SMEs buy brains with Innovation Vouchers


1 Aug 2007

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With a voucher for €5,000 to inject innovation into his company, E-management Systems, managing director Pat Jones this morning met with Waterford IT researcher Dr Paul Savage to discuss its spending.

Launched at the beginning of July 2007, the second phase of the Innovation Voucher scheme provided 194 vouchers worth €5,000 each, distributed to small technology companies on the basis of individual proposals.

The first company to receive a voucher was Applied Thermal Imagery in Clonakilty.

Michael Ahern TD, Minister of State for Innovation Policy, was present at the Waterford meetings. He said he hoped that all small technology companies countrywide would receive a voucher in the scheme’s second phase.

“This Enterprise Ireland-managed initiative is an excellent way to begin the small business community’s cultural shift towards innovation through collaboration with researchers, and the sooner companies talk to the research community the better,” said Ahern.

The aim of the scheme is to provide a smooth channel between small companies and centres of innovation such as institutes of technologies or universities, so that technology problems encountered by these companies can be matched to applicable research.

The vouchers can be used for knowledge transfer, but not for training purposes, internships, software purchases or advertising and sales.

The third phase of the voucher scheme opens for application on 1 October and can be entered through www.innovationvouchers.ie.

By Marie Boran