Funding Resources for Startups (Virtual 2020)


UK Government funding

During the Covid19 Outbreak


  • Innovate UK:

  • £200m available for companies that already have grants with Innovate UK.
  • £200m new grants for companies who have never had funding from Innovate before.
  • £350m of innovation loans.
  • Future Fund via British Business Bank:

  • convertible loan notes.
  • company must have raised £250k in equity in the last 5 years.
  • 50% of the current round must be from a third investor so essentially the loan is on a matched basis.
  • The govt needs to be comfortable DD has been done hence why there needs to be a lead investor.
  • Loan amount provided to the company ranges from £125,000 to £5 million and will have a minimum of 8% per annum (non-compounding) interest charge applied.


EU funding for start-ups and SMEs during the crisis


Working capital & investment loans [EUR 13.3bn guarantee contract signed – 25bn SME financing]

  • One of the first measures introduced mid-March – EUR 1bn unlocked for existing instruments to result in EUR 8bn in working capital loans for small businesses
  • Eligible companies: start-ups and SMEs fulfilling innovation criteria
  • Loans up to EUR 7.5m

Equity investments [EUR 1bn investments made into 71 funds]

  • To counter the deteriorating fundraising conditions because of COVID-19, we are amending our equity facility to provide additional financing to financial intermediaries, allowing them to close/ achieve viable fund size.
  • EUR 100m for Recovery Equity Facility for Innovative Technology companies
  • Early stage focus: pre-seed, seed and start-up phases. (Tech transfer, BAs, VC)
  • Focus on Horizon 2020 objectives: life sciences, ICT, social impact, clean energy, AI/BT

European Innovation Council – Accelerator calls

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is the Commission’s flagship initiative for supporting game-changing innovations by combining an advanced science-and-tech research programme with an accelerator programme for start-ups and SMEs. The Accelerator Programme provides a unique support as it integrate the traditional grant support (up to EUR 2.5M) together with a dedicated fund for equity investment (up to EUR 15M).

European Innovation Council Accelerator for start-ups with game-changing innovations (up to EUR 2.5 million in grant and option of equity up to EUR 15 million)


  • Ongoing open calls with 4 cut-off dates per year – latest 19 May, next 7 October
  • For start-ups with business plan to roll out game-changing innovations & with ambition to scale
  • Financing: up to EUR 2.5m in grants and EUR 15m in equity / per project
  • Budget: EUR 3bn for 2018-2020 and EUR 10bn for 2021-2027
  • Coaching and mentoring provided for selected start-ups


Alongside the EIC, the Commission offers Innovation Finance to start-ups, SME and mid-caps in 27 EU MS and 16 Associated Countries (


The following two facilities targeting start-ups and SMEs are part oInnovFin – Innovation Finance instruments backed by Horizon 2020 (the EU Framework Programme for Research & Innovation):



EU funding after the crisis

Recovery package announced 27/05/20 for EUR 750bn – one pillar focuses on private investment:

  • Solvency Support Instrument – mobilising private investment to companies in sectors, regions and countries most affected
    • Budget: EUR 31bn implemented as of 2020
  • Strengthened InvestEU – the main investment instrument at EU level as of 2021.
    • Budgetary guarantee of EUR 72bn for implementing partners to address market failures and investment gaps in key policy areas – green and digital (but also health etc.).



Canadian Government Funding During the Covid19 Outbreak

Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

  • The Government of Canada is taking immediate action to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • $149 billion in total direct support to Canadian workers and businesses
  • $25 billion Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA): Up to $40,000 interest-free loans for small businesses (2019 payroll between $20,000 and $1.5 million). 25% forgiveness if paid by 2022
  • Bank of Development of Canada Co-Lending Program: $12.5 million for the operational cash flow requirements through through the client’s primary financial institution
  • BDC MATCHING INVESTMENT PROGRAM FOR CANADIAN VC-BACKED COMPANIES AFFECTED BY COVID-19: Eligible companies must be Canadian-based, venture-backed, and have raised at least $500K in external capital before applying


COVID-19 funding opportunities

  • Innovative Solutions Canada has dedicated funding to help combat current and future outbreaks of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and other similar threats. Our program will help support the Government of Canada’s fight against COVID-19 by funding R&D and testing prototypes in real-life settings that can help protect Canadians. 

Business Credit Availability Program

  • Export Development Canada (EDC) is working with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new operating credit and cash flow term loans of up to $6.25 million to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (FedDev)

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) provides financial contributions (interest-free loans) to help support fixed operating costs of SMEs, where business revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund, valued at more than $962 million nationally, is delivered by Canada’s six regional development agencies.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy

  • To help businesses keep and return workers to their payroll through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this program would provide a 75 per cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020.

Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers

  • The Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).


Other Canadian Resources

  • $250 million (on top of other programs) through the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) to assist innovative, early-stage companies that are unable to access other COVID-19 business supports.
  • $20.1 million in support for Futurpreneur Canada to continue supporting young entrepreneurs across Canada

$15 million in new funding to support Women Entrepreneurs through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES)

Canadian Government Annual Grants exceeds $26B 





US Funding During the Covid19 Outbreak:

U.S. Landscape Post-Covid:

– Venture Capital and Private Equity Funds are mostly in triage mode

– They know that the pandemic is going to slow down the sales of most of their portfolio that is selling into the enterprise market

– Industries are hit across the board with the exception of pockets of healthcare

            Bio and HealthTech is seeing a surge of interest.

– COVID has had profound effect on the organizational aspects of the startup ecosystem

            – Across the board we see salary cuts and layoffs in play

– There is a few smatterings of new funding.

            – The companies that are getting new funding are early stage

            – The valuation of these companies has not necessarily come down


U.S. assistance to startup companies post-COVID is being channeled primarily through the Small Business Administration (SBA). It includes:


  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

                        Gives 2.5 months of payroll as forgivable loans

                        Banks were given money by SBA to give to its clients

                        Done in 2 surges.  First surge ran out of money and second surge started

                        2-year loans at 1% interest

                        Meant for mom n pop shops

                        There are limitations of what the funds could be used for

                                    (primarily payroll, lease, utilities)

                        Limitation in size

                                    One set of loans was for companies with less than 500

                                    Second set of loans was for companies with than 500 employees

                        Size and Control set limitations to these loans


  • Economic Injury Disaster Loans

                        Also governed by SBA

                        Loans are primarily for companies that have had inventory and hits on retail

                        The ones we have seen are $20-50k



Otherwise, there are a few other sources for funding in the US, among which the following:


National Science Foundation’s rapid response grants to support COVID19 research

Grant Station funding in the area of COVID19


Frontier Coronavirus Funding:


Grant Watch non profit COVID grants

What we do

iBRIDGES is an open, inclusive and collaborative initiative which aims to empower a worldwide high-tech entrepreneurial community, focused on those of Iranian descent, to exchange knowledge, best practices, and innovative thinking. The iBRIDGES community is committed to nurturing individuals who build and accelerate the growth of an “Innovation Economy” everywhere.



iBRIDGE brings all entrepreneurs of Iranian descent together to explore the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in economic development and diversification.


Our mission is to create a community of high-tech entrepreneurs of Iranian descent, energized to exchange knowledge, best practices, and innovative thinking.


 We connect entrepreneurs and startup founders with experienced investors and successful entrepreneurs. iBRIDGES provides a dynamic platform for mentoring relationship.

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