Get your business investment ready

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Accelerate your investment readiness

The Investment Readiness Programme, part of the Made Smarter Innovation Sustainability Accelerator, is designed for companies developing cleantech solutions for the UK manufacturing sector, aiming to increase their investment readiness and accelerate business growth.

This programme comes amid the growing demand for sustainable manufacturing and the UK’s ambitious goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The manufacturing sector accounts for over 40% of the country’s consumption-based carbon emissions*. This highlights the need for innovative solutions to drive sustainable growth.

The programme aims to accelerate investment readiness by offering tailored support to help participants navigate the investment landscape, secure research and funding opportunities, and boost their market presence.

This initiative not only supports individual businesses but also contributes to the broader goal of achieving net zero emissions and driving sustainable growth in the manufacturing sector.

The programme is open to companies that previously benefited from Made Smarter funding and companies that are new to the Made Smarter movement.

Successful applicants will be able to access £5,000 cash funding as a financial contribution towards completing the programme.

Applications close at 23:59 on Sunday 21 July 2024.

* Source link 

Programme benefits

Programme participants will gain access to the following benefits:

£5,000 cash funding

Each participant will receive £5,000 cash funding towards completing the programme. 

Investment readiness support

Participants will receive the support they need to boost their market presence and get investment ready

Strategic guidance

Strategic guidance from the Digital Catapult team

Diagnostic sessions

Diagnostic sessions to determine current commercial and strategic needs

Tailored support

Tailored support to develop and improve product, technical and investment roadmap, business planning and marketing strategy

Opportunity to pitch at the showcase event

Opportunity to pitch at the showcase event to industry representatives and potential investors

Who should apply

The Investment Readiness Programme supports registered and active UK based companies. The programme welcomes applications from:

  • Companies that are looking to raise investment in the next 6 -12 months.
  • Companies that are looking to grow their business in the next 6 – 12 months.
  • Companies engaged in the development of technology solutions focused on REEE (Resource Efficiency and Energy Efficiency) with applications in the manufacturing sector.
  • Companies that have previously received funding under the Made Smarter Innovation Programme.
  • Companies developing solutions focused on sustainability, with an interest and business plan to enter the manufacturing sector.

Contact us

Companies that have questions regarding the programme, selection process and how to apply can book time slots and talk directly to the team. The team will be holding 15 minutes slots for 1:1 conversation between Monday 17 June and Friday 21 June 2024.

Key dates

Wednesday 5 June

Call opens

Monday 17 June - Friday 21 June

Book 121 surgery time with the Digital Catapult team to discuss applications.

Sunday 21 July

Call closes

Key Info

Who can apply

  • Applicants must be eligible to receive up to £20,000 in State Assistance.
  • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
  • Applicants must be a UK based registered company, or prove they are a company that has an establishment in the UK, and undertake all activity in the UK.
  • Applicants must be engaged in developing solutions enabled by at least one of the technologies from the advanced digital technology stack: artificial intelligence (AI), immersive technologies, internet of things (IoT), distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and 5G/future networks.

How to apply

  • Applicants check they meet the programme’s specific requirements.
  • Applicants fill out their application form through the platform. Applicants will need to complete the application form by 23:59 on Sunday 21 July 2024.

Selection criteria

Product and Solution 30%
The applicant should demonstrate that their company is addressing a clear industry challenge as well as applying advanced digital technologies to tackle them.

Business Capability 40%
The applicant should be capable of identifying their growth potential as well as clear business and investment goals and potential challenges for the next 12 months. The company and its employees should have the necessary experience and skills to reach these goals.

Sustainability & Responsibility 30%
The company should be able to define how its product aligns with the principles of sustainability and responsible innovation.

Selection Process

Applications will be screened for eligibility, followed by a shortlisting process of judging applications by the Digital Catapult team. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to the interview for the final selection.

The scoring criteria will be assessed based on statements in the areas above. Each will be scored on a range from 0 to 5.

0 being an “Unacceptable or No submission” score for each criterion and 5 being an “Excellent” score for each criterion. Weighting will be applied across each scoring criterion.

Deliberation will take place to select 10-15 successful applicants.

Before you apply, please read

Programme T&Cs

Before applying to the programme, please read the T&Cs.

Programme FAQs

  • Will Made Smarter or Digital Catapult take any equity in the startups?

    No. The Investment Readiness Programme is equity-free, and there are no fees associated with participation.

  • What if I am involved in another accelerator programme or have been involved in a previous Digital Catapult programme?

    Participating or having participated in accelerator or other technology adoption support programmes does not exclude you from taking part in the programme, as long as the timings do not cause a conflict of interest and you are eligible to receive the state aid as outlined in the T&Cs.

    If you have been part of any previous Digital Catapult programme, you are welcome to join. For other programmes, your participation will be dependent on the terms of the programme itself and what you have agreed to in the terms and conditions.

  • Is the programme in-person or remote?

    Most of the programme will be delivered remotely via online calls and sessions. We expect to organise a small number of in-person events at the Digital Catapult London office over the programme period, including a programme Kick-off and Final Showcase event. Digital Catapult will provide as much notice as possible. 

  • Do I have to attend all the activities?

