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Business Innovation Vouchers

Funding Available: £30,000

Closed

Who is eligible to apply: UK-registered horticultural and plant-based food and drink businesses

Opening date: 20.11.2023 End date: 24.01.2024

Grant Information

Business Innovation Vouchers now closed

Applications for our Business Innovation Vouchers are now closed and you can no longer apply.

 

Take advantage of 50% funding towards research projects costing up to £60,000, with a Growing Kent & Medway Business Innovation Voucher.

Our Business Innovation Vouchers will give you subsidised access to leading experts and research facilities in Kent and Medway.

The Vouchers mean you can work with a leading research organisation in Kent and Medway and have 50% of the research costs covered, with a grant worth up to £30,000.

They are designed to help overcome challenges your business may be facing or create opportunities through innovation. You may want to test a prototype product, trial a new piece of technology, or get data to validate an innovative idea.

About your project

Your project must focus on one or more of the following:

  • Moving towards net zero carbon emissions targets
  • Minimising waste and maximising recycling
  • Improving resource use efficiency and sustainability
  • Increasing productivity
  • Resilient food production, such as supply chain resilience and nutritional security
  • Precision technologies, including sensor technologies, AI or robotics
  • Solving the challenge of access to labour.

What is a Business Innovation Voucher?

A Business Innovation Voucher is a grant that can be used to access technical research support at one of our three partner research organisations; NIAB, University of Kent, or University of Greenwich.

You can take advantage of 50% funding towards research projects worth up to £60,000. A cash or in-kind 50% co-investment is needed from the business applicant. The minimum project size is £20,000 in total project costs. So, vouchers of between £10,000 to £30,000 are available.

The funding could be used for a consultation with a scientific expert, a small trial, or for access to some of the cutting-edge research equipment and facilities available in Kent and Medway. You cannot use the grant for capital expenditure, such as equipment and infrastructure costs.

The full value of the Voucher must be redeemed by one of the three research organisations listed above. The funding is provided directly to the research organisation, not the business applicant.

What type of projects can the Business Innovation Vouchers fund?

We can support a range of projects. The capabilities in the region mean we’re able to help with challenges in;

  • Horticultural production including the production of novel, high-value compounds from plants, e.g. medicinal or beauty
  • Packaging for plant-based food and drink products
  • Plant-based food and drink products and processing
  • Agri-technologies that underpin the supply chain.

Meet the winners of our first round of Business Innovation Vouchers

 

 

The Business Innovation Vouchers could be used for;

  • Progressing products and services up the technology readiness levels (TRLs) scale
  • New product or service development
  • Developing a new process, practice or technology
  • Product validation and small-scale prototyping
  • Produce scientific or technical data for product or service development
  • Technical and Scientific consultancy from the research organisation
  • Proof of concept work.

Your project idea must be innovative. You may research or develop a new process, product or service, or improve an existing one.

Whatever the challenge may be, our team would love to talk to you to understand your business and its challenges. They can discuss possible technical solutions and advise how the grants could help.

Which Research Organisations can I work with?
The vouchers will give you access to three of Growing Kent & Medway’s research partners:

You can search our Facility Finder to see what research technology and equipment are available to help your project. 

If you don’t already have a research partner in mind, our team can advise which organisation would be best placed to support you and pair you with a researcher.

How to apply
This is a competitive process. Funding will be awarded to the highest scoring applications that meet the scope of the competition.

You have until 24th January 2024 to submit your Expression of Interest Form. Once your project idea has been discussed with a member of our team, if your project is considered eligible for funding, you will be issued with a full application form.

All eligible participants will get a minimum of four weeks to submit their full application form.

Eligibility
You must be a UK-registered micro, small or medium sized business. Large businesses are ineligible for support.

Applications from sole traders, partnerships or charity and social enterprises are also eligible.

Applicants must be a business operating in the horticultural and plant-based food and drink supply chains, or propose a project which will positively impact these sectors.

You must work with either NIAB, University of Kent, or University of Greenwich on your project.

There is a limit of one voucher per business.

Businesses can only lead one application, but can partner on up to two.

Businesses can reapply if unsuccessful in the previous Growing Kent & Medway Business Innovation round, but are ineligible if they were successful in the first round.

Timeframes

You must submit your Expression of Interest form by 24th January 2024. Applicants will be notified of their outcome in April 2024. Projects can last up to 12 months and will need to start within 6 months of outcome notification. All projects must be complete by July 2025. 

Social value

Grant recipients will be expected to contribute to our social value goals. 

Help with your application

To help you complete your application, we have created the following guidance;

Please ensure you have consulted with your academic partner on your full application form before your final submission. You can submit your Expression of Interest before speaking with an academic partner.

Please submit your Expression of Interest form to speak with one of our team to find out more. If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

Please note, this is the second round of our Business Innovation Vouchers grant scheme. The winning projects for round one were announced in February 2023. Anyone who has previously successfully secured a Business Innovation Voucher from Growing Kent & Medway is not eligible to apply. 

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Top five reasons to apply for business grant funding

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Applying for grant funding can seem daunting. But with the right support, it could help grow your business in unexpected ways

  • Speak to an Innovation Growth Manager

    Robert Saville

    In order to apply for a Business Innovation Voucher, you must first discuss your project with an Innovation Growth Manager or complete an Expression of Interest form.

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    Robert Saville
  • Speak to an Innovation Growth Manager

    Parag Acharya

    In order to apply for a Business Innovation Voucher, you must first discuss your project with an Innovation Growth Manager or complete an Expression of Interest form.

    2/3

    Parag Acharya
  • Speak to an Innovation Growth Manager

    Sophie Packer

    In order to apply for a Business Innovation Voucher, you must first discuss your project with an Innovation Growth Manager or complete an Expression of Interest form.

    3/3

    Sophie Packer

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