Foundational Economy Innovation Fund

Closed 12 Mar 2023

Opened 1 Feb 2023


Have you got a great idea to improve your business or organisation? 

We can help provide the funding, expertise, and support to make it happen, linking you with other likeminded innovators in a growing community across Greater Manchester.  

What’s on offer? 

£10,000 grants for up to 40 projects, plus expert support, to develop or trial ideas and innovations in Phase 1. Some projects will have ideas that need more development, while others will be ready to trial something straight away. We are interested in both at this for Phase 1. 

£60,000 grants for up to 10 projects, plus expert support, to develop the best ideas from phase 1 and expand on there impact.  

Who is it for? 

The Foundational Economy Innovation Fund is for the “foundational economy”. That’s the “everyday economy”, or the “essential economy” – the businesses we all rely on for our daily needs. 

We’re starting with four sectors: 

  • Health and social care 
  • Early education and childcare (0-5 years)   
  • Retail and personal services 
  • Hospitality and leisure 

You are eligible for the fund if you: 

  • Own or run a business, social enterprise or cooperative in these sectors 
  • Support or represent a cluster of businesses in one of these sectors 
  • Can provide technology and / or innovative solutions or new ideas that could be used in one of these sectors 

What will the fund support? 

Localising supply chains - innovations that support local, sustainable, and circular supply chains. Circular supply chains being those that share, lease, reuse, repair, refurbish, and recycle existing materials and products for as long as possible within Greater Manchester. 

Low carbon and net-zero - innovations that reduce or manage energy consumption and carbon emissions, including via the development and testing of new technology, as well as new systems and initiatives to use and share resources more efficiently or reduce the use of resources. 

More effective services and products - innovations that help create or integrate new ways of delivering your current services or products to a higher standard by doing things more efficiently and effectively. This could include re-thinking your approach to resourcing, organising work, and the adoption or development of technology. This is not about expanding or fundamentally changing the services or products you provide, but instead doing what you do already, better. 

Supporting the workforce - innovations that help with developing, recruiting and retaining staff. This could include new ways of upskilling the workforce, improving progression routes or providing greater flexibility of working patterns and security of hours worked. This could also include finding new ways to connect employers and potential employees, including the self-employed and those who have struggled to find stable work, particularly individuals experiencing inequalities. This does not include using funds to subsidise staff to conduct business as usual activity, the use of monetary incentives, or the purchasing of wellbeing services. 

How can I apply? 

If you wish to apply, first please read in full the Foundational Economy Innovation Fund Application Pack. This includes all the relevant information you need to apply, including details regarding the sort of projects this fund will, and will not, support. 

To apply please fill out the application form via the link below.  


  • Businesses
  • Schools, colleges and universities
  • Public sector partners


  • Economy