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Public funding for ProjectPay’s payments solution

ProjectPay, a new construction project payment platform, has received public funding to provide small businesses and contractors with easy access to affordable working capital, addressing a critical gap in existing financial products.

ProjectPay provides payment protection for construction industry projects, securing funds and guaranteeing prompt payment for contractors across the building supply chain. The business has been awarded over £700,000 in grants by Innovate UK to scale up its offering.

The patented ProjectPay platform, which is backed by Lloyds Bank, aims to address endemic issues within the industry by targeting cash flow shortages, a primary cause of delayed payments in the construction sector, and mitigating payment default risks for small businesses and debt providers.

The London-based business was founded by Louise Stewart, former chairwoman of an Australian Sub-Contractors Association, whose husband lost his subcontracting business after five builders went out of business without paying him. In 2019, she stood as an independent election candidate in Australia to campaign for statutory protection for payments on building projects.

She moved to the UK from Australia, supported by the UK Government’s Global Entrepreneur program, and the UK government is proving a more receptive supporter of the innovative digital payment platform, playing into the government’s sustainable economic recovery agenda and Construction Playbook strategy to bolster resilience for small businesses and contractors.

ProjectPay’s mission is to revolutionise the financial landscape of the construction sector,

providing fast and guaranteed payments, eliminating the need for contractors to waste time chasing late payments. The company’s solution, based on embedded payments, will prevent big contractors using payments that belong to subcontractors as free working capital, instead of passing on those payments. It removes payment default risks from the construction industry, making it more attractive to banks, lenders and investors.

Louise Stewart, Founder of ProjectPay, said: “ProjectPay provides the first fully digital solution to revolutionise payment security in the construction industry. Our patented platform technology introduces end-to-end encryption, automated compliance checks and seamless integrations with major banks to prevent the endemic issues of payment delays and builder insolvencies which have plagued subcontractors for too long.

We are delighted to have received UK government support in order to scale our business. This marks a pivotal moment for us, addressing the final piece of the puzzle in transforming construction sector payments, directly addressing resistance from big contractors to adopt new payment flows. We want to provide financial sustainability to contractors and small businesses in the sector, fostering financial inclusion, easy access to low-cost capital, and fairer payments for those not served by mainstream financial institutions.”

Supporting the proposal, Innovate UK assessors said: “The proposal effectively addresses the unique challenges of the construction industry with an innovative digital payments solution, demonstrating a clear commitment to improving financial services for underserved SMEs in this sector. Additionally, the post-project plan and collaborations with major banks make it a strong candidate for further UK government funding consideration, providing significant value to taxpayers regarding its wide variety of benefits and socio-economic impacts”.

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