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Ireland's First Innovation Voucher Enterprise Ireland Initiative for Small Companies Enters

17 July, 2007

Innovation Vouchers are an initiative recommended by the Small Business Forum to assist small business owners to reach the next level in the business venture. The objective of the initiative is to build links between Ireland's public knowledge providers and small businesses and create a cultural shift in the small business community's approach to innovation.

Pioneered in the Netherlands, Innovation Vouchers give small companies access to the vast knowledge available in Irish Institutes of Technology, Universities and other public research bodies. These vouchers worth €5,000 can be used by the average small Irish company to bring in knowledge that is new to the company.

Ireland is only the second country to introduce Innovation Vouchers as part of an effort to create a cultural shift in the small business community's approach to innovation. While small Irish companies continue to improve their productivity performance, few outside the high-tech sector spend more than €100,000 on R&D per annum. Innovation Vouchers will open doors to knowledge providers and give the financial support to start them on the innovation ladder.

Enterprise Ireland is managing the initiative and has allocated 200 vouchers worth €5,000 each in this initial pilot phase, applications for which closed on April 30th 2007. Small companies with a business opportunity or problem they want to explore can exchange the voucher for advice and expertise from knowledge providers.

During the second phase of the Enterprise Ireland managed initiative which runs from 2nd July to the 31st July 2007, small companies in receipt of a €5,000 Innovation Voucher can exchange it for advice and expertise from any one of the 21 participating knowledge providers, drawn mainly from Ireland's third-level institutions. Applications can be made through Enterprise Ireland's dedicated website http://www.innovationvouchers.ie/. In addition firms can pool vouchers allowing them to jointly purchase research from the institutions.

The types of companies who have the levels of expertise and resources to get involved initially will be indigenous and multinational companies that are already active R&D performers or are planning to significantly ramp up their R&D output. Many of them will already be household names operating in the biotechnology, IT, manufacturing and internationally traded services sectors.

For further information please contact:

Press Office, Enterprise Ireland - 01 8082000

Press Office, Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Employment - 01 631 2200

http://www.enterprise-ireland.com/innovationvouchers

For other open calls that may be of interest to DIT staff see: http://researchfunding.dit.ie/

Contact CorkBIC today to talk about starting your business and turn your ideas into reality! CorkBIC will supply you with a step by step guide on starting a business.

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