Business Basics Fund

Do you have an innovative idea to encourage SMEs to use technology to boost productivity?

Apply for a share of £2 million from the Business Basics Fund.

The Business Basics Fund supports projects that test methods of encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to boost their productivity through ways of working and technology.

The Business Basics Fund, a series of open competitions, is the main element of the Business Basics Programme. The fund aims to build evidence on how to encourage SMEs to adopt productivity boosting technology and/or management practices. It is administered by Innovate UK on behalf of BEIS.

How to apply to the Fund to run projects

Under the second round of the Business Basics Fund, for which a total of up to £2 million is available, we are funding 2 types of project: trials and proof of concept.

Rules and guidance applying to both types of project

  • all project work must be carried out in England
  • all selected projects must start by 1 September 2019 and can last up to a year
  • further guidance and help on evaluation / finding partners available via the above links
  • we will hold a networking event and an evaluation masterclass

Trial projects – non-business or business led

  • aiming to generate robust evidence on the most effective approaches, and build an understanding of the short, medium and long-term impacts of these approaches
  • grant funding of up to £400,000 per project
  • you must have an evaluation plan, and, ideally, an evaluation partner
  • non-business led trials – where the lead applicant is a public sector organisation, a university, or research and technology organisation (RTO), a charity, or a not for profit company. Businesses can participate as collaborators but cannot be the lead applicant: use appropriate link above
  • business-led trials – where the lead applicant is a business: use appropriate link above

Proof of Concept projects

  • ideas at an earlier stage of development
  • grant funding of up to £60,000 per project


If you have other questions or want to discuss ideas you think will fit with the Business Basics Programme, please contact: or in the BEIS Business Basics team

If you need help finding a potential partner, please contact by 5pm on 11 March 2019.

If you need more information about submitting an application on the IFS system, please email or call the competitions helpline on 0300 321 4357.

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