How can a small business find funding for Artificial Intelligence development?

11-09-17
How can a small business find funding for Artificial Intelligence development funding for Artificial Intelligence development Artificial Intelligence development AI development R & D tax credits for AI developments Reach Robotics MekaMon University of West England (UWE Bristol) Bristol Robotics Laboratory incubator programme the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund South West Business R and D tax credits for AI developments

The world is changing very fast and AI is already present in our everyday life. The list is long but includes the following examples:

  • Virtual assistants  - An example is Siri for iPhone
  • Games - An example is any game with multiple characters that learn from events created by the user. Each game is therefore unique but relies on AI
  • Customer Service - An example is most online responses to customer questions which are answered by a learning AI.

In the UK there has been a lot of Artificial Intelligence development by smaller early stage businesses as well as the big companies.

An example is Reach Robotics which was founded by a former University of West England (UWE Bristol) student. Reach was started by Silas Adekunle, Chris Beck and John Rees in 2013. They started small and have developed MekaMon which is described as “a next level robotics, augmented reality and gaming platform” (Source: South West Business).  It is basically an intelligent fighting robot! They first worked on MekaMon under the Bristol Robotics Laboratory incubator programme but have just raised £5.8m to help build the business to the next stage. They are proof that you can get a lot of support, including financial support when you are at an early stage. This is particularly true if you are pushing at the boundaries of what’s possible, such as building in Artificial Intelligence development.

The Government has committed, in the April 2017 Budget, large sums to support AI development technology with the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. They have targeted six key areas which you can read about here.  These funds are available to all businesses including smaller Companies. 

There is also significant opportunity to get support through Government R&D tax credits for AI developments. R&D tax credits are claimable against losses as well as profits and can be claimed as part of your first tax return, then ongoing with each tax return as the business is developed, for are long as you are carrying out qualifying Research and Development (R&D).

The opportunities going forward are enormous, and It not just about big business. There are great opportunities for smaller and early stage businesses.

References/links:

South West Business

Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund

R&D tax credits for AI developments

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About the author

Linda Eziquiel

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Hi, I'm an R&D tax credit claims specialist, helping companies save thousands of pounds by reducing their corporation tax payments, or if they are loss making helping them get tax credit cash payments.

I'm proud to have:

  • Personally helped over 100 companies make successful R&D tax credit and relief claims.
  • With RandDTax (our company) - gained in excess of £75m for more than 920 companies since 2012.
  • Published an online course for accountants on Claiming R&D Tax Credits (see my publications).
  • Run dozens of CPD workshops for accountancy firms on Claiming R&D Tax Credits.
  • A 100% success rate across all my clients' R&D claims - covering a very wide range of industries.

  Find me at: http://www.cobizfunding.co.uk


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