It's easy to apply for the Innovation Accreditation Programme. Simply complete the self-assessment to discover where you are on the Innovation Framework today.
That idea might be new technology or processes to cut costs or improve efficiency, improving existing products within your business to continue to grow, be competitive and stay ahead of your competition, or it might be a completely new business venture altogether.
Whatever it is, taking your idea and creating that all-important value requires you to carefully follow the key stages of the innovation journey, from idea through to selection, validation and commercialisation. But we know as an existing entrepreneur or a new start-up, you may need help in accessing the right expertise needed to overcome the many challenges you will face, especially in the early stages of your product or service development.
Getting the right help and advice at the right time of your innovation journey can be critical in ensuring you achieve innovation success and this is where Innovation Vouchers can help. The programme aims to help small and medium enterprises, social enterprises and third sector organisations engage with knowledge providers on innovation projects. The nature of this engagement lends itself more to the early stages of the innovation journey where the majority of support provided is in the form of technical or other written reports.
These reports can be vital in helping the innovator to resolve technical challenges or to validate a product concept. Innovation vouchers have also helped in the development of prototypes and in some cases have led to the development of a product ready for market. Overcoming technical challenges or seeking expert analysis in the early stages of product and service development can be vital in determining if continued investment should go into the further development of the idea.
The support provided by knowledge providers through the innovation voucher programme can be an important source of support in helping the entrepreneur to help make informed decisions about progressing their product or service to the next stage or to quickly kill the idea before further investment is made.
Open innovation, collaboration, mentoring and getting access to academics who are experts in their field are all important activities that can really increase the chances of innovation success.
Innovation Vouchers play an important role in improving innovation outcomes by opening the door to a wealth of expertise and knowledge from a University, College or Institute of Technology. Knowledge providers can support you in overcoming technical challenges or in proving out concepts associated with the development of your product and service.
An innovation voucher from Invest Northern Ireland is the perfect way to help support this important stage of the innovation process. Each voucher offers up to £5K support, allowing you to team up with a world-class university, further education college or Institute of Technology, and to work together on an agreed innovation project.
You can tap into their knowledge and experience, as well as make use of their state of the art facilities to carry out vital idea validation and start to turn your idea into something real. Hundreds of Northern Ireland Businesses have benefitted from an Innovation Voucher, helping them to enhance their product offering, scale up production, and even break into new export markets.
Now’s the time to explore new ways of improving your business, to help it grow, and aid your recovery from the impact of COVID-19.
If you run a small business, apply for an Invest NI Innovation Voucher.
The deadline for applications is Friday 1st October at 3pm.