More than 3,000 AI companies in the UK employ more than 50,000 people and contribute £3.7bn in Gross Value Added. The national innovation agency, Innovate UK, offered companies within this industry an average grant of more than £500,000 each.

This comes as the government continues to set out a roadmap for the UK to become a technology superpower by 2030 with a key focus on AI.

A study from SAS reveals that finance ranked in 6th place nationally, with each business receiving on average £175,422 amount of funding. It is, says SAS, a sign that the industry is among those most in need of investment in order to innovate.

SAS’ study revealed agriculture and retail ranked the highest out of the 10 sectors with utilities, logistics and education receiving just around £80,000 and below per company.

Analytics technology becoming increasingly accessible to organisations of all sizes

Prathiba Krishna, AI and Ethics Lead at SAS UK & Ireland, said: “AI and machine learning are transformative technologies. Organisations are using them to develop innovative solutions that could address many of the big challenges we face today. The breadth and diversity of projects that have received funding through Innovate UK are a testament to the potential of data-led technologies. With the right support and partnerships, we could see many more to come.

“Some companies have large-scale access to private investment opportunities, whether this be their own reserves, venture capitalists, crowdsourcing, or other forms of investment. However, this research highlights the sheer volume of businesses that have opportunities to leverage AI but need further support from government grants to fulfil their potential.

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“Funding awarded by Innovate UK is a useful barometer for which sectors are most in need of support to adopt AI. However, analytics technology is becoming increasingly accessible to organisations of all sizes across all sectors, enabling them to realise its potential much sooner.”

Sector Number of grants awarded Average grant amount per company, per industry (in £)
Agriculture 53 613,682.15
Retail 9 517,176.44
Manufacturing 85 406,788.69
HR 8 363,729.88
Healthcare 70 265,359.26
Finance 34 175,422.94
Technology 164 172,957.30
Law 10 134,708.30
Media 46 98,021.98
Education 152 80,942.57
Logistics 6 38,315.67
Utilities 71 11,477.63