    In general, attending all activities on the programme can be beneficial as it provides you with the opportunity to learn from experienced experts, connect with other entrepreneurs, and develop your business skills. However, we understand that priorities can shift, and therefore, participants must attend a minimum of 80% of all program activities between October 2024 – February 2025.

  • Who is application data shared with?

    The application information will only be used for the purposes of the programme and its evaluation and will only be retained for the duration of the programme (two years) and for participants on the programme for the evaluation period (maximum five years) and otherwise to comply with legal requirements.

    Your answers to the EDI questionnaire won’t be visible or assessed by the judging panel.
    Please see the programme T&Cs for more details.

  • I need help using Skipso (the application platform). What should I do?

    If you’re having any problems with Skipso and require help, please contact the team on: 

  • Will I receive feedback if unsuccessful?

    Unfortunately, if your application is not successful for the programme, we cannot provide feedback. However, you will be notified of whether the result is successful.

  • Can I receive preliminary feedback on my application before submission?

    Unfortunately not. To ensure a fair judging process and due to the high volume of applications we expect to receive, we are not able to work with you or provide feedback on applications prior to completion. Please refer to our selection criteria to understand what we expect to see from applications.

  • Can I save my application and come back to it later?

    Yes, the form we use for the full application process can be modified and saved at any time before the final submission date. Please ensure you do not leave the page idle for long periods (without saving), as this may cause the page to timeout. After full submission and completion forms cannot be altered or edited.

  • How would the application be scored?

    Each criterion will be scored on a range from 0 to 5. 0 being “Unacceptable” and 5 being “Excellent”. This scoring will be applied to all applications and with the weighting outlined in the programme T&Cs.

  • What is the application process and onboarding process?

    Here’s an outline of the application process and onboarding stages of the programme:

    • Application completion – To be considered for the programme you will need to submit the full online application form before the open call closing Sunday 21 July 2024 at 23:59. You can save and return to your form as required. Once an application has been submitted, the applicant will not be able to make any changes to their application. Applicants must ensure all questions are answered otherwise their application may be rejected.

    Should you require any assistance with the application, you can reach out to the team at to discuss any questions you might have.

    • Applications judging and shortlisting – Once applications close, completed applications are judged and assessed based on the selection criteria and shortlist selected for review by the judging panel.

    Judges will conduct interviews with all shortlisted applicants w/c 12 August 2024. Up to 15 of the highest-ranked applicants will be accepted into the programme. However, Digital Catapult reserves the right to select applications to balance the portfolio.

    • Selection and contracting – Once companies have been reviewed and the proposed teams selected by the judging panel, we’ll communicate to successful and unsuccessful companies on the status of their application and complete our contracting with successful startups. Successful applicants will then be notified and provided with a standard Programme Agreement for review. These contracts are standard and not negotiable. We try to ensure these contracts are fair and reasonable. Invitation to a programme kick-off will then follow provisionally on the completion of this agreement.
    • Companies join the cohort – Once onboarded cohort companies will receive £5,000 funding upon completing the milestones, alongside bespoke business and investment health scans and the tailored programme support.
  • What market sector does this programme focus on?

    The programme will focus on technology companies with existing clients in the manufacturing sector. However, companies with the ambition and plan to expand into this sector will also be considered.

  • Should I apply if I am not looking to raise investment?

    Yes. This programme is designed for companies who are also looking to grow their business. At the beginning of the programme, there will be a comprehensive business and investment healthscan to identify the company’s specific need for growth. We will use the result to tailor the programme support, such as mentorships, growth coaching, pitch training, business planning…etc.

  • What technologies does this programme focus on?

    The focus of the programme is to support the growth of technology companies in the UK. The technology areas that the programme will prioritise include:

    • Future networks and advanced digital infrastructure (5G and the internet of things including low powered wide area networks, NB-IoT, LIFI etc. and includes sensors, edge devices, wearables etc.)
    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning (natural language processing, machine vision, deep learning)
    • Immersive technologies – Extended reality (virtual, augmented, mixed reality and haptics)
    • Distributed ledger technologies (Blockchain etc.)

    Companies utilising other digital technologies to help the manufacturing sector improve resource and energy efficiency will be considered. However, in the application process, companies are advised to clearly articulate why these technologies are crucial to delivering value for the market for the judging panel’s evaluation.

  • Who can apply?

    The Investment Readiness Programme seeks applications from technology innovators from the UK ecosystem who will be interested in developing technology solutions to some of the UK’s core industrial challenges. The programme is designed to help improve the investment and business readiness of these companies.

    Designed for startups and SMEs, here are the requirements for application:

    • Applicants must be eligible to receive up to £20,000 in State Assistance. This includes £5,000 cash funding and up to £10,000 in-kind support.
    • Applicants must have a UK business bank account for any payments to be made.
    • Applicants must be a UK-based registered company, or prove they are a company that has an establishment in the UK, and undertake all activity in the UK.
    • Applicants must be engaged in developing solutions enabled by at least one of the technologies from the Advanced Digital Technology Stack:
    • Artificial Intelligence, Immersive, Internet of Things, Distributed Ledger Technologies and 5G/Future Networks.

    For more detailed information on Eligibility, please refer to the programme T&Cs.

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