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Start-ups offered £5,000 ‘Innovation Vouchers’ to collaborate with universities

The government will gift start-ups across the country with a £5,000 ‘Innovation Voucher’ from the end of the month. The vouchers, which will be managed by the Technology Strategy Board, will enable small business owners to access the advice and expertise of universities, research organisations and other private sector knowledge suppliers by using the voucher to help pay for their services. Available from 24 September, the vouchers are designed to help entrepreneurs and innovators access valuable information, such as how to manage their intellectual property and use design to improve ideas. It is also hoped they will assist in developing new ideas for products, processes and services, or improve existing ones. The government-funded vouchers will initially be made available to start-ups that are working on ideas relevant to the agrifood and built environment sectors, with a view to extending the scheme to other sectors in the future. A number of vouchers valued at up to £8,000 will also be available to small businesses innovating in the space sector, in association with the International Space Innovation Centre. The unveiling of the Innovation Vouchers scheme is the second breakthrough by the UK’s innovation agency this week, after the Technology Strategy Board also launched a new small grants programme with Cisco, through which it will provide entrepreneurs with funding to develop their own location-based apps. For more information on the Innovation Vouchers scheme, or to apply, visit the Technology Strategy Board’s website

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