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FAQs

Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers

Frequently Asked Questions

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Available Voucher Types

  1. Standard Voucher: Standard €5k vouchers are available to assist a company explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider. You can only apply for one of these standard €5,000 vouchers during one of our open calls. You do not need to identify your knowledge provider in advance and they are valid for 12 months from the date of issue. Please consult our schedule of calls when submitting your application.
  2. Co-funded Fast Track Application: The value of the voucher is €5,000 and the company contributes 50% of the project costs in cash. Therefore, a company may use a Fast Track voucher to cover project costs up to €10,000 on a 50-50 co-funded basis. The company and the knowledge provider jointly agree on the work programme for the project in advance of submitting an application. Companies may wish to use this option when they are no longer eligible for a standard voucher (may have used two or more standard vouchers) or where time to market is critical and the schedule for the standard call is not suitable. This voucher can be submitted at any time and a response may be expected within two weeks.

Am I eligible?

The Innovation Vouchers initiative is open to all small (limited registered) companies (less than 50 employees) in Ireland.

Please note that you do not have to be a client of Enterprise Ireland, nor have an Enterprise Ireland Development Adviser to apply for a voucher.


How do I apply?

All voucher applications must be made via the Enterprise Ireland Online Application System. Nonetheless we, at NCI, will be delighted to assist you during the whole process.


Permitted uses for a Voucher

Innovation vouchers can be used for any kind of innovation such as:

  • new product / process development
  • new business model development
  • new service delivery and customer interface
  • new service development
  • tailored training in innovation management
  • innovation / technology audit

Vouchers can be exchanged for knowledge transfer projects from the knowledge provider.

For the purposes of this initiative, a knowledge transfer project is defined as one that transfers knowledge of a scientific, technological or innovative nature that it is new to the small enterprise. The small enterprise may then use the new knowledge to innovate a product, process or service.


Ineligible Activities

The Innovation Voucher may not be used to cover the costs of:

  • achieving compliance with statutory regulations or legislation
  • standard training courses
  • software purchases and software development
  • aid that would promote/subsidise the cost of exports
  • internships for students of knowledge institutions
  • design and production of advertising material
  • sales activities
  • business plans and economic appraisals
  • standard website development and online optimisation
  • standard mobile applications development
  • activities such as market research and market surveys that may be readily provided by the private sector
  • activities supported by the mainstream funding mechanisms available from other Development Agencies such as the County Enterprise Boards
  • activities unlikely to result in commercial enterprise or business capable of generating jobs and/or exports
  • advice or assistance with the following areas
  • Legal
  • Commercial law
  • Patents
  • Taxation
  • Training and mentoring

If potential solutions to the knowledge question already exist in the marketplace, then Enterprise Ireland is likely to reject the application on the basis that the proposed activity may be undertaken by the private sector


Eligibility Criteria & Conditions of Use

Companies may make use of a maximum of three vouchers, one of which must be a 50-50 co-funded Fast Track voucher.

Small companies that have been approved in excess of €300,000 funding from Enterprise Ireland in the previous 5 years are not eligible to apply for an innovation voucher.

A company may have one ‘active’ voucher at any point in time. Companies should ensure that the voucher has been redeemed by the knowledge provider before applying for a subsequent voucher.

Companies will not be eligible for further vouchers until their accounts with the knowledge providers are settled in full (including the payment of VAT).

Please note that the innovation vouchers are exclusive of VAT. You will be charged VAT by the knowledge provider and this cost must be settled separately by the company.


Exclusions

Small enterprises in the agricultural sector are excluded in line with State aid guidelines.

Companies with charitable status, commercial semi-state companies, “not for profit” organisations, trade associations, company representation bodies such as Chambers of Commerce, Sports Clubs and other non-commercial bodies or associations are not eligible to participate in the innovation voucher initiative.


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