Innovative businesses and start-ups are set to benefit from a £40m government investment to drive forward new technological advances.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced the government is doubling investment in the Fast Start Competition with an additional £20m.
The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.
Among the successful projects to receive the funding to date, is a virtual-reality surgical training simulator and an online farmers’ market platform.
Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, said, “The coronavirus crisis has created challenges that impact the way we live, work and travel but has also prompted a wave of new innovations as businesses look at ways to solve some of the challenges facing our world today.
“This funding will support UK start-ups to deliver potential solutions, services and ways of working and help ensure the long term sustainability of these businesses.”
The investment comes from a £211m government support package to drive forward business-led innovation and is part of a wider investment package of £1.25bn for innovative UK businesses, announced by the Chancellor on 20 April.
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Kemi Badenoch said, “The UK is a world-leader in research and development, and our ability to innovate will be key to tackling this crisis.
“This £40m of funding will deliver practical solutions such as new virtual farmers markets and entertainment platforms to bring the best British produce and cultural entertainment to our own homes.”
Innovate UK received a record number of applications – over 8600 to the Fast Start Competition and will now be able to distribute investment to over 800 projects.
Projects receiving funding include, I3d Robotics which is building a virtual-reality training/teaching platform to enable medical students to upskill remotely and perform simulation surgeries.
Volunteero Ltd has developed a social media app to connect local communities and allow volunteers to target support to the most vulnerable members in their neighbourhoods.
Elchies Estates Limited is setting up new virtual farmers’ markets to replace traditional markets which have had to close as a result of COVID-19, providing a platform for local businesses and farmers to sell produce.