£3.75m Innovation Voucher scheme launched to support South West businesses

Wiltshire College are pleased to be a part of a new collaborative partnership with universities and colleges that will provide real help for South West businesses.

Small to medium sized companies (SMEs) across the South West can now get support to access the expertise within universities, colleges and public research establishments to innovate and grow.

Under an exciting new European Regional Development Fund ERDF scheme launched this month, businesses can use subsidised vouchers to purchase academic support and research support from a partner of their choice; offering up to 40% support for projects with a total value ranging from £3,000 to £10,000.

“We are interested in any innovative approach to the specific challenges SMEs identify” explains Innovation Voucher Project Manager Robin Bower. ‘We can support most types of innovation – for example ideas for new or improved products, processes and services, or using design to improve a business. The key issue businesses need to be clear on is that this should represent a real innovative challenge, not just a small improvement or change to what they currently do.”

Wiltshire College Assistant Principal John Adams said: “We are very pleased to be part of this project which allows businesses to access a huge pool of intellectual knowledge and capital infrastructure based within academic institutions across our region and offers financial support in doing this.

“Alongside our Engineering Innovation Network- South West project, also funded by the ERDF, this another great project that we are involved in to help support the growth of local businesses.”

The Innovation Voucher project is part financed by the Competitiveness European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The scheme is open for applications from 1 October 2012 to early in 2015.

For more information, to assess your eligibility and to apply, please visit Universities of of the South West or contact Sheena Awdry on 01249 466800.