Innovation Vouchers

European Union

Aston University has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to work with companies to help them increase their competitiveness through innovation.            

A new Innovation Voucher scheme will allow small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the West Midlands to apply for a voucher worth £1,500 to help them access external expertise with a knowledge base organisation to support an innovation project. 

This voucher will need to be matched £1 for £1 by the SME so it will provide 50% the funding for a project up to £3,000 in value. The project can cost more than this but the maximum value of the Innovation Voucher is £1,500. 

Application form  

Application form as PDF document to download


  • Based in the West Midlands. 
  • Employ less than 250 people FTE.  
  • Turnover of less than Euros 50 million and/or a balance sheet no greater than Euros 43 million. 
  • Company must not have received more than Euros 200,000 of government aid from any source in the past 3 years. 
  • Is an autonomous enterprise not owned more than 25% by another enterprise or owns more than 25% of another enterprise.
  • Not a subsidiary of a company based outside of Europe.

Business Type

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; both first
  • Time investment and subsequent expansions

Eligible and ineligible activities for the Innovation Voucher

Eligible activities:

  • New product / process development
  • New business model development
  • Efficiency audit, process change
  • Supply chain management and logistics
  • New service delivery and customer interface
  • New service development
  • Product and service testing and economic impact assessment
  • Innovation / technology audit
  • Exploiting advanced web technologies for the region and/ or industry (this does not include standard web design, development or search optimisation)
  • Market research

Ineligible activities:

  • Achieving compliance with statutory regulations or legislation
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Standard training courses
  • Software purchases
  • Equipment purchases
  • Aid that would promote / subsidise the cost of exports
  • Internships for students of knowledge providers
  • Design and production of advertising materials
  • Sales and marketing activities -  this includes standard website design, development and search optimisation (the only exception would be the exploitation of new web technology for the region and/ or industry)
  • Advertising and promotional activities e.g. design of posters, leaflets etc.
  • Accreditations
  • Capital items
  • Travel costs
  • Continuation and existing projects with the knowledge providers
  • Legal advice


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