Government Innovation Vouchers extended to Big Data

Start-ups and SMEs are being offered Innovation Vouchers by the government worth up to a total of £1.1 million to help them develop new ideas, improve processes and target new markets.

The second wave of vouchers through the Technology Strategy Board are aimed at companies who want to use public open data to commercialise their ideas and develop products and prototypes.

The government recently opened its Open Data Institute in London to help commercialise the Big Data it holds across the public sector.

The Innovation Vouchers scheme was initially launched in September providing £5,000 to businesses who wanted to develop ideas applicable to agri-food, the built environment and space.

As well as the additional funding for open data use, the vouchers are now also being extended for businesses with innovation ideas in the areas of energy, water and waste.

Universities and science minister David Willetts said, "This new wave of Innovation Vouchers will give SMEs a great opportunity to bid for funding that can make a real difference to the growth of their business ideas.

"They will be able to develop exciting proposals that can make use of open data, which has the potential to unlock great value and boost economic growth."

In September the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) committed £1 million a year for the next three years for Innovation Vouchers. That will be matched by the Technology Strategy Board, meaning there will be £2 million each year to support various sectors.

The Innovation Vouchers will be allocated every three months, with 100 Vouchers across the themes each quarter. The additional £1.1 million just announced is available solely for open data initiatives over the next two years.

Companies can use their vouchers to work with universities, research and technology organisations, design advisers and intellectual property advisers, among others.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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