Innovation Vouchers

About Us

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 up to £2,500 to access external expertise with a knowledge base organisations (research institutes) to support an innovation project.Please note if the SME is VAT registered, the project value should amount to at least £5000 excluding VAT. If the SME is not VAT registered then the project value should amount to at least £5000 including VAT.
  • Access free support in the form of workshops so that participating companies become more competitive and manage growth effectively.
  1. Complete Application and obtain 3 competitive quotes
  2. Submit to Aston University for Approval
  3. Once approved, the project can commence (to be completed within 1-3 months)
  4. Submit requested evidence to Aston University
  5. Payment from Aston University to you.

Eligibility

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

Eligible Sectors

Companies from priority sectors (and those associated with these sectors) will be given priority access to the grants (see table below).

Districts:

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

Priority Sectors:

  • Advanced Manufacturing including Automotive and Aerospace
  • Low Carbon
  • ICT
  • Digital and Creative
  • Life Science