Good product design and development can result in dramatic commercial improvements from increased sales and reduced costs, but no one would claim that it is a low cost activity. It may surprise you to know that, even in these times of austerity, there are sources of government backed funding that can support and pay for some aspects of your product design and development programme.
1. Innovation Vouchers
Innovation Vouchers offer up to £5,000 for your business to get the help of an external expert to develop ideas and improve performance. The scheme is run by Innovate UK (previously known as the Technology Strategy Board, or TSB) and anyone is eligible, from pre start-ups to medium sized companies.
The scheme is operated as a competition that is run every three months, with 100 vouchers available each time.
The scheme requires you to use an expert you’ve not worked with before, and you cannot apply if you’ve already received an Innovation Voucher from Innovate UK or the TSB.
For more details, go to https://vouchers.innovateuk.org/
2. Funding awards
Innovate UK also run larger programmes designed for companies of any size, either on their own or in partnership with other companies and research bodies. This programme potentially offers funding of between £5,000 and £10m to research and develop new products or services, particularly in the areas of digital technology, high tech manufacture, transport, agriculture or emerging technologies.
To find out more about funding awards from Innovate UK, please follow this link: https://www.gov.uk/innovation-apply-for-a-funding-award
3. And if you don't like government money...
Some of the hype seems to have drained from the crowdfunding bubble of late, but it is still an interesting route to follow if you want to raise funding from the public, rather than apply for conventional grants. If you would like to know more and view some of the leading crowdfunding sites, please follow this link: http://www.shopify.co.uk/blog/8071463-the-top-5-crowdfunding-sites-for-your-next-big-idea