A specialist tech funder has been chosen to take part in a £8.5m pilot scheme which aims to provide fledgling firms with grant funding and venture capital.

Based in Warwickshire, Mercia Fund Management will be one of seven companies partnering with Innovate UK on its Investment Accelerator initiative.

The programme will operate in infrastructure or health and life sciences, and each company involved will provide private sector investment alongside grants injecting up to £150,000 for successfully selected companies.

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Head of life sciences and bio-sciences at Mercia Peter Dines said: “I am delighted that Mercia has been invited as a partner for this programme.

“Innovate UK has very clear aims in the delivery of this project and we believe that Mercia is well positioned to help fund and scale innovative applications into commercial opportunities.

“We look forward to reviewing new opportunities as they arise and working alongside Innovate and other partners.”

Mercia already has an expansive portfolio of firms in the health and life sciences sector, including AIM listed Concepta, Oxford Genetics and The Native Antigen Company.

It will also consider applications from companies that support infrastructure systems.

The programme will bring private investors into Innovate UK grant-funded companies earlier, giving companies greater confidence that investment will continue after the project funding.

The final date for applications is July 5.