Innovation Vouchers launched in north-east

A £2.4 million scheme will encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the north-east to work more closely with academic and engineering institutions.

Made available today, the Innovation Vouchers project will allow small firms to purchase the services from academic bodies to boost their efficiency and competitiveness.

Each voucher will be worth at least £3,000, with the ceiling set at £7,000, and will be redeemable at the region’s universities, centres of excellence and Innovation Connector projects, such as Newcastle Science City and the Digital City in Teesside.

Alastair MacColl, chief executive of Business & Enterprise North East, which delivers the Business Link service in the area, says increasing innovation in the region will promote its long-term success.

He adds: ‘The new Innovation Vouchers represent an outstanding example of how this region is helping SMEs and knowledge-based institutions to work together, providing the catalyst for the development of viable new products and services.’

Yesterday, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform unveiled a simplified framework for support, cutting down more than 3,000 schemes into 30 starting points.

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