What is Innovate UK's funding competition?

Innovate UK is investing up to £10 million in innovation projects. This is part of the £30 million Creative Catalyst programme, created to provide innovation support for businesses in the creative sector. You could claim up to £50k grant funding for your project if you're eligible. The submission deadline for applications is Wednesday 15th February, at 11.00 am. Read on to see if you qualify, and find out how you can apply.

Am I eligible?

To qualify for the funding, your project must: 

  • Have a total grant funding request of no more than £50,000
  • Start by 1 June 2023
  • End by 30 November 2023
  • Must last between 3 and 6 months
  • Be related to and for the benefit of the creative industries in the UK
  • Demonstrate a clearly innovative and ambitious idea
  • Be new to your business, with a demonstrable impact on your growth plan
  • Respond to the changing market conditions, such as new modes of audience consumption, or the adoption of new technologies within the sector
  • Demonstrate value for money

Your project should also focus on one or more of the following sub-sectors:

  • Advertising & Marketing
  • Architecture
  • Arts & Culture
  • Broadcasting including sport
  • Crafts
  • Design
  • Fashion
  • Film
  • Games
  • Music
  • Publishing

Below are some examples of projects that would meet the criteria, which should give you an idea of what qualifies for the funding: 

  • Support the fashion and textile’s transition to a circular model
  • Improve transparency and accountability across the online advertising supply chain
  • Create new revenue streams and fan engagement activities in the music sector
  • Demonstrate how advanced digital technologies, including, Metaverse, blockchain and AI, can transform the publishing sector

In addition to the above, your company should also meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK-registered micro or small business (SME)
  • Have not previously received any funding from Innovate UK
  • Have a demonstrable ambition for growth
  • Work with an Innovate UK EDGE advisor during your project to maximise its impact

What Project Costs Can Be Claimed?

The summary below gives some guidance on what project costs can be claimed, you can also check out the detailed criteria here to look through in more depth.

In a nutshell, the following costs can be claimed: 

  • Salary costs

  • Material costs
  • Fixed assets
  • A proportion of overheads;
    • This is either a flat 20% of salary cost (this is the quickest option to get approval as it doesn’t require any checks by innovate UK), or

    • A spreadsheet can be completed for specific overheads to be claimed

  • Freelancers, but they must:

    • Be essential to the success of your project

    • Involve expertise that does not exist within the project team

    • Involve skills that it is not practical to develop in-house for your project

What if I already have R&D claims?

If the project detailed above would also qualify for R&D tax relief, this would be classified as specific grant funding. This project is considered under the RDEC scheme, providing a 13% R&D tax credit rate (this increases to 20% from April 2023). 

Any other R&D projects, outside the project named above, can be considered under the SME R&D tax scheme if no other grant funding has been claimed.

If you're considering R&D, we recently discussed some of the basics of what could be eligible.

Some points to bear in mind

  • The £50k is NOT match funding, so Innovate UK WILL fund 100% of the project value
  • You can only submit one application
  • You only qualify if you have not previously received funding from Innovate UK

How can I apply?

To apply for the funding, you must complete an application before 15th February 2023. In the application you should include the following:

  • Project details
  • Application questions
  • Finances

Take a look at some detailed information on the Innovate UK website on how to apply before getting started.