Is My Business Eligible?

Businesses that meet the following criteria can apply:

Main Eligility Criteria

  • Must have a registered or trading address in one of the target LEP areas; Birmingham, Solihull, Redditch, Bromsgrove, and Wyre Forest (based on Kidderminster);
  • Businesses in an eligible sector;
  • Have not received an Innovation Voucher in the current phase of the programme;
  • Have received less than €200,000 de minimis state aid in the last three years*;
  • Meet the European Union definition of a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) 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 (ex. VAT) to match fund the grant (based on an Innovation Voucher of £2,500 allocated to a company that is VAT registered). Note – the project costs cannot include bank or legal fees associated with paying the supplier;
  • Meet the eligibility activity guidelines for use of the Innovation Voucher (inc. having a project can be complete within 3 months of your application being approved)
 
*The support we plan to provide will comply with the State Aid rules using the de minimis exemption (in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 1407/2013, OJ L 352/1). Under this exemption a single undertaking may receive up to the limit of €200,000 of De Minimis aid from the Member State within which it does business and which provides the aid over any period of three fiscal years. As part of the Innovation Voucher application process you will be asked to complete the Statement of Previous Aid received under the De Minimis exemption and arrange for a director of your business to sign it. Using this information we will assess your eligibility to receive assistance.
 
The estimated value of De Minimis aid you will receive through the programme is €1,677.33 (for a grant of £1,500) or €2,795.54 (for a grant of £2,500) at the relevant exchange rate dated July 2019. An up-to-date figure may be supplied to successful applicants. It is your responsibility to ensure that the value of the aid you receive does not cause you to exceed the State Aid threshold.

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

 To be eligible geographically, a company must be registered or have a trading address in one of the below districts within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership ‘More Developed’ area.

You can see a map of these below

Districts:

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

Eligible Sectors

Companies from priority sectors (and those associated with these sectors) will be given priority access to the grants (see table below). This list is complied using the Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities Code (SIC) which will be listed on your business’ Companies House page. 

Priority Sectors:

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

 

Eligible Sectors:

  • Section C: Manufacturing (except SIC codes 24100: Manufacture of Basic Iron and Steel of Fore Alloys & 24200: Manufacture of tubes, pipes, hollow profiles and related fittings of steel) 
  • Section F: Construction 
  • Section H: Transportation & Storage 
  • Section I: Accommodation & Food Service Activities 
  • Section J: Information & Communication 
  • Section M: Professional, Scientific & Technical Activities 
  • Section N: Administrative & Support Service Activities 
  • Section R: Arts, Entertainment & Recreation 
  • Section S: Other Service Activities 
  • Section T: Activities of Households as Employers; Undifferentiated Goods – and Services – Producing Activities of Households of Own Use 
  • Section U: Activities of Extraterritorial Organisations & Bodies 
We are unable to fund businesses in the following sectors 

 

This list is complied using the Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities Code (SIC) which will be listed on your business’s Companies House page.

If your SIC code is not in an eligible sector, the Innovation Vouchers programme cannot provide support for you.

  •  Section A: Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing 
  • Section B: Mining & Quarrying 
  • Section D: Electricity, Gas Steam & Air Conditioning Supply
  • Section E: Water Supply, Sewerage, Waste Management & Remediation Activities 
  • Section G: Wholesale & Retail Trade; Repair of Motor Vehicles & Motorcycles 
  • Section K: Financial & Insurance Activities 
  • Section L: Real Estate Activities 
  • Section O: Public Administration & Defence; Compulsory Social Security 
  • Section P: Education 
  • Section Q: Human Health & Social Work Activities  
Have you had any project ideas which would benefit your business, but you would like help with the costs? 

Innovation Vouchers can support your business in accessing external expertise to develop new products, new services, or new internal processes *

Here are some projects we have recently approved: 

  • Bespoke software development 
  • Bespoke hardware development 
  • App Development (note – must have an innovative element) 
  • Marketing for the launch of a new product (note – the grant cannot pay for general business marketing) 
  • Creation of a bespoke online platform or portal (note – must have an innovative element and not be traditional web design) 
  • Development of a bespoke CRM system for internal use 
  • Consultation to prepare a business for ISO accreditation (note – the grant cannot pay for the ISO accreditation itself) 
  • Consultancy to enter new markets 
  • Prototyping for a new, physical product 
  • An initial product run of a new product designed by an applicant 
  • Consultancy to develop new marketing processes 
  • Consultancy to develop energy efficiency within a business 
  • Consultancy to develop new routes to market 
  • Consultancy to refine the concept of a new product 
 
* You are advised to contact the Innovation Vouchers team ahead of making an application to confirm whether your project is eligible.
To apply for an Innovation Voucher

  • Check the Eligible Project & Activities tab to see whether your business and project idea is by clicking HERE
  • See our web page on our application process where you can download an application form HERE
  • Send your complete Innovation Vouchers application form (download the form above) to innovation-vouchers@aston.ac.uk
  • Collect procurement (three quotations from different suppliers for the same work) and send these with your application form. Your procurement process must adhere to the rules in the ESIF National Procurement Requirements (ESIF-GN-1-001). You can find out more information HERE          
  • Your project must be complete within 3 months of having your application approved                  
  • Contact us for more information using our Contact Form

Geographically Eligible Areas (Map & Postcode Checker)

To check if any specific postcode is within an eligible area, please download our Excel postcode checker here:

Please ensure any postcodes entered onto the excel spreadsheet, do not include any spaces between the characters