Accessing key data and the right knowledge bases can be essential for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Regardless of the extent of an entrepreneur’s understanding of their sector, there will always be some gaps in their expertise and this can be hard to bridge. Start-ups in particular might not have access to the funds required to hire permanent expertise or pay a consultant. Which is why the latest scheme from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is such welcome news.
Rather than small enterprises having to bare the costs of consultation alone, the TSB’s ‘Innovation Vouchers’ allow SMEs to access government funding to work directly with knowledge holders, whether they be universities, research organisations, technical consultancies, design advisers or authorities on intellectual property. The Innovation Voucher offers up to £5,000 to go towards securing external expertise for any project wanting to innovate in the agrifood and built environment sectors. Additionally a sister-scheme, offered in conjunction with the International Space Innovation Centre, provides access to funds of up to £8,000 for consultation in within the space sector.
Offering a chance to pair the enterprising spirit of the entrepreneur with the focused knowledge base of key academic organisations and consultancies, Innovation Vouchers present an excellent opportunity for driving British innovation forward. The scheme opens on September 24 and, if successful, may be rolled out to a much wider range of sectors. Applications can be made via the TSB’s website at the link below.