North East firms are being urged to capitalise on Government-backed financial support to drive innovative ideas.
The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s North East Innovation Board has highlighted the availability of innovation voucher scheme.
Micro businesses and SMEs can claim up to £5,000 from the scheme to be used towards the cost of advice from experts at universities, further education colleges and research and technology organisations.
It is led by InnovateUK, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills-sponsored body formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board.
A representative from InnovateUK sits on the newly-formed innovation board which is tasked with driving innovation in the region.
Prof Roy Sandbach, chair of the North East Innovation Board, said: “While big flagship innovation hub projects, like those announced for Newcastle University and CPI last week, are important, we really want to find creative ways to support smaller innovation-centric businesses as they grow and deliver more and better jobs.
“Through this voucher scheme, small and medium-sized businesses can focus their innovation work and add momentum to their growth plans.”
Around 100 vouchers will be awarded nationally every three months and the next round will be allocated in January 2015.
To find out if your business is eligible and to apply for the vouchers, people can visit vouchers.innovateuk.org.
Businesses with any further questions can contact the North East LEP on 0191 222 3180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North East LEP’s innovation board was recently unveiled with the aim of making the region a national leader in using innovation to propel economic growth.
The is chaired by Prof Sandbach, with the private sector is represented by Dr Alan Lowdon, Neil Hemming and Dr Peter Simpson, the Newcastle, Sunderland, Northumbria and Durham universities also have representatives.
LEP board members Gillian Hall and Arnab Basu are also on the body, along with North Tyneside mayor Norma Redfearn and South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm.