Innovation Vouchers, IP Advice and Your Business

November 2014

Up to £5k funding for UK based start-up, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises to work with an external expert to gain the knowledge to innovate and grow is now available through the Innovation Voucher scheme.

What are Innovation Vouchers?

An Innovation Voucher gives your business up to £5,000 to work with an external expert for the first time.  It allows you to gain new knowledge to help your business innovate, develop and grow.  Intellectual property advisers can be engaged to show you how to use and make the most of intellectual property (IP) within your business.  The right advice on copyright, designs, trademarks and patents can help your business to develop.

Who can apply?

You are eligible for Innovation vouchers if:

  • you are a start-up, micro, small or medium-sized business located in the UK
  • it's the first time you have worked with your chosen knowledge supplier
  • you need specialist help to meet a business challenge
  • you have not previously had an Innovation Voucher from Innovate UK (previously the Technology Strategy Board)

How to apply?

Applying is straightforward.  The application process is online, through the Innovate UK website. You can apply at any time, with around 100 vouchers being awarded every three months – the current scheme closes on 21 January 2015. 

Once you have registered, you will need to answer a few short questions about your idea, the impact it could have on your business and the kind of supplier that you might consider working with.  The process will also ask about the size of your business and any public support you may have received in the last three years.   Applications for Innovation Vouchers will be entered into a random draw you will be informed online if you have been successful or not. 

You can then select a supplier of your choice – someone you have not worked with before – to obtain the knowledge your business needs to innovate.   You can spend more if you wish, but you will be reimbursed only up to £5,000 – and you must pay any VAT due.

How can HGF help?

IP now plays an important role in the global economy and all companies, no matter their size, should have a strategic plan to protect their IP.   HGF’s patent attorneys , trade mark attorneys and IP lawyers are able to provide strategic IP advice to your company;  with not just the technical and professional knowledge, but also the business acumen to be able to provide the best advice for your business.

Where can I find out more?

To find out more about the innovation voucher scheme and process visit https://interact.innovateuk.org/guidance-for-applicants

This update was prepared by Matt Dixon, Partner at our London Office. 
Tel: +44(0) 207 776 5100.

If you would like more information please contact Matt Dixon or your usual HGF representative or visit our Contact page to get in touch with your nearest HGF office.