£1m R&D Funding Competition Launched to Support East London's Tech City

Shoreditch 002 by Erin Faulkner

The government's continuing focus on Silicon Roundabout, which they're dubbingTech City, sees the announcement of a £1m R&D funding competition launching in May.

Backed by the Technology Strategy Board this competition is intended to support small projects, which can then go on to raise further investment, seed capital. As with most TSB funds, this competition requires 50% match funding, but there's a neat difference this time around.

Companies that are successful in winning R&D money from the TSB will then have up to 12 months to approach potential investors to raise the other half of the money, rather than having to have it secured from the get-go.

There's up to £100k per project available from the TSB, which can constitiute up to 50% of the funding with support promised to raise the match-funding through a funding workshop that will reach out to the investor community.

Although the focus is nominally around East London, companies from across the UK can apply for this funding, although it's safe-to-say they'll be visiting Shoreditch for the events. And an 'E' on their postcode will no doubt help!

The competition is being billed as pilot, which, if successful will be extended to our similar technology clusters across the UK.

Here's a run-down of the competition from the TSB's website:

Stage 1

Consortia of companies submit a two-minute video describing their ideas. These will be publicly available and we will be inviting comment and ratings to help in assessing the ideas.

About 20 will be chosen through independent assessment to go forward to Stage 2.

Stage 2

The chosen consortia will be invited to submit a written proposal. From this about 10 potential projects will be selected and provisionally offered funding (subject to due diligence).

Stage 3

The successful projects will be invited to a funding workshop to showcase their ideas to potential investors. Here, companies will have the chance to attract the remaining 50% of the funding needed to run the project. By impressing investors with their ideas, successful companies will be able to fully fund their projects. We expect most projects to be funded through this meeting, but if they are not successful here they have 12 months to find the matching funds and so take advantage of our funding commitment.

Key Dates

Stage 1

  • Competition opens for videos to be uploaded – NOON Friday 6 May 2011
  • Deadline for videos to be uploaded – NOON Thursday 26 May 2011
  • Applicants informed – end of June 2011

Stage 2

  • Deadline for written proposals from chosen consortia – mid July 2011 

Stage 3

  • Funding workshop – August 2011 

More details will be announced when the competition opens on 6 May 2011. Full details will be available on the TSB's _connect platform (search for Tech City Launchpad).

Photo (cc) Erin Faulkner.