A new ‘funding finder’ tool developed using artificial intelligence has been released to help Scottish and UK firms seek out financial support.

The tool, launched by The Data Lab, is designed to help SMEs navigate the ‘complex’ funding landscape, particularly for startups and scale-ups.

Funding Finder allows businesses to quickly determine what financial backing is available to them in Scotland and across the UK, matching them with the most appropriate funding bodies to best support their work.

The free tool is designed to provide value quickly by guiding users through a simple three-staged online form. The information provided helps to create a personalised recommendation based on the available funding for which they are most likely to be eligible.

The Funding Finder’s embedded AI element delivers the most relevant search results to boost application success and minimise the time spent on inappropriate bids.

The launch of the tool follows a successful two-month pilot, tested exclusively with members of The Data Lab’s Community. The pilot received positive feedback, with a number of those who trialled the tool identifying new funding opportunities as a result. The Funding Finder is now available to businesses across the UK, with further scope to extend overseas.

Users of the tool will also benefit from tailored support, events news, weekly updates from the innovation centre and access to useful networks and connections, including the European Space Agency, UKRI, Innovate UK, and Find Business Support Scotland.

Adam Turner, head of external funding services at The Data Lab, said: “It’s impossible to ignore the crucial role grant funding plays for all stages of a business, but particularly during the start-up and scale-up phases. Scotland has always produced high-quality, innovative organisations and this is something we want to nurture with the deployment of this tool.

“While the funding landscape for SMEs is positive, the application process has never been straightforward. As well as being time-consuming, it’s often complex and, with no single central funding body, every application can be different. We regularly received feedback from our community that a lot of time was wasted applying for funding that simply wasn’t suitable or that particular organisations were unlikely to win. Our aim with Funding Finder is to overcome some of these common pitfalls by providing a one-stop-shop for funding, to make it more accessible for businesses.”

Funding Finder is available to access and sign up to here: fundingfinder.thedatalab.com/