The Innovation Voucher initiative was developed for small businesses to purchase academic support and expertise from Ireland’s public knowledge providers. Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company to explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider.
The Innovation Vouchers initiative is open to all small and medium-sized limited companies registered in Ireland.
81% of applications are successful. The main reasons for non- success are non-eligibility of the applicant insufficient information, ineligible activity and low level of innovation. If unsuccessful you can reapply.
Small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector are excluded as are companies with charitable status and non-commercial bodies or associations.
Innovation Vouchers can be used for any kind of innovation such as:
- new product/process development
- new business model development
- new service delivery and customer interface
- new service development
- tailored training in innovation management
- innovation/technology audit
Vouchers can be exchanged for knowledge transfer projects from the knowledge provider that are defined as one that transfers knowledge of a scientific, technological or innovative nature that it is new to the small enterprise which may then innovate a product, process or service.
The Innovation Voucher may not be used to cover the costs of:
- achieving compliance with statutory regulations or legislation
- standard training courses
- software purchases and software development
- aid that would promote/subsidise the cost of exports
- internships for students of knowledge institutions
- design and production of advertising material and branding
- sales activities
- business plans, business strategies, economic appraisals, costs analysis, general business consultancy
- standard website development and online optimisation
- standard mobile applications development
- activities such as market research and market surveys provided by the private sector
- activities supported by the mainstream funding mechanisms available from other Development Agencies such as Local Enterprise Offices
- activities unlikely to result in commercial enterprise or business capable of generating jobs and/or exports
- legal advice or assistance with commercial law, patents and taxation
- training and mentoring
- marketing activities, marketing plans and strategies
Small and medium-sized companies may make use of a maximum of three vouchers, one of which must be a 50-50 co-funded Fast Track voucher.
A company may have one ‘active’ voucher at any point in time. Companies should ensure that the voucher has been redeemed by the knowledge provider before applying for a subsequent voucher. Companies will not be eligible for further vouchers until their accounts with the knowledge providers are settled in full including the payment of VAT.
All vouchers are valid for 12 months.
Companies that have been approved in excess of €300,000 funding from Enterprise Ireland in the previous 5 years are not eligible to apply for a Standard Voucher but are eligible to apply for a Co-Funded Voucher provided they satisfy all other eligibility criteria.
Innovation Vouchers are exclusive of VAT. You will be charged VAT by the knowledge provider and this cost must be paid by the company but it can be reclaimed through the normal VAT procedures.
- Standard Vouchers
Fully funded standard vouchers are available to assist a company explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider. You can only apply for one of these vouchers during one of the pre-scheduled open calls with Enterprise Ireland which are held three times a year. You do not need to identify your knowledge provider in advance. The review process takes four weeks.
- Co-Funded Fast Track Vouchers
The value of this voucher is €5,000 and the company contributes 50% of the project costs in cash. Therefore, a company may use a Fast Track voucher to cover project costs up to €10,000 on a 50-50 co-funded basis. The company and the knowledge provider jointly agree on the work programme for the project in advance of submitting an application. This voucher application can be submitted at any time and the review process takes four weeks.