Innovation Voucher


£5,000 funding to allow businesses or potential entrepreneurs to get expertise from a public sector knowledge provider, such as a university or college based in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland, for your innovation project.

Eligibility criteria:

Innovation Vouchers are open to Northern Ireland based SMEs, social enterprises and third sector organisations. This includes sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, new startups and pre-trading entities including individuals/potential entrepreneurs with a project that could be commercialised.

You can apply for an Innovation Voucher if:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Companies in the transport and primary agricultural sectors cannot apply for an Innovation Voucher in line with State Aid Guidelines.

Up to five businesses can apply separately and come together to ‘pool’ their Innovation Vouchers to solve a common issue.

Additional information:

Innovation is about doing things differently or doing different things to make your business better. An Innovation Voucher can help you take a creative approach to tackling specific business issues.

Typical projects we support include:

  • Expertise to help create or improve products, services, business models or processes
  • Access to specialist expertise in new materials
  • Tapping into research and scientific expertise

Activities that are not eligible include:

  • Business plans, market research and financial planning
  • Website and app related activity
  • Marketing and sales activity
  • Training courses
  • Working with a private sector provider

This list is not exhaustive.

Please note that this programme does not involve the payment of any funds directly to participating businesses.

Support organisation:
  • Invest Northern Ireland
0800 181 4422
Find out more:
Innovation Voucher
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