Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced that government is doubling investment in the Fast Start Competition, adding an additional £20 million and bringing the total amount available to £40 million.
The investment comes from a £211 million government support package pledged to push forward business-led innovation and is part of a wider investment grant of £1.25 billion for innovative UK businesses.
The grant, managed by InnovateUK, has received a record number of applications with over 8,600 proposals submitted from across the UK. The additional funding ensures investment into over 800 projects.
The purpose of the funding is to develop new ways of working and help build resilience across industries and communities. This has ensured that the current projects chosen cover a variety of sectors and bring widely different solutions.
As techUK originally reported, the original grant offered £20 million, with up to £50,000 each for chosen projects. These projects would start at the beginning of June and last for six months.
Current projects include I3d Robotics, a virtual-reality training/teaching platform to enable medical students to upskill remotely, and Elchies Estates Limited, a new virtual farmers’ markets to replace traditional markets which have had to close as a result of COVID-19.
Whilst the COVID-19 has brought a wave of uncertainty, it has also prompted new innovations as businesses seek to solve challenges facing the UK. Inviting small businesses and startups to share their ideas enables government a level of flexibility and access to improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups who may need new ways to interact with their communities.
It continues to emphasize the importance of innovation and collaboration during this difficult time. You can read more about the funding criteria and application here. You can read the joint press release from the Department of Business, energy and Industrial Strategy and InnovateUK here.