12 innovative companies have been offered a share of almost £1.85 million of funding from the Innovate UK Launchpad for the Great South West.

This Innovate UK Launchpad provides innovation support and funding tailored to the local area’s strengths in marine and maritime. 

The Innovate UK Launchpads support clusters of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and helps the most innovative businesses to progress their projects towards commercialisation, contributing to local economic growth. The Great South West Launchpad has been developed jointly between Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, the Ocean Futures consortia, and the Great South West Local Enterprise Partnerships of Cornwall & Isles of Scilly, Heart of the South West and Dorset. 

This first competitive round of investment attracted a large response from local businesses and innovators. The businesses funded are to develop innovative technologies such as marine autonomy applications, zero-emission unmanned surface vessel systems, hydrogen propulsion and water quality monitoring. All the funded projects aim to make our oceans safer and support the transition towards a net zero ocean economy. 

Dean CookDirector, Place and Levelling Up at Innovate UK: 

“At Innovate UK, we are committed to supporting regional innovation and nurturing technology clusters across the UK.

“Today, we are pleased to announce initial details on the businesses and innovations to receive this investment through our marine and maritime Launchpad in the Great South West.

“This initiative underscores our commitment to work in partnership with local leadership to grow clusters that drive economic growth across the UK.”

Kevin Forshaw, Chair, Maritime UK South West:

“The South West leads on marine and maritime technology, and the Launchpad is providing a much-needed boost to drive further innovative R&D here for the rapidly growing global ocean economy.  Applications for Round 1 detailed exciting developments in Marine Autonomy, Clean Maritime and Digitally Connected Oceans, and Maritime UK South West will be working with partners across the region to shape successive calls in this exciting programme.”

Karl Tucker, Chair, Great South West Partnership:

“The Great South West is a world leader in the blue economy, home to cutting-edge marine technologies, the UK’s maritime defence capabilities, marine manufacturing, and world-class research institutions. It’s fantastic to see this recognised with this round of Innovate UK funding, helping our innovative region to make our oceans safer, and drive forward the Government’s net zero agenda.”

All members in the cluster will also benefit from the support of a network of like minded innovators. As part of today’s announcement, Maritime UK South West (MUKSW) has been competitively appointed as the Cluster Management Organisation and they will develop a supportive network of innovators, helping one another to reach their full potential. Together, this network is hoped to attract national and international investors and outreach into the global marketplace.

Richard May, CEO, Plymouth and South Devon Freeport: 

“Congratulations to Maritime UK South West for being appointed as the Cluster Management Organisation for the Great South West Marine and Maritime Launchpad. We have a strong working relationship with MUKSW and the two organisations align closely with shared aims to engage, foster and further develop innovative marine and maritime businesses within the South West. The Launchpad is a key initiative to support the Freeport develop an international hotbed of innovation in growing marine and maritime sub-sector specialisms.”

The Launchpad partnership will announce the next round of funding in Spring.

Find out more about how to apply for the Launchpad and attend technology-specific consortia forming sessions at the Maritime UK SW Ocean Tech Expo, 26-27 June: https://maritimeuksw.org/ocean-tech-expo-24/