What better way is there to start the new year than to secure the funds you need to bring your innovations to life? Tailored specifically to our community of innovators, this month’s grant funding round-up contains a curated selection of the latest opportunities supporting innovative SMEs, AI savvy teams, and businesses in the creative and community driven industries. Fear not if your venture does not alight perfectly with the grants chosen for this month’s round-up—our newly launched Grant Funding page hosts an expansive array of funding available across sectors. This is your chance to propel your business to new heights, ensuring a prosperous new year. 

The Small Business Innovation Grant (closes 17/01/2024)

Funding innovative SMEs in Brighton & Hove.

What is it?  The Small Business Innovation Grant, part of the Brighton & Hove UK Shared Prosperity Fund, offers revenue grants to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of up to £2,000.  The purpose of this fund is to support local businesses to undertake innovative activities that will improve their productivity, and encourage the development of projects that introduce new or improved products or services to the market, increasing research and development outputs in the city and contributing to national research and development targets.

Who is it for?  This grant is available to SMEs of any type, including social enterprises, community interest companies (CICs), and sole traders, provided they are based within the boundary of Brighton & Hove. Applicants are required to demonstrate how their proposed innovation will enhance productivity and contribute to the city’s research and development objectives. The grant seeks to support enterprises launching new products or services, or those introducing significant improvements to existing offerings.

The Manchester Prize (closes 01/02/2024)

Funding innovative AI solutions to societal challenges.

What is it? The Manchester Prize is an initiative by the UK Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, providing funding and resources to teams with ground-breaking AI solutions addressing societal challenges, in energy, environment, and infrastructure. There is a £1 million grand prize, and up to ten finalist teams will receive £100,000, with additional support including computing resources and partner matchmaking.

Who is it for?  Eligible entrants include individuals, companies, and organisations (such as non-profits and research entities) in the UK. This opportunity is open to a broad range of participants, focusing on the quality of AI solutions rather than the entrants’ background. The prize encourages innovations in AI’s technical capabilities and invites ideas that are socially beneficial, ethical, and commercially viable.

Creative Catalyst Competition by Innovate UK (closes 06/03/2024)

Supporting growth and innovation in the UK’s creative industries.

What is it?  The Creative Catalyst Competition, spearheaded by Innovate UK, aims to invigorate the UK’s creative industries by funding innovative projects with a clear benefit to the sector and the wider economy.  The competition offers up to £50,000 in funding to cover 100% of total cost for each project, with £10 million allocated altogether for this initiative. Projects must be ground-breaking and demonstrate a significant improvement over current offerings, with a focus on creating new revenue streams and being market ready within 12 months after completion.

Who is it for?  This grant is tailored for UK registered micro and small businesses within the creative industries, including advertising and marketing, animation, games, crafts, design, among others. Projects should address a clear industry challenge, and show demonstrable potential for significant growth. Successful applicants will also receive non-financial support, including access to peer networks and business growth programs. The competition encourages applications from a diverse range of subsectors, especially those that are underrepresented and brimming with untapped potential.

Grants for Good (closes 15/03/2024)

Supporting small, impactful community organisations.

What is it?  Funded by the John Good Group, Grants for Good is a unique initiative aimed at empowering small and growing purpose-led organisations—with a focus on those who are close to their stakeholders and understand the problems that they face. The programme distributes £60,000 annually, shared quarterly among five selected projects.  Each project can receive between £2,000 and £5,000, based on an employee vote within the John Good Group.

Who is it for?  This grant is intended for local community groups, charities, voluntary groups, and social enterprises with an average income of less than £50,000 over the past 12 months. To be considered, organisations must demonstrate innovation in addressing the needs of their stakeholders, scalability potential, strong leadership, a compelling story, and a clear outline of the impact the grant would have. The grant offers unrestricted use of the awarded funds, including for core running costs, and emphasises a simple application process to support organisations taking their first steps in the world of grant funding.

If you’re seeking finance for your innovation, the Sussex Innovation research and insight team can help. Get in touch to find out more about how we can prepare a tailored report on the grant funding available to support your business scenario.