub for medical device manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and health research, Houston has more than 1,760 life sciences companies, cutting-edge health care facilities and research institutions. The healthcare and life sciences industries collectively employ 320,500 workers.

The Programme is delivered in partnership with the Texas Medical Centre (TMC), Houston, USA and supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT), as part of the BioBridge agreement.

We would welcome applications from innovative companies who could be developing technologies across a broad range of Healthtech sectors including:

• Clinical Decision Support
• Hospital Efficiency
• Remote Patient Monitoring
• Digital Therapeutics
• Surgical Devices
• ICU Devices
• Outpatient Medical Devices
• AI in Radiology
• Wearables & Devices that enable
Patient Monitoring
• Diagnostic Platforms
• Biomaterials

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Programme  Briefing recording here

Applications are now closed.

Shortlist Interviews: 13th – 24th February 2023
Cohort Confirmed: Friday 3rd March 2023
Incubation Period: May to November 2023


Canada (Saskatchewan) - Agritech

This GIP will include two weeklong market visits: one in March 2023 the other in June 2023 with virtual incubation while in the UK between these two visits. The recruited UK cohort will join a cohort of Agri-Tech companies from across Canada who will participate on the same virtual incubation activities as the UK cohort, and attend the same visits in Regina, Saskatchewan. The programme will culminate at Canada’s Farm Show in June 2023. 

Why Canada?  Saskatchewan is home to a vibrant start-up culture and a strong ecosystem of world-leading agriculture and food companies. It is home to more than 40% of Canada’s cultivated farmland–some of the most productive farmland in the world. There is a strong ecosystem of world-leading Agri-Tech companies, renowned education and research institutions, world-class transportation and logistics infrastructure, and a strong business community.

Applications are welcomed from Innovative UK Agri-Tech companies in the following areas:

-    Big data and predictive analytics
-    Supply chain, traceability, and sustainability
-    Precision agriculture
-    Robotics and automation
-    Farm management software, sensing, and Internet of Things
-    Animal health

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Briefing event Tuesday 22 November 2022
Applications are now closed.

Market visit 1    Saturday 18 March – Friday 24 March 2023
Market visit 2    Saturday 17 March – Friday 23 June 2023


Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia) - Ocean Scaleup Accelerator 

Why Canada? Canada has become a world leader in engineering products and services suited to extreme harsh ocean environments, marine remote sensing technologies, and ocean observing systems.

Atlantic Canada contributes more than half of Canada’s $36bn ocean economy and is home to a strong cluster of ocean industries and to ground-breaking ocean research. This region is quickly becoming a globally recognized hub of oceans expertise with the potential to be a significant contributor to a number of Global Value Chains associated with the oceans sector.

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Programme Briefing recording here

Applications are now closed.
Programme commences (virtually): January 2023

Market visits:
First market visit: January/February 2023
Second market visit: June 2023
Continued support from Innovate UK EDGE: July - October 2023


Previous Programmes

USA (New York) - Clean Growth

Why USA? The US Government has pledged to cut US greenhouse emissions in half by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2050. As a result, the US is scaling up the development and deployment of clean energy technologies to build a new clean energy infrastructure and economy.

New York’s commitment to clean tech and renewable energy is driving tech manufacturing and reinvigorating the state’s economy – while establishing New York State as a business destination for industry innovators looking to access one of the world’s largest markets.

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Applicant briefing recording:

Applications closed on 9 September 2022



Gateway to Australia - Agri-Tech

Why Australia?  The adoption of technology presents a significant opportunity for Australian agriculture to improve profitability, with digital technologies alone predicted to increase GVP by 25% to over $20billion. Australia’s agriculture industry is on track to be a $100billion industry by 2030, creating a perfect launchpad for UK businesses to connect, collaborate and scale in a diverse and rapidly growing market.

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Applications closed on 15th August 2022. 


Canada - Advanced Manufacturing Cohort Two

Why Canada? Canada is ranked among the top four start-up ecosystems globally and is the number one destination for entrepreneurs. Innovators working in automation, robotics, IoT, machine learning, and AI are choosing Canada.

From start-ups to scale-ups, MaRS offers a range of services that help tech founders grow their companies and create meaningful innovation. MaRS works with 1,400 companies across Canada, turning breakthrough ideas into products and services with global impact.

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 Applications are now closed.


Singapore - Agrifood

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Applications are now closed.