What could a £5,000 Innovation Voucher do for your business?

This will allow businesses or potential entrepreneurs to work with a public sector knowledge provider e.g. University, College or Institute of Technology (NI and ROI) on an innovation project.

Typical projects we support include:

  • Helping to create or improve products, services or processes
  • Access to specialist expertise in new materials.
  • Tapping into research and scientific expertise

As this is the first call of a new five-year Innovation Vouchers Programme it effectively starts with a ‘clean slate’ so all applicants start afresh and can avail of three vouchers in the next five-year period (one voucher at a time). The first voucher is funded at 100% of the project cost to max £5000 and customers pay the VAT.

**Please note that some Knowledge Providers may be limited in what they can currently deliver given that they are remote working  and may not have access to all facilities and equipment.**

Applications must be submitted through our online application form.

If you require an application in an alternative format (including Braille audio disc, large print or in minority languages to meet the needs of those whose first language is not English) then please contact us on 0800 181 4422 and ask to speak with the Invest NI Equality Team.

Is your business eligible?

Complete this questionnaire to find out if you can apply

Deadline for completed applications is 3pm on Friday 25 September.

Innovation Vouchers are available to early stage and pre-trading entities as well as to established companies

1/5) Are you a Northern Ireland based small enterprise or medium enterprise?
Innovation Vouchers are open to Northern Ireland based small and medium sized enterprises, social enterprises and third sector organisations. This includes sole traders, partnerships, limited companies, new start-ups and those businesses at pre-trading stage.

Small - a business, or if part of a group, a group of companies in which the total number of full-time employees in the company, or the entire group, is less than 50 and has either an annual turnover and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding €10m. 

Medium - a business, or if part of a group, a group of companies in which the total number of full-time employees in the company, or the entire group, is between 50 and 250 and has either an annual turnover not exceeding €50m or balance sheet total not exceeding €43m.
2/5) Is your business involved in the transport or primary agriculture sectors?
3/5) If you are a medium-sized business, have you received any grant for R&D support from Invest NI in the past 5 years?(If you are a small business (less than 50 employees) then please answer 'No' to this question.)
4/5) Are you willing to pay the VAT element applicable to the voucher and any project costs in excess of the voucher value?
5/5) Is Invest NI assistance essential to enable the project to proceed?

Sorry, from your answers you don't appear to be eligible to apply for an Innovation Voucher.

The following rules apply to Innovation Vouchers:

  • The Innovation Vouchers scheme is only open to NI based SMEs.
  • Businesses in the transport and primary agricultural sectors are excluded in line with State Aid Guidelines.
  • Medium sized businesses in receipt of any Grant for R&D support from Invest NI in the past 5 years are not eligible to apply for an innovation voucher.
  • To apply for an innovation voucher, you must confirm that you are willing to pay the VAT element applicable to the voucher and any project costs in excess of the voucher value.
  • If you are able to proceed with the proposed innovation project (on both the same scale and in the same timeframe) without an innovation voucher then support from this programme is not required.

If you have answered a question incorrectly and wish to try again, please refresh the page.

If you are ineligible for Innovation Voucher support and wish to discuss alternative support options please contact us on 0800 181 4422.