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.

R&D and proof of concept support

Any new invention with commercial potential will require a significant amount of research and development activities to ensure that the idea is feasible, commercially viable and can meet market expectations.

Invest NI can offer support to eligible businesses towards the cost of R&D. In addition to the R&D 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.

After researching your idea, you may need to prove that it has commercial potential. This is where Invest NI's proof of concept scheme can help. The scheme includes grants to individuals, start-up businesses, micro-enterprises and small or medium-sized businesses to help them fully develop and test their ideas. Read about Invest NI's proof of concept grants.

Innovation support

If you're working on an innovative idea for a new or improved product, process or service, you may 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.

InterTradeIreland has a number of support structures in place for business innovation and growth, including the Challenge Programme. Aimed at ambitious SMEs, the programme helps businesses to transform their prospects by learning and applying the most effective methods of generating and commercialising innovative ideas. 

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)

If you're looking to license or sell new technologies on a European level, or even just find partners to conduct further product or market research, EEN is a key contact. Find out more about the EEN in Northern Ireland.

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