What are Innovation Vouchers?
Whether you are just starting up or you own and run an established small or medium sized business, Innovation Vouchers have been designed to encourage firms to seek out new knowledge from outside their current networks.
The idea is that by using an Innovation voucher to pay for external experts, your business can innovate, develop and grow.
Expert assistance can include getting advice on an innovative idea you might have, managing and using intellectual property rights or incorporating design into your business.
The expert suppliers include:
- universities & colleges
- research & technology organisations
- intellectual property advisers
- design advisers
Businesses must bid for Innovation Vouchers and successful applicants will be awarded up to £5,000 to work with an expert of their choice.
The Criteria for Innovation Vouchers
In order to be eligible for Innovation Vouchers your business needs to meet the five key criteria:
- your business needs to be a startup, micro-business or small to medium-sized business, located within the United Kingdom
- you should be intending to work with your chosen supplier for the first time
- your business needs to be looking for specialist help because the idea that you require assistance with is a challenge to your business
- your idea should be applicable to one of the priority themes of:
- built environment
- energy, waste & water
- open data, innovators & inventors
- cyber security
(This is subject to change; the full list of current voucher themes can be found here)
- you should not have previously had an Innovation Voucher from the Technology Strategy Board.
Innovation Vouchers cannot be used to fund staff training or buy equipment.
How Innovation Vouchers Work
When you apply, provide the details of your business and answer the questions on why you want an Innovation Voucher and what you plan to do with it.
Every 3 months 100 applications are randomly selected and, if you are successful, choose your supplier. You will then have 6 months to use your Innovation voucher and claim the funding from the Technology Strategy Board; You will need to provide a short summary about how you have used your Innovation Voucher along with a supplier report and an invoice.
Visit vouchers.innovateuk.org to apply for your Innovation Voucher.