Fast-growing companies working on ‘breakthrough’ technologies, including in fields such as life sciences and clean energy, are invited to apply for a tranche of a £ 375million fund to fostering innovation in the UK.
The Future Fund: The breakthrough program will involve the government committing to co-invest alongside private enterprise to give further impetus to companies seeking cash to take nascent technologies to the next level.
In an effort to make the UK a ‘science superpower’, the Treasury will promote industries such as quantum computing, life sciences and cleantech, with the aim of spurring breakthroughs that can ‘solve some of the problems. greatest challenges for society ”.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Technology and innovation will be at the heart of our future economy, which is why we are investing billions in R&D. [research and development] help consolidate our status as a world leader in this field.
“Above all, our investment will encourage collaboration between our most ambitious entrepreneurs and private investors, helping to commercialize breakthrough products such as new drugs and green technologies that could improve our lives, while creating highly skilled jobs that help stimulate the UK economy.
To be eligible, companies will need to be based in the UK and seek at least £ 30million to fund their development.
Private companies will have to represent the bulk of the investment, with applicants having to prove that they have already obtained commitments for 70% of their financing round.
Applicants must show that they have already been able to raise £ 5million without state aid, indicating that they are already experiencing significant growth.
Companies will not apply, their main investor instead being the link between the company and the future fund.
Sunak will host a tech conference in east London in September, under the Treasury Connect banner, to bring together tech investors and business leaders.
The Treasury said government funding was needed alongside private capital, as advanced technology often requires patience, requiring more money over long periods of time to progress.
The department said it had already provided more than £ 1 billion in convertible loans to 1,190 companies to help them weather the pandemic, via the future fund.
Public spending on R&D is expected to reach £ 14.9 billion for 2021 and 2022, the highest level in four decades, as part of a drive to increase investment in innovation to 2.4% of economic output by 2027.
The new future fund was announced in Sunak’s budget earlier this year and will be administered by British Business Bank subsidiary British Patient Capital.
Judith Hartley, Managing Director of British Patient Capital, said: “With many world-class universities and a solid background in science and research, the UK is fertile ground for the creation of high-growth companies based on cutting-edge technologies.
“Through commercialization of R&D, these transformative companies will help accelerate the deployment of innovative disruptive technologies that can transform key industries, develop new medicines, support the transition to a net zero economy and strengthen the UK’s position. as a scientific superpower. “