Date: 1 May 2020
The UK Government and European Commission have engaged in a campaign to ensure businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are kept trading. A series of measures has been announced for a wide range of businesses, reflecting the widespread effect of the virus on the economy across the UK and Europe.
We provide a summary below of some of the help available to businesses of all sizes, and in particular technology businesses and SMEs, in the UK and Europe.
The Future Fund has been set up for a select group of high-growth companies – those which have raised at least £250,000 from private investors in the past 5 years. The loans – between £250,000 and £5 million – are conditional on match-funding by private investors, and will convert into equity on the company’s next funding round.
Innovate UK, the country’s national innovation agency, will implement a series of measures for young companies with a focus on research & development. The organisation will accelerate up to £200 million of grant and loan payments for its 2,500 existing customers on an opt-in basis; an extra £550 million will be available to increase support for existing customers; £175,000 of support will be offered to around 1,200 firms not currently in receipt of Innovate UK funding.
The full Government statement on these two sections of funding is here.
Further funding from Innovate UK sees 80% funding for projects that address the COVID-19 crisis (click here), or the option to switch existing funding to COVID-19 related projects. For more information, please click here.
Various organisations and charities across the UK are coming together to provide funding for ideas that tackle the current crisis. For example, the COVID-19 Accelerator which has been set up by the Wellcome Trust, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Mastercard to provide seed funding for ideas addressing the virus and how to treat it: click here
The Edinburgh BioQuarter along with a group of research organisations has secured £2m funding from Life Arc for research into COVID-19 treatments: click here
The National Institute for Health Research is providing support and funding for COVID-19 related research: click here
Funding opportunities from a range of private investors are also available. Please see an open-source list here.
For retail businesses or those with premises on closed high streets, there are 2 sets of grants available, the Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF), the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG). This can provide grants of up to £25,000 to small businesses who have had to close because of the current situation. More information can be found here.
For small and medium-sized businesses with an annual turnover of up to £45 million, there is a series of loan schemes, for example the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) through which 40 accredited lenders provide loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to 6 years. It also includes a Business Interruption Payment made by the government to cover interest payments in the first 12 months. More information can be found here.
If they are not eligible for the CBILS, SMEs can claim a so-called ‘bounce back loan’ of between £2,000 and £50,000, supplied by accredited lenders. The loans will be fully guaranteed by the government, and there will be no fees and interest payments to be made in the first 12 months. Please see more information here.
For companies with turnover over £45 million, there is the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) which will provide debt finance of up to £50 million. More information can be found here.
Also for larger businesses, the COVID Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF, the Facility) will see the Bank of England buy short-term debt from large companies by purchasing commercial paper of up to one-year maturity. More information can be found here.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) Group has announced direct support for businesses, with a focus on SMEs. The €25 billion European COVID-19 guarantee fund will enable the EIB Group to scale up its support for European companies up to an additional €200 billion.
This initiative is in addition to the European Investment Fund (EIF) scheme which offers dedicated EU-supported guarantees, making available €8bn of financing for SMEs and midcaps across Europe. More information and application guidance can be found here.
The European Union has announced some €164 million in direct support for businesses via the European Innovation Council’s accelerator programme. This funding is available for SMEs and start-ups that are developing innovative solutions to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. More information can be found here.
Additionally, the EU has mobilised €48.25 million for 18 projects for vaccines and treatment via the EU's Horizon 2020 research programme. It has made available €90 million in public and private funds for therapeutics and diagnostics via the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).
The EU has also redirected up to €80 million in financial support to CureVac, a European vaccine developer, via a common EU-European Investment Bank (EIB) initiative.
Further, the EU has developed a European COVID-19 data portal to enable the rapid collection and sharing of available research data. See the data portal here.
For Member State (MS) governments, the EU has also announced a package of measures that allow for flexibility in existing funding structures to reallocate resources in order to tackle COVID-19.
At Maucher Jenkins, we are keen to ensure our clients are supported in every way they can be. This is an extraordinary time for any business; however we would like to do our bit to support the fight against this virus. If you have ideas for COVID-19 related patent filings, please get in touch with us. We offer a free initial consultation and, if required, deferred service fee terms for this work.
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