Innovation Voucher Pilot Programme - MIDAS

Innovation Voucher Pilot Programme

The Business Growth Hub and The University of Manchester have combined forces to offer financial support for Small to Medium sized innovative businesses (SMEs) looking to overcome technological or business challenges in the pursuit of new innovation.

What’s on offer?

Through a single competitive application process, funding from both The University of Manchester and the Business Growth Hub is available to help Small to Medium sized businesses with growth potential, including access to specialist expertise which may be holding back the development of a new product, service, or process.

Support for projects of up to £10,000 (Ex VAT) is available for eligible businesses.

Who is eligible?

Typically this will be for businesses not eligible or successful in accessing national support programmes available from Innovate UK.  This can also include businesses with projects where other schemes do not provide a suitable solution.

  • Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs)*
  • SME with it’s main registered office with a postcode in one of the 10 surrounding Local Authorities of Greater Manchester**
  • One application per SME
  • Some sectors are excluded***

*SME’s who have less than 250 employees, a turnover of less than €50 million, a balance sheet of less than €43 million), who are also less than 25% externally owned and own less than 25% of another business, where any of the businesses combined figures would exceed the limits above.

**SME must have a registered office with a postcode in either Bolton, Bury, Manchester City, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, or Wigan.

***Excluded sectors include, fishery, primary production agriculture, coal, steel, shipbuilding, synthetic fibre, banks & insurance, provision of education, provision of social welfare.

How does it work?

In collaboration with The University of Manchester, the Business Growth Hub are launching a competition to identify business with suitable projects that would benefit from our unique combined approach to support business growth.

Businesses will need to complete and submit an application form by the completion deadline shown.  If successful, suitable projects will receive support both from the completion team to identify expertise within the University of Manchester, which the University can support and help to access other forms of external support to exploit or prepare for a project. Some additional documentation will be required for this.

Once the resources are identified agreements with both organisations will be made available for the relevant elements of the project.

Note Businesses will need to be able to provide up to 50% of the costs of projects plus any VAT costs on the funding package.


The innovation voucher includes access to all The University of Manchester departments and a wide range of other specialist organisations.

What sort of projects can be supported?

Round 1 will give priority to projects within the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing sectors.

Typical innovation voucher projects might include;

  • Access to technical or technology specialists from the University
  • Access to specialist testing equipment or machinery
  • Market research
  • Data testing and analysis for new product development
  • Product, process or service design
  • Intellectual property
  • Prototyping
  • Market exploitation

How much will it cost?

The innovation voucher can be used to match fund projects up to a total value of £10,000 (Ex VAT).

The University of Manchester will provide 50% funding support up to £5,000 (Ex VAT) to be used within a department or faculty based within The University of Manchester, with the balance or match contribution being supplied by the eligible business.

The Business will be liable for the total VAT element of the project.

Additional funding may be available from the Business Growth Hub to support your innovation project, where other forms of expertise may be required to implement your project.

How do we apply?

Applications for Round 1 of the Innovation Voucher pilot programme will be open from Monday 26th January and close at 5pm on 27th February 2015.

To register your interest and to obtain an application form, please email the Innovation Growth team at the Business Growth Hub

Or call 0161 359 3050

Demand for the innovation vouchers is expected to be high, so businesses are advised to complete and return the completed form as soon as possible.

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