Business Innovation Fund helps bring great ideas to life

SME funding and support to meet innovation ambitions and bring new products, processes and services to market.

The application window is currently closed.

About the Business Innovation Fund

The Business Innovation Fund supports businesses from a wide range of sectors to help develop innovative projects and products that not only fulfil market demand, but also deliver industrial growth.

  • Grants of £20,000 or £50,000 to help progress research and development (R&D) activity.

  • An offer of bespoke assistance to help beneficiary companies develop an R&D roadmap.

  • Connection with our region’s leading research organisations.

Eligibility criteria

Research, development and innovation can help your business adapt for the future, get ahead of the competition, develop commercially attractive products, processes and services to reach new customers, and create jobs. 

  • Your business is based in the West of England – Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, North Somerset or South Gloucestershire.

  • You are able to match fund the cost of your project.

  • You're a small or medium sized business with a staff headcount lower than 250.



Collaborative research and development (R&D) activity is encouraged via the Business Innovation Fund, with larger grant amounts (£50,000) available at a higher (50%) intervention rate where joint working between the applicant company and a Research Organisation (see the definition in the Grant Guidance) takes place.

There are a number of potential benefits in taking such an approach, for example, harnessing the strengths of each of the parties involved to bring about project success. Equally, consideration should be given to the ownership of Intellectual Property (IP) used and generated via the project amongst the parties to the collaboration. Guidance on IP is available here.

If you are considering a collaborative project, a formal agreement will need to be put in place between the two parties involved (applicant company and Research Organisation), which will cover important points such IP ownership. Some example agreements have been developed as part of the Lambert Toolkit and can be found here.

There are a variety of Research Organisations that may wish to collaborate with a company on an R&D project, including some based in the West of England:

Specialist expertise across a range of sectors is also available through the Knowledge Transfer Network which also acts to help connect companies with Research Organisations.

Our funding

The Business Innovation Fund is supported with £1,451,825 of funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate economic development by investing in project which will support innovation, business, create jobs and delivery local community regeneration.