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Small to medium-sized companies in the assistive tech arena could get the chance to develop new technologies to enhance healthy ageing and reduce the cost and frequency of age-related illnesses with a new multi-million pot of funding.

Legal & General has been selected by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to deploy the £6 million of grant funding to early-stage companies that are making a difference in the healthy ageing market.

The grant has been awarded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund as part of its Healthy Ageing Investment Accelerator initiative – a five-year scheme with investors committing to allocating the grant funding within the first two years.

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Legal & General will work in partnership with Innovate UK (UKI), part of UKRI, to distribute grants to SMEs and social enterprises that are delivering innovations in ‘health-tech’.

In addition to the grants, selected companies will also receive equity investment by Legal & General, one of the world’s leading financial services groups who will top up the grant with at least £6 million of its own capital.

Jess McCreadie, Investment Director of Legal & General Retail Retirement, said: “We believe the challenge of an ageing population requires long-term solutions that harness technology to help people live healthier, more independent lives.

“This is an exciting opportunity for businesses to access the funding they need to scale and bring their ideas to life. We hope that with our investment and expertise, we will be able to drive forward a positive change in what is an exciting and growing market.”

Funding and investment will be deployed to up to six health-tech companies that have a proactive, predictive and preventative advantage to help reduce the cost and occurrence of ill-health linked to growing older.

According to Legal & General, companies that perform well continuously may also receive further investment as well, with the group’s retirement division hoping to commit £24 million of its own capital over the next half-a-decade.

“The partnership we are forging with UKRI is a fantastic public and private sector collaboration to support dynamic businesses in a market with lots of potential,” commented Chris Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Legal & General Retail Retirement.

“We are seeing abundant opportunities emerge in ‘age-tech’ as businesses rise to the challenge of helping people live longer, happier and healthier lives – a mission we fully support. We look forward to putting the grant funding, alongside our own capital, to work to enhance our society and create meaningful solutions for an ageing demographic.”

The partnership with UKRI builds on Legal & General’s strong track record of investing in direct venture opportunities and comes as it builds its reputation in the healthy ageing market after recently acquired a stake in Current Health, a leading remote patient monitoring platform.

“Legal & General is calling on early-stage, high growth innovators to apply for a share of the £6m grant funding to develop ideas that help people enjoy healthier and more active lives in old age,” read a statement from the company.

Businesses interested in applying for grant funding can visit here, where there will be further information regarding eligibility criteria and the application process. All applications will be reviewed for suitability against the selection criteria set by L&G and IUK. L&G’s successful bid follows a competitive tender process.

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