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Blended Funding in the UK – Transforming Foundation Industries investor partnership programme. 2020 competition open. £7M offered by Innovate UK.

Innovate UK (IUK) offers GBP 7 million in grants-funding for a new Investor Partnership Programme in the UK Transforming Foundation Industries/ Investor Partner selection 2020. 

The IUK grants will be combined with private investor funding for late-stage R&D projects of UK SMEs focused on reducing resource and energy consumption in the foundation industries. SMEs could get funding for projects with a value between £50,000 to £2 millionThe SMEs will be identified by the investor partners in the second stage of the competition.  

The current competition is for the selection of Investor Partners. This competition is open since 19 October 2020. 

This is part of a 2-stage programme: 

  • – Stage 1  The investor partner selection  
  • – Stage 2  The SME competition (expected to open in the Spring of 2021). The SMEs will be required to submit applications in order to get grant and private investor funding. 

Investor Partner Selection 

Innovate UK is looking for a mix of UK established investors with an interest in foundation industries, including venture capital, angel networks, and corporate venture investors. Investors must be able to demonstrate it has the capacity and investment appetite to fund individual SMEs that aim to achieve the ‘environmentally sustainable’ objectives of the ISCF Transforming Foundation Industry Challenge. IUK is looking for preferential investors who: 

  • – are willing to act as sole investor or be the lead investor where additional co-investment is required 
  • – are prepared to deploy their investment with a patient and long-term view 
  • – can follow their investment and potentially provide more financing when required with an aspiration to fund or leverage total investment of up to 3 times the original grant funding by 2025 
  • – can commit to helping the SMEs with international aspirations to grow and scale up 
  • – have relevant sector or technology-specific expertise around making the UK internationally competitive, in manufacturing products vital for our economy, in an environmentally sustainable way 

SME Selection Process 

If your organisation is selected your business will need to state their total funding requirement including the Innovate UK grant funding. The potential UK SMEs can be: 

  • – new investments for your organisation 
  • – opportunities currently under consideration by you 
  • – SMEs already in your portfolio who are looking for further investment and grant funding for a specific project element 

Selected SMEs will be ready to start their projects as soon as investment has been confirmed in writing and after we have completed project finance checks with projects starting no later than the date published in the SME competition, and finish no later than March 2024. Projects can have a duration of up to 2 years. 

The deadline for investor applications is9 December 2020 11:00 AM London time (GMT+1).  


Blended funding schemes have many benefits such as less risk and easier investment decisions, but there are also challenges as well for instance the complexity of the application process, and the long duration of the process and waiting time. Here is a link to our recent survey and results from investors involved in past competitions to help you understand their views after being engaged in Innovate UK pilot competitions during 2017-2019.   

More details about this funding competition are available on the official programme website. 


Source: the information above is based on the official guidelines published by the Fund Operator.   

At Winnovart, it is part of our mission to bridge the gap between stakeholders of the grants-funding market-space across Europe. We believe in the potential of blended funding schemes to reshape this market-space and we aim to support innovative SMEs, private investors and funding agencies to make the most of it.  Our presence in Western, Eastern and Northern Europe enables us to create international business cases for our clients, in the context of attractive funding programmes as well as beyond it, by opening up international development opportunities.