€5,000 voucher to explore a key problem or opportunity for your business
There are over 80 different government supports available to small businesses but many of them are not well known or understood. Each week in the SFA e-zine, we will profile a different support that could improve your business, giving you information and advice.
#2 Innovation Vouchers
A voucher for €5,000 to exchange for advice and expertise from a public research organisation (usually a university or institute of technology).
The vouchers can be used for:
- new product or process development
- new business model development
- new service delivery and customer interface
- new service development
- tailored training in innovation management
- innovation/technology audit
The Innovation Voucher scheme aims to help small firms to innovate by increasing the flow of knowledge between academia and business.
The idea is to explore a business opportunity or problem that requires research beyond the capacity of the company itself. Depending on the agreement made between the company and one of the registered knowledge providers, deliverables could include reports, drawings, technical specifications, technology roadmaps or rough product or process prototypes.
The scheme is run by Enterprise Ireland (but is not restricted to EI client companies). Standard applications are made through an online application system during an open call period (usually three per year). The next open call will run from 20 January to 3 February 2016. For more information visit www.innovationvouchers.ie
If you are interested in applying, don’t forget:
- The vouchers are available to small and medium sized limited companies registered in Ireland.
- Companies can avail of a maximum of three Innovation Vouchers, but only one can be active at any given time.
- 80% of applications are successful, with the main reasons for turning down an application being non-eligibility of applicant/activity, insufficient information or low level of innovation.
- There are 38 approved publicly-funded knowledge providers, including 10 in Northern Ireland. Companies do not have to approach a knowledge provider before applying for the voucher.
- The vouchers are subject to VAT and the company is responsible for the payment of the VAT. The company is also responsible for any costs above €5,000.
- Co-Funded Fast Track vouchers are available for companies who have already used two Innovation Vouchers or for whom the open call schedule is not suitable.