By Mirianna la Grasta | @mirilagrasta
The UK government has recently expanded its Future Fund programme. More startups and innovative companies are now able to benefit from investments offered through the scheme. By loosening the eligibility criteria, the government will now let more firms apply, including the ones with parent companies abroad.
The Future Fund scheme allows startups and other high-growth early-stage businesses from a wide range of fields to apply for a convertible loan of between £125,000 and £5 million, to help them through the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Our startups and innovative firms are one of our great economic strengths. As we begin to bounce back from coronavirus, they will help drive our recovery and create new jobs,” commented Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.
“This change means that those startups who have striven to be the very best, and taken opportunities to grow their business, will be able to benefit from our world-leading Future Fund.”
As of today, the government has invested more than the £250 million initially made available through Future Fund, helping more than 320 early-stage and high-growth companies with a total of £320.6 million in funding. The UK is to keep the scale of the scheme under constant review, due to the popularity of the Fund.
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This latest expansion in the eligibility criteria means that those UK companies and startups who have participated in competitive and renowned accelerator programmes, like TechStars or Y-Combinator, can now apply for investment.
These popular programmes give young businesses the chance to access mentorship, networks and finance, but often ask them, as part of the programme, to set-up parent companies abroad. This meant that many were those firms who were not able to apply for investment through Future Fund back when it originally opened for applications, in May 2020.
“Our decision to relax this rule recognises the importance of many of the UK’s most cutting-edge startups as we bounce back from coronavirus,” said Business Secretary Alok Sharma.
“As we restart our economy, it is crucial that our innovators and risk-takers get all the support they need to flourish,” he added.
Companies applying to the programme will still be required to meet the “substantive economic presence test”, meaning they will need to have half or more employees based in the UK, and/or a substantial revenue coming from UK sales.
For more information on Future Fund and guidance on how to apply, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund