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.
- Complete Application and obtain 3 competitive quotes
- Submit to Aston University for Approval
- Once approved, the project can commence (to be completed within 1-3 months)
- Submit requested evidence to Aston University
- Payment from Aston University 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 priority sectors (and those associated with these sectors) will be given priority access to the grants (see table below).
- Wyre Forest (based upon Kidderminster)
- Advanced Manufacturing including Automotive and Aerospace
- Low Carbon
- Digital and Creative
- Life Science