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Funding available for high-growth agri-tech businesses

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Payments for research and innovation

Man in a field, operating a computer and tech equipment.

From 24 July 2023, agri-tech businesses in the UK will be able to apply for a share of £5 million to further their enterprise through the Farming Innovation Investor Partnership competition. 

This new competition is aimed at companies that develop and implement new technology to make farming more efficient in the UK (agri-tech businesses).  

Specifically, we are looking for agri-tech businesses that can demonstrate the potential to grow and generate revenue through their farm-focused innovations which solve the challenges of productivity, sustainability and net zero emissions. 

The competition documents are available to read now and the window to apply will open 24 July.

The competition

The Farming Innovation Investor Partnership competition, developed with Innovate UK, is unique. It combines grant funding from Defra with equity funding from private investors and a significant contribution from a member of Innovate UK’s Investor Partner pool. 

The Investor Partner pool comprises around 80 entities with the credibility, capability and appetite to invest in innovative, technology-led businesses. 

This combination provides successful applicants with financial support to develop innovative technology. It also provides valuable commercial intelligence and access to market opportunities to grow and scale. 


Projects must be in late-stage Research & Development and seek late seed or Series A stage funding. 

For example, you might be a start-up or medium-sized business with an experimental technology close to market. 

Eligible project costs must be between £750,000 and £3,000,000. They must last 18 months.  

As projects are anticipated to be nearer to market, funding available for eligible project costs will be up to 45%, and 35% for micro or small and medium-sized companies respectively. 

These projects should have links to farmers, growers and agri-business. They must be able to demonstrate the benefits to farmers and growers in England and must be led by a sole UK-registered micro, small or medium business. 

The application process 

Proposals must demonstrate an ambition to finalise late-stage innovation, the potential to grow and scale through successful negotiation of investment and provide a coherent project plan, which integrates your business strategy.  

The project must address a significant farm-focused challenge relating to livestock, plants, novel food production systems, and bioeconomy and agroforestry. 

Applications should be made through Innovate UK’s online Innovation Funding Service.

Applications will then be assessed by Innovate UK’s experienced independent assessors. The assessors are drawn from business and academia. They all have industry expertise to ensure a fair and transparent assessment process. 

Projects that meet the threshold will be notified in October.

They will then have until January to reach heads of terms with a lead investor. Successful applicants will then be notified in February. 

Dates for your diary 

Innovate UK will host a Q&A session on 25 July. I'll add the link to register for the session below.

This new fund complements other competitions under our Farming Innovation Programme which you can read more about in last month’s blog post. 

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