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COVID-19 SME Support Hub

Connected Places Catapult is continuing to support UK businesses while we work remotely as a team in these unprecedented times. As such, we continue to have exciting opportunities for you to get involved with.

This is a new world of connectedness, which holds many options to innovate how we connect with one another while staying safe and healthy. We know this must be a difficult time for small businesses and so we have tried to pull together the best resources that ourselves, UK government and other institutions are providing to help support innovators.

Got a query? Ask the SME team a question on:

COVID-19 advice and opportunities for SMEs

We’ve compiled some resources we’ve discovered around the web that we hope will help your business navigate these challenging times.

Innovation Continuity Loans with Innovate UK

Innovation Continuity Loans

Strand 1 is available to existing IUK award holders who have a challenge in completing or continuing a live project due to the impact of Covid.  This is an open competition and we will accept applications as they are submitted until the closing date.

Strand 2 is available to organisations who have a follow on project from an IUK supported project that was completed in the last 3 years.  Applications will be assessed after the closing date.

Strand 3 which has just been launched is to help SMEs to continue their innovation activity despite the impact of the pandemic, without the need to have been supported by an Innovate UK award within the last 36 months.  Applications will be assessed after the closing date.

All competitions open for applications until 11am 13th January 2021.

More Information:

Innovate UK have allocated up to £210m for innovation continuity loans to help SME’s and third sector organisations that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and facing a challenge in continuing, completing or following on an innovation project.

To support more organisations, we have further broadened our eligibility criteria and launched

Strand 3 of the innovation continuity loans

Strand 3 innovation continuity loans aim to help SMEs to continue their innovation activity despite the impact of the pandemic, without the need to have been supported by an Innovate UK award in the last 36 months. Loans from £250,000 to £1.6m are available to fund continuation of R&D  projects.

This competition is now open for applications and closes at 11am on the 13th January 2021. You can find out more at our applicant briefing webinar on Wednesday 9th December.


Existing innovation continuity loans competitions also extended. 

Strand 1 of the innovation continuity loans remain available for the continuation of live projects with an Innovate UK award. This is an open competition and the deadline for applications is 13th January 2021.

Strand 2 of the innovation continuity loans has also been extended to 13th January 2021. This is for applicants with a new project that follows on from a recently completed Innovate UK project. Make sure you read the guidance before applying.


Call from Transport for Greater Manchester in relation to Innovate UK's COVID-19 business support

Transport for Greater Manchester has asked us to reach out to SMEs with innovations that can have a positive impact in the Greater Manchester area and that need the support of a user for the Innovate UK call. Ideally, they would like to work with as many Greater Manchester-based businesses as possible for operational ease but they are of course open to working with as many SMEs as possible. If you have an idea that you think might be of use, please contact the TfGM innovation team on:


Can your innovation mitigate COVID-19? Here's how you can help
Resources for SMEs to support you through the COVID-19 outbreak

July 2020 – Post Covid-19 UK Digital Solutions for NWW (New Ways of Working) project

Introducing UK digital industry, health-tech, and smart city companies that have Covid-related solutions (people movement, social distancing, traceability, getting people back to work) to local buyers/partners from large corp, big industry, systems integrators/consultants, health & corporate insurance companies.

Background & outlook

DIT Spain and Portugal are working on a new activity over the next few weeks, where FCO is supporting to build content.  FCO wants to receive 60 second elevator pitch content from UK companies that they can turn into a cohesive video, which is uploaded onto a private YouTube channel.  They will then send the link and a slide deck to pre-qualified local buyers, which they seek to follow up with virtual 121 meetings between the potential buyers (in Spain and Portugal) and the UK companies.

SME profile:

FCO wants to recruit UK companies who are late stage; in a good position to sell their solution, preferably have had at least one commercial buyer – with innovative tech solutions in the following areas:

  • Tech for Health and wellbeing at work
  • Flexible and remote working
  • Corporate efficiency
  • Manufacturing industry
  • Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry
  • Cybersecurity

FCO wants to receive expressions of interest by 16th June.  They will then contact selected UK companies to discuss the project in more detail, with an online workshop planned for June 25 to provide an overview of the opportunities in Spain and Portugal, and answer any questions about the project and video production.

How to register:

Send an email to and please mention that you have been referred by Connected Places Catapult.   


Get involved in a Connected Places Catapult initiative

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