Innovative businesses in Cornwall are being encouraged to apply for grants to fast-track technological solutions to disruption caused by Covid-19 circumstances.

The funding competition is run by Innovate UK and the deadline for applications closes today (Friday).

Stuart Rogers, a corporate tax partner at accountants and business advisors PKF Francis Clark, believes the scheme could benefit companies seeking funding to turn their ideas into reality.

Stuart said: “This is an opportunity to make a positive difference during and after the national emergency, harnessing innovation to deliver realistic and significant benefits for society.

“These include communities, families and individuals or an industry that has been severely impacted and/or permanently disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

This comes in light of government action earlier this month, with the announcement of a £20million fund for the development of technology to help boost the UK’s resilience against the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Projects must be delivered during the working restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Once eligible, businesses can claim 100 per cent of project costs, offering ambitious projects up to a maximum of £50,000 funding. The grants will be paid in advance of the project start date, helping with R&D costs.

Stuart said: “There are a wide range of sectors that could participate, where many of our clients are active. These include education and culture; entertainment; food manufacture and processing; healthcare; hospitality; retail; social care; sport and recreation and transport.”

Innovations could include:

· New technology allowing retailers to respond better to sudden spikes of consumer demand and improve deliveries across the UK.

· New services for families to connect with and remotely monitor their elderly or vulnerable relatives, giving people peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving the services they require such as food deliveries, doctor’s appointments and paying bills.

· Creating education tools which seamlessly integrate the classroom with the kitchen table, allowing teachers to remotely set dynamic tasks, support vulnerable children and make certain no child is left behind.

Stuart said: “Crucially, all the projects must begin by June and last up to six months, with products and services expected to be available to the public towards the end of this year.

“There will be businesses in the south west which have the capability and inventiveness to respond to this innovation call to arms by the Government.”