Innovation Vouchers are distributed through a scheme managed by Aston University, in partnership with Birmingham City University.
Part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it allows small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greater Birmingham and Solihull to:
- Apply for financial support, an Innovation Voucher, worth £2,500 to access external expertise with a knowledge base organisations (research institutes) to support an innovation project.
- Access free support in the form of workshops so that participating companies become more competitive and manage growth effectively.
- Complete Application and gain Quotes
- Submit to Aston for Approval
- Once approved, you can get on with your project (1-3months),
- Submit Evidence to Aston
- Payment from Aston to you.
Businesses that meet the following criteria can apply:
- Located in one of the target LEP areas
- Have received less than Euros 200,000 de minimis state aid in the last three years;
- Meet the European Union definition of a small and medium sized enterprise i.e. employ less than 250 full time staff (or equivalent), have an annual turnover of no more than 50 million euros and/or annual balance sheet no more than 43 million euros;
- Able to contribute a minimum of £2,500 to match fund the grant;
- Meet the eligibility guidelines for use of the Innovation Voucher;
Suitable Business Types
- Start-ups of all sizes, whether or not VAT registered
- Self-employed & sole traders
- Partnerships/limited liability partnerships
- Companies (private or public limited companies; private unlimited companies)
- Independent spin-outs from established businesses, universities and other research and development organisations;
- Not for profit companies, co-operatives, community enterprises, social enterprises
- Farm enterprises
- New to the region branches of businesses which remain established elsewhere in the UK (i.e. expansions)
- Foreign direct investment (FDI) bringing new enterprises to the region;
- Time investment and subsequent expansions
Companies from certain sectors (and those associated with these sectors) will be given priority access to the grants (see table below), however, applications from companies not included in these groups that have good innovation ideas will also be considered.
- Wyre Forest (based upon Kidderminster)
- Advanced Manufacturing including Automotive and Aerospace
- Low Carbon
- Digital and Creative
- Life Science