Businesses in Northern Ireland can no apply online for up to £5,000 worth of innovation vouchers. This will allow businesses or potential entrepreneurs to work with a public sector knowledge provider e.g. University, College or Institute of Technology (NI and ROI) on an innovation project.
As this is the first call of a new five-year Innovation Vouchers Programme it effectively starts with a ‘clean slate’ so all applicants start afresh and can avail of three vouchers in the next five-year period (one voucher at a time). The first voucher is funded at 100% of the project cost to max £5000 and customers pay the VAT.
Typical projects the scheme support include:
- Helping to create or improve products, services or processes
- Access to specialist expertise in new materials.
- Tapping into research and scientific expertise
- Exploring new technologies
- Exploring new business models
What the Scheme Does Not Support:
- Standard mobile apps.
- General sales activities.
- Standard business advice.
- General marketing activities.
- Buying training for your business.
- Buying equipment for your business.
- Business plans and economic appraisals.
- Website development and online optimisation.
- Internships for students from knowledge institutions.
- Software purchases and basic software development.
- Aid that would promote or subsidise the cost of exports.
- Achieving compliance with statutory regulations or legislation.
- Testing products that are not within the ownership of your business.
- Project costs incurred prior to the issue date of the Innovation Voucher.
- You are a small enterprise, social enterprise or third sector organisation with less than 50 employees and either an annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet not exceeding €10 million with the exception of those engaged in transport or primary agriculture. See here for a full definition of SME.
- You are a medium enterprise, social enterprise or third sector organisation with more than 50 employees but less than 250 employees, and either an annual turnover not exceeding €50 million or an annual balance sheet not exceeding €43 million. You must not have received assistance through Invest NI’s Grant for R&D programme in the past five years.
- There are a number of areas of activity that are excluded from voucher support e.g. buying equipment, standard training, website optimisation and standard app development
How to Apply:
Before you can access the Innovation Voucher application form, you will need to answer a few preliminary questions to check that you are eligible to apply. If you meet the criteria, you will be invited to register on Invest NI’s MYINI portal, where you can access, update or submit your application form.
The submission deadline for Innovation Voucher applications is 3pm on Friday 25th Setpember 2020.
We recommend you submit your application well before the closing deadline as late forms will not be accepted.
Following the submission deadline, your application will be reviewed by the Assessment Panel. We aim to notify you of the Panel’s decision within four weeks of the closing date of the call. Decisions will also be available on your MYINI account.
If you are successful, your innovation voucher will be e-mailed to you. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the decision by e-mail.