What is match-funding and how does it work?

Most grants, including InnovateUK SMART and Horizon 2020 grants are ‘match funded’.

This means that they will pay a percentage of your overall project costs.

In the case of SMART, InnovateUK will provide either 60% or 45% of the total project cost, depending on the level of funding you apply for.

For Horizon 2020 however, they will match 70% of your total project cost.

The rest of the project costs will have to covered from another source. This could be from:

  1. money you already have in your company bank account
  2. cashflow from existing revenue streams
  3. private investment
  4. other grant funds
  5. ‘in-kind’ contributions such as equipment, materials, unpaid work based on time spent

Depending on the grant, you may be limited as to where this money can come from. For example, some grants cannot be matched against other grants. Many grants also do not allow certain kinds of (or any) ‘in-kind contributions’, and most grant funds require a least a significant amount of the funding to come in actual cash rather than in-kind contributions.

In the case of InnovateUK SMART grants, in-kind contributions are not accepted. Horizon 2020 however does allow some in-kind contributions to be included.

Also dependant on the grant fund is whether you need to have your match funding already confirmed before you apply for the grant. In some cases, you can apply for the grant and use your success in that to raise the match funding (although in those cases you wouldn’t actually receive any of the grant money until you had raised the match funding). In other cases you need to have the match funding already in place (or confirmed on the condition of you receiving the grant).

With InnovateUK SMART grants you can apply without your funding confirmed, although at least some progress on knowing where that funding is coming from is recommended. With Horizon 2020 you should plan to have the funding in place before you apply.

If you would like to discuss match funding, or grants in general, please get in touch.

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