Find support for inventors

Support for developing your ideas


If you're considering setting up a business to manufacture, market and sell your new invention, or looking at ways of licensing it, a range of sources can help you:

  • assess the commercial viability of your idea
  • draw up a business plan
  • find possible sources of funding

For best practice guidance on new product development, see how to research and develop ideas, new products and services.

Start-up support

If you're starting a new business, you can access free start-up business support from your local council. Contact them to get one-to-one advice from a business advisor and tailored guidance to develop your business plan.

Your local chamber of commerce should also be able to advise you about starting up. Find your local chamber of commerce in Northern Ireland.

Research and development (R&D) support

Any new invention with commercial potential will require a significant amount of R&D activities to ensure that the idea:

  • is feasible
  • is commercially viable
  • can meet market expectations

Eligible businesses in Northern Ireland can get grant support from Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) towards the cost of R&D.

As well as the grant, you can also avail of regular R&D workshops and clinics where you can speak to innovation advisers about your specific R&D needs. Find out more about what's available through Invest NI's R&D support.

Innovation support

InterTradeIreland has a number of support structures in place for business innovation and growth, including their All-Island Innovation Programme, Fusion Programme, Horizon support and others. Find out how InterTradeIreland support innovation in business.

Businesses in Northern Ireland can also apply to the Innovation Accreditation Programme to receive help with, and recognition for, innovating. Simply complete the Innovate NI's online self-assessment questionnaire to join.

If you're working on an innovative idea for a new or improved product, process or service, you may also be eligible to apply for Invest NI's Innovation Voucher. The voucher is worth up to £5000 and can be used to help you pay for specialist knowledge. Read more about Invest NI's Innovation Vouchers.

Watch the animation below to see how Invest Northern Ireland can help you develop new products and services.