21st May 2020

£40m Boost for Cutting-Edge Welsh Start-ups

Innovative businesses and start-ups across Wales are set to benefit from a £40 million UK Government investment to drive forward new technological advances.

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced the UK Government is doubling investment in the Fast Start Competition with an additional £20 million.

Among the successful businesses to receive the funding to date are Port Talbot based Hybrisan which is developing nanofibre material for use in PPE and Cardiff based Bond Digital Health which is working to provide accurate real-time data to decision-makers.

The competition aims to fast-track the development of innovations borne out of the coronavirus crisis while supporting the UK’s next generation of cutting-edge start-ups – helping to build the businesses of tomorrow and propel their future prosperity.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

“The coronavirus crisis has created challenges that impact the way we live, work and travel but has also prompted a wave of new innovations as businesses look at ways to solve some of the challenges facing our world today.

“This funding will support UK start-ups to deliver potential solutions, services and ways of working and help ensure the long term sustainability of these businesses.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:

“Innovative Welsh businesses will play a vital role in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and in our future economy.

“This £40 million UK Government investment will help Welsh businesses to develop incredible solutions to the challenges that the coronavirus has created and support the sustainable growth of cutting edge start-ups.”

The investment comes from a £211 million UK Government support package to drive forward business-led innovation and is part of a wider investment package of £1.25 billion for innovative UK businesses, announced by the Chancellor on 20 April.

Innovate UK received a record number of applications – over 8,600 to the Fast Start Competition and will now be able to distribute investment to over 800 projects.

Projects based in Wales receiving funding include:

Hybrisan (Port Talbot) which has developed a biocidal electrospun nonwoven material than can be used as an alternative to current materials. The material can be used to make reusable, biocidal face masks that will improve safety of front-line workers and reduce the global shortage of face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim of this project is to test and develop the nanofibre material for use in face masks, wound dressings and other uses.

Bond Digital Health (Cardiff) which is working to provide the web platform and technology needed to connect rapid testing devices to the internet. This would allow the data to be instantly visualised on dashboards for clients in real-time.

IBFC-UK (Cardiff) which is developing a cloud based system called ‘Assadaqaat- Community Connect’ which will allow people to donate to those in need within their community.

Instructor Guru (Cwmbran) which is looking to model and develop a digital application to facilitate the use of Instructor Guru Ltd’s proprietary software for management of orthopaedic recovery remotely, and more cost-efficiently, whilst improving patient care.

Executive Chair, Innovate UK, Dr Ian Campbell, said:

“Businesses from all over the UK have answered our call rapidly to meet the challenges we face today and in the future through the power of innovation.

“The ideas we have seen can truly make a significant impact on society, improve the lives of individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups and enable businesses to prosper in challenging circumstances.”

The Fast Start Competition was launched in April in response to the outbreak and is being managed by Innovate UK.