Thankfully grants are available to help businesses unlock that much-needed capital to get a project off the ground.
Millions of pounds are being handed out to companies each year, most of it awarded by the nation’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. Since 2007, it has invested around £2.5billion to help businesses across the country, with match-funding from industry taking the total value of projects above £4.3billion.
Businesses seeking to help build a greener future are particularly in luck as the majority of grants on offer have a green dimension. That has been one of the key changes over the past decade — green technologies are at the forefront of the research & development field, a situation that’s unlikely to ever change.
These environmentally-focused grants cover all sorts of sectors, from food and drink and farming through to motoring and innovation in the renewable energy sector itself.
These awards of funding are already sparking revolutions right on our doorstep from helping distilleries to decarbonise to enabling the mechanised farming of seaweed to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Smart electric vehicle charging is another area that is receiving huge support in the form of grant funding.
The Government faces huge challenges in meeting its 2050 Net Zero target, as well as its Industrial Strategy, where its Four Grand Challenges focus on AI/data, an ageing society, clean growth and the future of mobility. That’s why there has never been a better time for green businesses to seek grants — they represent the official firepower being focused on these areas.
Companies leading the way in improving energy efficiency, energy storage and working on heat pumps are just some of those facing huge opportunities as a result of the growing number of grants being offered.
Examples of funding
New grants are announced on a regular basis, and larger funding bodies with deep pockets often administer grants in rounds, with many deadlines introduced over a matter of years.
The £20m fund for the sustainable smart factory competition is one example of how grants dive into every corner of industry to drive the sustainable agenda. While this competition closed to applicants in January, new grants are being launched all the time.
Here are some you can enter right now:
The Heat Pump Ready Programme. This £60million fund is being rolled out to spur pioneering heat pump technologies, and closes to applications on February 15 and 22. It ties into the government’s ambitious target for the UK to be fitting 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. It is hoped that switching to low carbon heating will cut emissions, and reduce the UK’s dependency on fossil fuels — both key to meeting the government’s 2050 net zero target.
The Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator has an ongoing deadline, with a maximum grant value of £1million. This fund offers grants to tech developers targeting energy and resource efficiency in industry. The support is designed to help them bring their innovations to market. Projects should work at scale. Previous recipients included a company that delivered a 70% reduction in energy use at a landfill site.
The Automotive Transformative Fund has just closed its 17th funding round, with a closing date for Round 18 due to be published in due course. The ATF is a £1billion fund designed to accelerate the UK’s switch to electric vehicles. The fund is a key cornerstone of the government’s strategy to reach net zero and provides support for investment in the key technology areas of batteries, fuel cells, motors, drives and power electronics. The fund is designed for those businesses seeking support for large scale, capital-focused products.
Smart is Innovate UK’s ‘open grant funding’ programme. There’s no limit to how much you can be awarded from its £25million pot and there are rolling deadlines throughout the year. The criteria for this grant are tightening after the next deadline closes on 13th April as the focus shifts to exports and getting products to market quickly. But plenty of green businesses will still qualify and it’s open to any UK-registered company.
These are just a few of many recent grant schemes, and there will doubtless be many more opening in the coming year.
How experts can help
It can be a minefield sourcing the best grant funding streams and then applying, but experts can help you navigate this field and unlock the all-important cash to set a project on its way.
The Catax grant team will also conduct checks to ensure that you are eligible to apply and your project fits within the grant scope. This may involve a review of your finances, time-frames, internal resources, business strategy, match funding and mapping out of your technical readiness level. They may even identify the need for a project partner if you are to be in contention, all helping to craft and shape how your application will be pitched.
Applying may seem complicated, but having an expert by your side can help you to navigate the entire process and get your project moving. Contact us on: 0300 303 1903
or visit: www.catax.com