Last week we were delighted to host Innovate UK who were here to update Cambridge scale-ups on its new £50m Innovation Loans pilot programme which is running to the end of 2019.
What are innovation loans?
Innovation loans are a financial product offered by Innovate UK. They are for UK businesses that want to scale up and grow through innovation, developing new or improved products, processes or services.
They are for late-stage research and development (R&D) projects only. A late-stage R&D project is one which builds on a new idea but has not yet reached the point of commercialisation. It may include activities such as prototyping, demonstrating, piloting, testing and validation in environments that are representative of real-life operating conditions.
You can use a loan to finance a late-stage research and development project categorised as experimental development, which includes:
- producing plans, arrangements and designs for your products, processes or services
- developing commercially-usable prototypes and pilots
- experimental production and testing of products, processes and services
You will need to successfully apply into one of the Innovate UK loan competitions to obtain an innovation loan. It is a competitive process. You could borrow between £100,000 and £1 million, to cover up to 100% of your eligible project costs.
The loan period is up to 10 years. This breaks down as:
- an availability period of up to 3 years. This is the period when you are drawing down money to carry out research and development. You will not need to pay back the money you borrow during this period, but you will need to pay interest on the money you borrow.
extensionperiod of up to 2 years, if required. This period is to enable you to establish a clear route to market and commercialisation, with up to 2 years available before you need to start repayments. You will still need to pay interest
- a repayment period of up to 5 years. This is when you will need to repay your loan. Payments will be taken every 3 months. Interest will also be payable