Innovation Vouchers

We have put together some of the business success stories from Universities South West's Innovation Voucher programmes that have been running during 2012-15. The brochure can be viewed here

What is an Innovation Voucher?

An Innovation Voucher provides funding for your business to work with an external expert e.g. from a University, College or Public Sector Research Establishment bringing new knowledge to help your business innovate, develop and grow.

Universities South West delivers two voucher schemes, for more information please click on the below links.

  • European Regional Development Fund supported Innovation Vouchers - available if you are a start-up, micro, small and medium-sized business located anywhere in the South West England Competitiveness Area (not Cornwall). 
  • SW Peninsula City Deal supported Innovation Vouchers - available if you are a start-up, micro, small and medium-sized business located anywhere in the Peninsula City Deal Area (Devon, Somerset (excluding North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset) and Cornwall). 


What kinds of activities can be funded?

We are interested in any innovative approach to the specific challenge you identify. We can support most types of innovation – for example ideas for new or improved products, processes and services, or using design to improve your business.  The key issue you need to be clear on is that this should represent a real innovative challenge for your business, not just a small improvement or change to what you currently do.

Innovation Vouchers are there to help you obtain expert help from a knowledge provider you haven’t worked with before, not to help you buy equipment or training for your business.

Further information on what can be funded can be found here


Can funding from these two voucher schemes be combined?

Where companies meet the criteria for both schemes it may be possible to combine funds. Please contact us for more information. 


Are there other voucher schemes?

Yes there are. The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has brought together a list of other Innovation Voucher schemes currently available in the UK. The TSB itself operates an Innovation Voucher scheme nationally that targets specific sectors through quarterly application rounds. This scheme enables SMEs to obtain help from a range of expert suppliers including universities, further education colleges and ‘Public Sector Research Establishments’ (PSREs). TSB Innovation Vouchers are allocated following a draw from all applications and, if successful, the business will be awarded an innovation Voucher of up to £5,000 to work with an expert supplier of their choice.

TSB and USW have agreed that businesses that are eligible for both schemes may combine these resources to achieve greater impact. For more information on the TSB scheme please click here.



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