Innovation Support Avenues for UK and ROI

7 Innovation Support Avenues for UK and ROI

Turning an idea into a commercial reality can be an intimidating and costly task, but the UK, Ireland and Europe have created several innovation support avenues to help businesses grow their R&D activity and the economy.

Although not an exhaustive list, Amplifi Solutions, R&D tax credit specialists have outlined the main tax reliefs, grants and voucher initiatives that start-ups and more established SMEs can use to help fund their R&D projects.

1. Innovate UK

Aimed at science and technology innovators, Innovate UK is a non-departmental public body that launched in 2007 and has given more than 8,000 businesses over £1.8 billion in R&D funding.

If your innovation is in the feasibility study to the early stages of product prototyping, Innovate UK’s funding competitions could provide thousands to millions of pounds in financial aid.

Based on priority areas that Innovate UK thinks will help boost the economy, such as pharmaceutical development and manufacturing, innovators simply apply for a share of a competition’s funding pot via the online portal.

For more information visit Innovate UK Competition Search

2. R&D Tax Credits

Initially introduced in 2000 by the Government to encourage and reward R&D within limited companies or PLCs, HMRC’s R&D tax credit initiative has already awarded £16.5bn in tax relief to UK businesses.

Any R&D activity that tries to advance scientific or technological knowledge within a field through a development process or investigative trial and error could receive a valuable reduction to their corporation tax liability.

  • The SME scheme is for businesses with under 500 employees and less than €100m turnover and offers a tax reduction of up to 26p (33p if you are surrendering a loss) on every qualifying R&D pound.
  • The RDEC scheme is for businesses with over 500 employees and greater than €100m turnover and offers a tax reduction of up to 11p on every qualifying R&D pound.

Each scheme is claimable on an annual basis, providing there is eligible R&D, and the initial first claim offers innovation support over two retrospective financial years of R&D activity.

As R&D tax credit specialists, Amplifi Solutions can guide you through the entire process, contact us for more information

3. Patent Box

A 2013 UK Government incentive regime, Patent Box is designed to help the economy by encouraging the retention of Intellectual Property (IP) and the resulting job opportunities.

To qualify a business must make a profit from exploiting patented inventions that they own or they exclusively license-in and have undertaken qualifying development on. Qualifying businesses can then enjoy a lower Corporation Tax rate of 10% on patent profits.

The eligible profits include selling patented products, licensing out patent rights, selling patent rights, infringement income and damages.

Any IP that was registered with the UK Intellectual Property Office, European Patent Office or in many other European Economic Areas can qualify and keep applying for the relief as long as they continue to own the IP and generate profits.

Find out more by visiting Patent Box

4. Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is an EU research and innovation support programme that is offering €80bn of funding between 2014 – 2020.

Covering a wide number of industries, Horizon 2020 calls for research project proposals based around their three key pillars; excellent science, societal challenges and industrial leadership.

Research applications are submitted via their online Participation Portal and each project or programme provides funding for two years.

More about Horizon 2020 funding

5. Invest NI

There are three innovation support avenues for Northern Ireland SMEs with Invest NI in the form of innovation vouchers, ‘new to R&D’ funding and ‘follow-on’ funding.

  1. InvestNI’s £5,000 innovation vouchers are used to acquire specialist knowledge from NI and ROI universities, colleges or other public-sector research bodies.
  2. Businesses new to R&D could get up to £50,000 to help plan, develop and test a new product or process idea.
  3. Experienced R&D companies can get follow-on funding for the planning through to the product development stages of a project.

If you are a start-up looking for help turning an idea into a business reality, Invest NI’s 6 month Propel Pre-Accelerator programme could give you £15,000 funding, mentoring, workshops, co-working space and more.

Find out more about Invest NI’s Funding for Innovation and R&D

6. TechStartNI

Supported by InvestNI and managed by Pentech Ventures, this Northern Ireland specific investment fund is mainly for technology seed and early stage businesses with high growth potential.

TechStartNI includes SME Equity funding from three Invest NI equity grants, a Proof of Concept Grant and entrepreneur events.

The Equity funding is split into an SME and two university spin-out funds offering initial investments of £50,000-£250,000.

The Proof of Concept Grant offers entrepreneurs up to £25K to explore the “viability and commercial potential” of their innovations. To apply, applicants must fill out an allocation form and then eligible candidates are invited to pitch their concept at a dedicated Pitch Session.

For more information visit TechStartNI

7. Intertrade Ireland

Developed to improve cross-border business development for SMEs in both the North and South of Ireland, Intertrade Ireland offers financial funding, advice and events for start-ups and more established businesses.

Early stage or startups can enter the Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition for a chance to win a slice of the €280K prize pot. They can also attend equity events, venture capital conferences or use the free equity advisory service.

More established manufacturing and tradable service companies can gain financial innovation support from three Intertrade Ireland programmes:

  1. Acumen offers SMEs up to £15,000 to spend on a salesperson or market research within a new market.
  2. Fusion offers up to £44,250 to help SMEs partner with a third level institute and employ a high calibre science, engineering or technology graduate for a 12-18-month project.
  3. Elevate offers companies with less than 10 employees up to £5,000 to hire a specialist consultancy to help develop a cross-border sales plan.

Find out more about InterTrade Ireland Funding

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