Enterprise Ireland innovation funding: which support is right for you?
Ireland is a nation of proud innovators, we value and understand the importance of innovation for our company’s success. It is the core of our SME sector, a key deterrent against times of trouble and a valuable asset to developing and sustaining successful business growth.
There is no doubting the positive impact innovation has on the success of a company. With that in mind, Enterprise Ireland provides a range of innovation funding supports to assist Irish business with innovative ideas and problem-solving.
Each support is uniquely created to offer the most practical approach for industry. Supports are available for all types of business from SMEs right through to multinationals and understanding each support is the first step to taking your company to the next level.
Enterprise Ireland Innovation Vouchers
The starting point in funding for many Irish SMEs is the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher. In this age of advancing technologies, SMEs can often feel at a disadvantage when it comes to innovation. Everything from finance worries, people management, time pressures, to lack of available technology are all real concerns when thinking about embarking on an innovation project. The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher provides SMEs with the support and funding they require to start their journey.
Developed to build links between Ireland’s public knowledge providers (i.e. higher education institutes, public research bodies) and small Irish businesses, Innovation Vouchers worth €5,000 are available to assist a company or companies to explore a business opportunity or problem with a registered knowledge provider.
Qualifying companies are: small and medium-sized limited companies registered with the CRO in Ireland. You do not have to be a client of Enterprise Ireland to apply.
Innovation Vouchers are for: advice and expertise from knowledge providers such as the Technology Gateway network. There are some eligibility criteria, so it’s worth having a chat with the Technology Gateway team before applying. They will guide you in the right direction and help you with the application process. A maximum of four vouchers are now available, one of which must be a 50-50 co-funded Fast Track voucher. Innovation Vouchers are exclusive of VAT, so you will be responsible for the VAT portion of the final cost.
Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme – Project Feasibility Study
The Project Feasibility Study is not a standalone, discrete piece of research. It is intended to provide a ‘stepping stone’ to enable researchers and third-level institutions to become involved in full Innovation Partnership projects with industrial partners. An open call programme operates, with monthly approvals. The maximum grant awarded is €9,000.
Qualifying companies are: manufacturing, processing and internationally traded service companies, with an operating base in the Irish Republic, collaborating with eligible third-level institutions. Multi-partner consortiums are welcome.
Project Feasibility Study can be used for: projects in science and engineering disciplines including environmental sciences, energy efficient technologies, construction technologies, as well as internationally traded service industries. The focus should be on a new product or process and/or services development. Project duration is limited to no more than six calendar months from the agreed start date.
Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Programme
The Innovation Partnership Programme encourages companies to work with research institutes resulting in mutually beneficial co-operation and interaction.
Qualifying companies are: manufacturing or internationally traded services company with an operating base in the Republic of Ireland, collaborating with one or more research institutes, also based in the Republic of Ireland. The company must be a registered client of one of the following state development agencies: Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Údarás na Gaeltachta, Local Enterprise Offices.
The Innovation Partnership Programme is for: developing new and improved products, processes, services, and generate new knowledge and know-how. Grants are up to 80% towards eligible costs of the research project. All Innovation Partnership projects require the company partner to provide a minimum cash contribution of 20% of the total project cost. In all cases, the company partner must have the resources to contribute its share of the funding for the research and to fund the commercialisation of the research, when completed.
Funding from Enterprise Ireland will normally not exceed €200,000.
Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund
The new Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation fund allows Irish companies to respond quickly to new opportunities and threats such as Brexit, allowing for faster development of products, services and processes for new and existing markets. The Fund allows eligible companies to access up to 50% in support for innovation projects, with a total cost of up to €300,000.
Qualifying companies are: Enterprise Ireland client companies only. Please contact your Development Adviser before applying.
The Agile Innovation Fund is for: rapidly developing solutions or a company’s first R&D project. The process has been streamlined for eligible companies with a short online application and fast-track approval.
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This article was updated August 2021