Key features

  • £10m R&D funding to encourage innovation and growth within high-tech clusters 

  • Shared knowledge and a programme of business support for ambitious SMEs 

  • A shop window to attract potential investors

Launchpads help technology-themed clusters of young, early-stage companies to develop and grow in specific locations around the UK. We have set up seven Launchpad competitions so far, with three more to follow in 2014-15.
They act as catalysts for companies with exciting and innovative projects to share knowledge, develop their entrepreneurial skills and attract further investment to bring their ideas to market.

£1m European grant fund - Launchpad for the ‘internet of things'

9 March 2014
The Prime Minister, speaking at CeBIT in Hannover, has given details of a £1m European grant fund for innovation in ‘internet of things' related technologies. The fund will take the form of a Launchpad competition run by the Technology Strategy Board in conjunction with Tech City UK.
First announced in November, this is the second Tech City UK Launchpad competition.  It will bring together Tech City UK, the Technology Strategy Board, the clusters of innovative digital companies in London and Cambridge, and key players in these clusters, to identify and support projects from innovative, early and growth stage businesses.  
It will offer funding to de-risk the development of the most innovative technology; mentoring support to enhance entrepreneurial capability; connections between small and large businesses; and access to the investment community to help companies realise their growth ambitions.

If you are interested in this Launchpad you are encouraged to join the Internet of Things special interest group, where details of the competition scope and timing will be posted as soon as available.

Launchpad showcase

Watch our video about the benefits of the 2011 Tech City Launchpad – the first Launchpad set up.

Find out more about Tech City companies: directory of projects and in success stories
Watch our latest Launchpad videos:
We spent 10 years trying to get our concept off the ground, without success. Then we won an award of £100k through the Tech City Launchpad and the company has really taken off - Olivier Geoffroy, founder, Unto This Last

Making the most of clustering

All the Launchpads help to develop and strengthen clusters of innovative companies in specific sectors and geographical locations. With the concentration of expertise come advantages of speed and knowledge transfer, which we want to encourage. We do not create the clusters, but we support the development of those that are already emerging: 
  • by creating opportunities for SMEs (often including those that are not yet revenue-earning) through funding for innovative projects 
  • by working with others in the cluster to provide a programme of business support (including coaching and mentoring) that will help the businesses to develop solid growth strategies and to access finance
  • by providing a letter of intent to fund projects; businesses can use it to attract new private sector investment, because they will probably need to raise other forms of finance (including debt or equity-based solutions), either to match the grant or to support later scale-up plans.  
Launchpad gave us the edge when searching for investment. Receiving the backing of the Technology Strategy Board made us more attractive to investors - Jenny Griffiths, chief executive, Snap Fashion

Launchpad competitions in progress

Current Launchpad competitions

The Greater Manchester Creative and Digital Launchpad is providing up to £1m in funding for innovative projects to stimulate the development of the emerging cluster of creative and digital businesses in and around Greater Manchester.
The Severn Valley Cyber Launchpad is offering up to £500k in funding for businesses in the cyber security industry on either side of the Severn Valley, in locations such as Bristol, Cheltenham, Malvern and Newport.
We are committed to launching at least three further competitions in the coming year, with funding of up to £1m each, including: 
  • a second Tech City Launchpad, supporting digital companies further into east London
  • healthcare technologies in Wales 
  • manufacturing (process industries) in the North East.

Are you eligible?

Launchpad competitions are open to SMEs that:
  • are in the cluster
  • plan to start up in the cluster
  • move into the cluster
  • collaborate with a company already in the cluster.
They are limited to SMEs and aimed at young and early-stage companies with significant ambitions for growth. 

How do I find out more

Each Launchpad competition has a dedicated group in the Investment Network on our _connect platform, where further information is available and connections can be made.
Sign up to receive email updates from the Technology Strategy Board to keep up to date with news on our latest competitions.