SME

Innovation voucher

For whom?

The innovation voucher is intended for SMEs engaged in well-established business (the company has a turnover from at least one fiscal year which has ended), wishing to launch innovation activities. Innovation activities refer to all measures employed by the company to develop its products, services or processes, or to acquire new knowledge and competencies required in innovation activities.

What?

You can use the innovation vouchers to purchase new knowledge and skills for your business. You may use them for purchasing expert services related to innovation activities, for instance, from companies providing innovation services, universities, universities of applied sciences and research organisations. Innovation activities refer to all measures employed by the company to develop its products, services or processes, or to acquire new knowledge and competencies required in innovation activities.

When?

When the company has a product or service idea with international potential, and:

  • wishes to quickly assess its suitability for further development, usability or marketability, for example, by means of demos, prototypes and customer testing
  • needs an outside expert opinion, assessment or testing and measurement services
  • needs support for reports and searches related to patents, designs and trademarks, including novelty searches, patentability reports and freedom to operate reviews, or assistance with their application process
  • wishes to utilise the results of science and research in business development.

 

When not?

The company is not eligible for an innovation voucher if

  • it is a large enterprise, a private trader, a public or non-profit organisation, foundation, association or a company registered in Åland
  • it has outstanding tax liabilities or has made an adjusted tax payment arrangement
  • its Asiakastieto rating Alfa is below A+
  • it is a case of obtaining information about new export markets. In future, this can be financed with Tekes's Team Finland Explorer funding
  • the external expertise has no new content compared to the company's own expertise
  • the company does not belong to the Prepayment register
  • the company has no plans relating to internationalisation
  • the company's line of business is not eligible for De Minimis funding (primary agricultural production, fishing and aquaculture)
  • the company's business, or a group it belongs toexceeds the de minimis limits
  • the company or a company within the same group has been awarded Tekes innovation funding during the current or previous year (a granted innovation voucher is Tekes innovation funding) OR the company or a company within the same group is running an innovation project funded by Tekes OR the company or a company within the same group has filed another application with Tekes.

For what?

Examples of innovation voucher purposes of use

  • services related to the development of product and service strategy (incl. the preparation of a design strategy)
  • experiments and agile product and service development
  • planning of innovation projects
  • measurement and testing services relating to innovation
  • feasibility studies and expert opinions relating to innovation
  • services related to the evaluation and exploitation of research results

Not to be used for

  • the company's salary costs, travel, materials, supplies, rents and machinery and equipment purchases
  • the development of sectors and activities which are excluded from De Minimis funding (primary agricultural production, fishing and aquaculture)
  • expert services not related to innovation activities, such as
    • general business consulting services
    • basic sales, marketing and communications operations
    • staff training
    • consulting and development related to basic IT systems (including the creation of websites, online shopping and mobile sales channels or the consultation and development of enterprise resource planning and related financial management systems)

How does the innovation voucher work?


How do I apply for innovation vouchers?

Consider first what kind of skills and expertise you need in the development of your idea or in problem solving. Next, find a competent service provider and discuss your need. Draw up a work plan together. After that, submit an innovation voucher application at Tekes' Online Service. The accountable project leader must be employed in the applicant company. Applicant company is the company which intends to buy innovation services with the innovation voucher. The service provider can not apply for the voucher on behalf of the applicant company.

Tekes checks the information of service providers and updates the list on a regular basis. A service provider may also be selected from outside the list, as long as the conditions mentioned below are met.

Enter €6,200 (€5,000 € + VAT) in the line Purchased services in the budget table. Other lines of the budget table must be blank. Enter €6,200 in the section Funding applied from Tekes.

Please note that your company and the service provider you selected may not be linked as associated companies (see further details in section 3.5 of the General Terms).

If the value of purchased expert services exceeds €5,000 + VAT, your company will pay the difference to the service provider. The voucher can be used for purchasing services from two service providers at most. The innovation voucher is valid for six months from the date it was granted. Only such purchased service costs can be accepted that have arisen from the project during the duration of the project. Expenditure allocated to the project relating to an order placed before the commencement of a project phase is eligible only when the order can be cancelled if the project does not begin.

We aim to process applications within two weeks of receiving them.

For further information, contact the innovation voucher team – contact details are listed at the end of this page.

Reporting and invoicing

The company that used the innovation voucher and the service provider report to Tekes after the conclusion of the project. The final report is made in Tekes Online Service.

The service provider sends an invoice to Tekes. If the value of the service is less than EUR 5,000, the invoice cannot exceed the value of the service. Instructions for delivering the invoice can be found on Tekes' website.

Tekes pays the funding on the basis of the invoice directly to the service provider after Tekes has approved the report.

De minimis aid

The terms and conditions of Tekes de minimis funding apply to the innovation voucher. This funding constitutes a grant which the company does not need to repay.

De minimis aid is the amount of business subsidy defined by the European Commission for small development projects. The maximum sum of de minimis aid that can be granted to one company over the current and two previous fiscal years is EUR 200,000. Tekes grants companies up to EUR 150,000 in de minimis grants over this period of time.

The company must assess how much de minimis funding it has received in previous years at the application stage. Such aid is granted by a range of public organisations in addition to Tekes, such as Finnvera and the ELY Centres.

Preconditions for the service provider

Are the following preconditions met?

  • The service provider's economic risk class must be 1 to 3 (classification of Suomen Asiakastieto).
  • The service provider may not have any payment defaults.
  • The service provider may not have tax liabilities, or a confirmed payment plan must be in place for the payment of such liabilities.
  • The service provider and the applicant may not be linked as associated companies (see further details in section 3.5 of the General Terms).

Tekes compiles a list of innovation service providers. Tekes checks the information of service providers and updates the list at one-week intervals or as necessary.

The service provider can be selected from outside the list, as long as the preconditions are met. You may register on the list by filling in the form.

Tekes' innovation voucher team

  • Risto Lustila (Product Manager), tel. +358 2950 55244
  • Satu Kuusela, tel. +358 2950 55242
  • Paula Räme, tel. +358 2950 55270
  • Ulla Tuomenoksa, tel. +358 2950 55847
  • Jaana Åberg, tel. +358 2950 55288

Our email addresses are in the form firstname.surname@tekes.fi