Topic of the practice
The Innovation Voucher scheme is designed to encourage Northwest businesses, entrepreneurs and social enterprises to proactively engage with the region’s knowledge base, including colleges and universities through buying specialist expertise.
Good Practice Information
The voucher scheme provides a reduced cost, easy access route to the kind of specialist research and technical resources that SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) have traditionally struggled to take advantage of. Vouchers worth up to either £3,000 (100% funded) or £7,000 (70% funded) are redeemed against the cots of practical advice and expertise on specific projects. The scheme makes it easier for businesses to tap in to the region’s knowledge base, delivering business benefit by:
• Gaining easier access to the wealth of knowledge from the region’s knowledge providers
• Resolving business issues quickly, efficiently and through a source not previously us
Innovation Vouchers are designed to help North West businesses owners, entrepreneurs and social enterprises to purchase a knowledge provider's expertise to develop innovation and enhance business. The project was designed to develop higher added value activity through innovation and support in developing key internationally competitive sectors. The project addresses barriers to innovation in SMEs related to both risk aversion and information asymmetries.
Evidence of success
• The first 500 vouchers will generate a projected £6.3m in current and future impact on GVA (Gross value added), and a projected 97 FTE (full-time equivalent) employees. Taking into account persistence of benefits over a 3 year period, indicatively the first 3 rounds of the project may have an ROI (return on investment) of 9.75:1
• 21% of companies have already developed a new product as a result of their project
• Relatively few companies have to date experienced a current positive impact in terms of employment (2.6% of respondents) or turnover (8.9% of respondents) as there may be some time lag until these are observable
• The median increase in turnover projected among respondents was 25% and rises to 50% among companies with 9 or fewer employees.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Professor Carl Abbott
University of Salford
Annex completed on: 08-31-2011