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Financial Support

Innovation Voucher scheme

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.

– See more at: http://www.usw.ac.uk/for-business/knowledge/innovation-vouchers#sthash.8lFvOx1d.dpuf

For more information, to assess your eligibility and to apply, please visit: http://www.usw.ac.uk/for-business/knowledge/innovation-vouchers or contact: 01392 241301

Angel Co Fund

The £50m Business Angel Co Investment Fund  (Angel CoFund) was launched in November 2011. The fund has been created with a grant from the Regional Growth Fund and invests alongside business angel syndicates from across England.

Enhanced Capital Allowances

Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) enable a business to claim 100% first-year capital allowances on their spending on qualifying plant and machinery.

HSBC Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme

HSBC is participating in the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF), a £2.4billion fund which will operate across England from 2011 to 2015. As a result, HSBC will receive £25million from the fund to support businesses that:

  • have a turnover of less than €50million; and
  • are recruiting new employees or are safeguarding existing jobs; and
  • are purchasing new fixed assets such as machinery and vehicles.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)

New Enterprise Allowance is available to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) claimants aged 18 and over who have been claiming for 26-weeks or more.

NatWest Regional Growth Fund Programme

RBS Group have been allocated £70m from the Regional Growth Fund to provide support between 2011 and 2014 to qualifying Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) located in England (excluding London and the South East).

Princes Trust - Enterprise Programme

The Enterprise programme helps young people interested in self-employment to explore and test their ideas, write plans and start their own businesses, or achieve alternative outcomes in education, training, volunteering or work.

Santander Breakthrough programme

The Santander Breakthrough programme is committed to providing up to £200 million in growth capital to a vital yet commonly underfunded UK business sector. Find out how Breakthrough Growth Capital aims to plug the funding gap.

South West Investment Group

South West Investment Group Limited has for over 20 years been providing risk capital to small and medium sized enterprises in the South West. It currently has almost £20m of risk capital invested or available in a variety of different funds to businesses throughout the South West.

Rural Development Programme for England

SW RDPE Delivery Team, Level 8, Renslade House, Bonhay Road, Exeter, Devon, EX4 3AW
Tel: 0300 060 0367
E-mail: rdpedeliverysouthwest@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment, providing practical advice, grounded in science, on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone.

Forestry Commission England is the government department responsible for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woodlands and increasing their value to society and the environment.

Innovation Vouchers  An Innovation Voucher provides funding so that your business can work with an external expert for the first time, gaining new knowledge to help your business innovate, develop and grow.

New Childcare Business Grant The new Childcare Business Grants Scheme has been introduced to boost the provision of childcare in England and to incentivise entrepreneurship. It will encourage and support the starting up of new childcare businesses by providing a flat rate start-up grant

New Enterprise Allowance Scheme  (not a grant but no repayments are required) New Enterprise Allowance can provide money and support to help you start your own business if you’re getting certain benefits. Contact Jobcentre Plus to apply or find out more.

Access-to-work  An Access to Work grant helps pay for practical support if you have a disability, health or mental health condition

Funding Central  search for grants, loans and contracts for 3rd sector organisations

Community Renewable Energy Grants The Naturesave Trust now provides start up ‘seed corn’ grants for community renewable energy projects, whatever type of renewable power generation you, as a community, are considering.

There is a national business finance and support finder available on the government’s national information website. Click here to go to the search tool.

There are lots of other sources of support available locally, such as free advice sessions, mentoring and various other schemes. You can either search our list of Training, Support and Events or view the Finance Support Schemes.