Is there a geographical restriction on funding?

Yes, businesses are only eligible for funding if they have a registered or trading address in one of the following local authority areas:

  • Birmingham
  • Solihull
  • Redditch
  • Wyre Forest (Based upon Kidderminster)
  • Bromsgrove

What is an Innovation Voucher?

An Innovation Voucher can be up to £2,500 of part-funding offered to eligible companies by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to spend on business innovation and growth activities. They are distributed through an Innovation Voucher scheme managed Aston University, in partnership with Birmingham City University.

Innovation Vouchers are ERDF grants of £1,500 or £2,500, which are available for SMEs with registered or trading addresses in Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Bromsgrove, or Wyre Forest (Kidderminster)

The grants can be used to fund external expertise such as consultants or developers to support them in creating new products, new services, or new internal processes.

Grants are £1 for £1 match funded. So, if you are applying for an Innovation Voucher of £2,500 the minimum project cost must be £5,000 (ex. VAT if your business is VAT registered).

Applications must be for future projects (i.e. not have started yet) which are able to be completed within 3 months of having an application approved.

When the project is complete and the supplier paid, evidence of this is submitted to the Innovation Vouchers team who will organise the payment of your Innovation Voucher as a reimbursement.

How to Apply?

To apply for an Innovation Voucher we require the following documents from yourself.

  1. Completed Innovation Vouchers application form (attached)
  2. Procurement (3 quotes from different suppliers for the same work)

If you would like to check whether your idea is eligible ahead of collecting quotations – let us know your project idea via email at innovation-vouchers@aston.ac.uk


How do Innovation Vouchers work?

The aim of an Innovation Voucher is to help your company develop new systems and processes to improve your business growth efficiency and drive the innovation needed to bring new products and services to market.

Innovation Vouchers enables you to:

Fund collaborations with external expertise within knowledge base organisations (research institutes) to deliver on your innovation and business growth project objectives, as well as access external expertise such consultants and developers.

Access free support in the form of Innovation Workshops to make your company more competitive and able to manage business innovation and growth more effectively.

Innovation Vouchers are available on a strict first come first served basis.

What is the value of an Innovation Voucher?

Innovation Vouchers are ERDF grants of £1,500 or £2,500. These must be £1 for £1 match funded by the applicant, so for a grant of £2,500 your project cost must be a minimum of £5,000 (ex. VAT if your business is VAT registered).

What is my financial commitment?

Innovation Vouchers are £1 for £1 match funded by the applicant.

To receive this funding you will need to match the value of the Innovation Voucher, with a £1 contribution for every £1 received in the voucher. With the typical value of a voucher being £2,500, you would need to contribute £2,500, creating a total business innovation fund of a minimum £5,000 (ex. VAT if your business is VAT registered).

If the SME is VAT registered, the project value should amount to at least £5000 excluding VAT.

If your business is not VAT registered then the project value should amount to at least £5000 including VAT.

Please note, that projects can exceed a total value of £5,000, however the match-funded component provided by the voucher will not exceed £2,500.

How do I get an Innovation Voucher?

To apply for an Innovation Voucher you will need to submit the following to us at innovation-vouchers@aston.ac.uk

  • Innovation Vouchers application form inc. procurement section
  • Procurement (three quotations from different suppliers for the same work)

For more information in relation to the Innovation Voucher Scheme, please send an Email to: innovation-vouchers@aston.ac.uk
or Telephone: 0121 204 4321

Can my business apply for more than one Innovation Voucher?

Each business is eligible to receive one voucher only per phase of the programme.

The current phase of Innovation Vouchers (Phase 3) is from July 2019 – January 2022, if you have received a voucher in a previous phase (2013-2019), you are eligible to receive another voucher.

When will the voucher be paid to me?

The Innovation Voucher will endeavour to be paid within 30 days of the completion of your project. However, with the current Covid-19 outbreak it may be longer – so we ask for your understanding on the current situation.

Payment can only be made once evidence of the work has been provided and full payment has been made to the supplier.

To apply for an innovation voucher please fill out the contact form

How much time should I plan to complete our project?

It is expected that each of the projects the project supports should last no longer than 1-3 months.

Is there a deadline to apply for the Innovation Voucher?

The deadline for submitting Innovation Voucher applications is January 2022.

Innovation Vouchers are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis and so may be allocated ahead of this date.

Would my project idea be eligible for an Innovation Voucher?

A list of eligible activities and business can be found on Eligible Activities, if you need to speak to an advisor to discuss your project – please contact the Innovation Vouchers team at Aston University.

Is my business eligible for this Grant Funding?

Most business sectors are eligible. Unfortunately, we can’t accept Innovation Voucher Applications from businesses that are part of the following sectors;

  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning supply
  • Financial, insurance & investment activities
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Manufacturing of basic iron, steel & ferrous alloys
  • Mining & quarrying
  • Public administration & defence; compulsory social security
  • Real estate activities
  • Water supply, sewerage, waste management & remediation activities
  • Wholesale & retail trade

How do the new GDPR regulations affect Innovation Vouchers?

As an ERDF project, The EU Common Provisions Regulations (CPR), and Article 6 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Regulation require the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), as the managing authority for the programme, to monitor and evaluate ERDF-funded activities. In order to conduct monitoring and evaluation (including the summative assessment) and to ensure compliance, the collection of personal data is required. Click to Read More