The UK government has released details of a covid-19 support scheme that will help support businesses that are driving innovation and development during the crisis period.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the targeted and tailored help would ensure firms in some of the most dynamic sectors of the UK economy, ranging from tech to life sciences, are protected through the crisis so they can continue to develop innovative new products and help power UK growth.

The package includes a new £500m loan scheme for high-growth firms, called the Future Fund. Half of this fund (£250m) will be in the form of government-backed loans, with the remaining amount expected to come from private investment.

Delivered in partnership with the British Business Bank and launching in May, the fund will provide UK-based companies with between £125,000 and £5m from the government, with private investors at least matching the government commitment. These loans will automatically convert into equity on the company’s next qualifying funding round, or at the end of the loan if they are not repaid.

To be eligible, a business must be an unlisted UK registered company that has previously raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third party investors in the last five years.

The government is committing an initial £250m in funding towards the scheme, which will initially be open until the end of September. The scale of the fund will be kept under review.

Further details on eligibility criteria and fund operation will be published in due course.