What you need to know

We want your ideas to innovate in the foundational economy.

We welcome expressions of interest from businesses and organisations, as well as innovators and inventors with bright ideas that can be applied in the foundational economy.

Up to £70,000 is available in two stages for individual projects.

Participants will also have the opportunity to take part in a development programme and join a growing community of innovators.  

How to express an interest

Fill in the simple form to let us know about your idea.

Expression of Interest Form - closing December 12

We will review your expression of interest and provide you with feedback, as well as link you up with any other individuals and/or organisations with whom you could collaborate if you give us permission to do so via the form.

Full applications for the challenge fund will open later in the year.

We will send you the details and a full application form nearer the time.

Please note those who participated in the expression of interest are at neither an advantage, or disadvantage, to those who did not express an interest. Applicants will be judged exclusively on the information provided on their full application form once applications have opened.

What funding is on offer?

Stage 1 - £10k grants

Up to 40 projects will be supported with £10,000 to develop or trial ideas and innovations. 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 stage.

Stage 2 - £60k grants

Up to 10 projects will be awarded an additional £60,000 to develop them further and expand on their impact following completion of stage 1 and a successful pitch to a prize panel.  

Details of the process and criteria for stage 2 funding applications will be provided at a later date. 

Please note that funding arrangements may be subject to change and will be confirmed at the formal application stage. 

What other support will I receive?

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to participate in a development programme delivered by an external partner to develop skills in innovation, pitching and business resilience.

There will also be a “community of practice” in place to amplify and share learning from and between projects, as well as peer to peer support.

Who can apply?

Any individual or legally constituted organisation can submit an application, including organisations from across the public, private and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sectors.

We encourage multiple individuals and / or organisations to apply in collaboration to deliver projects. However, one individual or organisation must act as the “lead applicant” and take on responsibility and liability for the project, with other involved organisations being “delivery partners”.

We are interested in applications from individuals, businesses and organisations who work in, or who work with or who support the sectors in the foundational economy targeted by this fund.

We also welcome applications from innovators and inventors that want to work with individuals, businesses, and organisations in these parts of the foundational economy.

Organisations outside of Greater Manchester can submit an application in collaboration with an organisation within Greater Manchester.

Where can projects be based?

This call for applications covers projects that will be delivered in one or more of the ten local authority areas in Greater Manchester: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Rochdale, Oldham, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan.

Applications can cover one or more of these areas or be designed to address the whole city-region.

Projects do not need to cover an entire local authority area.

Can I bring in match funding?

Projects which can identify leverage via match funding will be welcome.

Projects contingent on additional public funds or specific co-operation with public bodies need to demonstrate that this has been secured in principle at the application phase.

What is the timeline?

27 October 2022

Expressions of Interest open

Winter 2022

Full applications open

Spring 2023

Winners notified and stage 1 projects launch

Autumn 2023

Invitation to pitch for stage 2 projects

Where else can I get help for my business?

This fund is one aspect of support available to businesses during this time and is designed to offer applicants the chance to try out and test innovative solutions.

The Growth Hub "Here For Business" website covers the support available to businesses to help with energy price rises and wider costs

The Business Growth Hub provides a comprehensive overview of support available in Greater Manchester.


Watch our promotional video aimed at innovators

Foundational Economy Challenge home page

About the innovation fund