At Pocket Gamer Connects London 2016, Barrie Dowsett, CEO of Myriad Associates, gave a talk on how to secure 70% public, non-repayable, funding for your business.
This form of funding is attractive because you keep all the money, don't have to offer any equity, retain your IP and future commercialisation benefits, and reduces the risk of your project.
In the UK and Europe, there are two types of public funding available; R&D grant funding, such as Innovate UK and Horizon 2020, and HMRC incentives, which take advantage of tax reliefs and seed investment from the UK government.
The Innovate UK grant offers £25k to £250k in grant money, covering 40-65% of the project cost for projects that last 9 to 24 months, and so can be useful for proof-of-concept projects.
Horizon 2020 offers a fund for concept assessment, but the "big money" is in the Ready to Market fund, which offers between £500k-£2.5 million, covering 70% of the costs for projects that last between one and two years.
Dowsett then focused on the HMRC incentives, for which he offered a "recipe". Step 1 is to apply for SEIS, a seed investment project that provides tax relief for investors for business that have been established for two years, which covers 50% of the costs.
Step 2 is to then apply for Video Game Tax Relief, which requires a certificate from the British Film Institute, and an actual game to be made, before the application. This covers 20% of costs, but can only be done retrospectively after the game is made.
There is also the R&D Tax Credits, which offer more money but only if you're working on a project that advances technology. It is possible to make both claims, such as if you've made your own engine, but the claims can become difficult to make and distinguish from one another.