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Who can apply?

The innovation voucher is intended for SMEs engaged in well-established business and who have a new product or service idea with international growth potential and for which the company needs external expertise. The innovation voucher aims to find new business opportunities for businesses to support business growth and encourage new businesses to innovate.


The innovation voucher has a € 1000 + VAT self-financing contribution (irrespective of the size of the project), payable directly to the service provider at the end of the project. Once the service provider has received the self-financing contribution and the customer has reported about the project, the service provider can send up to € 4000 + VAT invoice to Business Finland.

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 your company to develop products, services or processes, or to acquire new knowledge and competencies required in innovation activities.


When the company has a new 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?

Your company is not eligible for an innovation voucher if:

  • You are a large enterprise, a private trader, a public or non-profit organisation, foundation, association or a company registered in Åland.
  • Your company has tax liabilities, for which it has not made or adhered to a payment plan
  • Your Asiakastieto rating Alfa is below A.
  • It is a case of obtaining information about new export markets. This can be financed with Business Finland's Explorer funding.
  • The external expertise has no new content compared to your own expertise.
  • Your company does not belong to the Prepayment register.
  • Your company has no plans relating to internationalization.
  • Your company's line of business is not eligible for De Minimis funding (primary agricultural production, fishing and aquaculture).
  • Your company's business, or a group it belongs to, exceeds the de minimis limits.
  • Your company has already received Business Finland's or Tekes's innovation voucher.
  • Your company has been awarded Business Finland or Tekes innovation funding during the current or previous year, OR your company is running an innovation project funded by Business Finland OR your company or has filed another application with Business Finland. Decisions, applications, or ongoing projects concerning Energy aid, Explorer product family, Trade fair grant and Production incentive for the audiovisual industry are not a barrier to applying for an innovation voucher.
  • The project is related to the analysis of the funding of a company, product or service, acquisition of such funding or survey of funders, investors and shareholders.
  • The entrepreneurship is part-time, or the company has no employees. The granting of an innovation voucher requires full-time entrepreneurship for at least three months before applying for the voucher. The innovation voucher may also be issued if the entrepreneurship is part-time but the company has a full-time employee whose employment relationship has been valid for at least three months before applying for the voucher.
  • You want to buy services from a company in which you have an interest, for example through ownership, board membership or family ties.
  • Your company has debts that have entered into enforcement proceedings.

What for?

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.
  • 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.

What not for:

  • Your 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).
  • Developing or renewing a product which is already available in markets
  • Consulting on the development of a product or service for own use (not for sale)

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 Business Finland's 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.

Business Finland 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 Business Finland.

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 one service provider. 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.

Accept the funding decision in the Online Services

You will be notified by email of a new document in the Online Service. The notice is sent to the accountable project leader, the contact persons for the project and cost statements, and to the organization's official email address.

Funding by Business Finland may not begin until you have accepted the decision and its related funding terms and conditions in the Online Service. You can view funding decisions awaiting acceptance on the front page of the Online Service under section "Pending matters". If the decision involves special terms and conditions, the decision can be accepted in the Online Service once the terms are met.

Acceptance is possible via the Online Service if you are the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director or an authorized signatory of the company. The identification service will check these roles and authority of signature from the Trade Register when you log in to the Online Service. 

If a person named as an authorized signatory in the Trade Register holds another role in the company, the funding decision is accepted using a template Y1. This template is also used in the event that the company name is signed simultaneously by two persons. Submit the template via secured email to Business Finland's record office.

If there are deficiencies in the Trade Register information of your company, these can be corrected by contacting the Finnish Patent and Registration Office

Learn more about accepting a funding decision

Reporting and invoicing

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

Payment of the financing to the service provider requires that the beneficiary has submitted both the approval of the financing decision and the final report and has paid the service provider a self-financing contribution of 1000 € + VAT.

The service provider sends an invoice to Business Finland. If the value of the service is less than EUR 4,000, the invoice cannot exceed the value of the service. Instructions for delivering the invoice can be found on Business Finland's website.

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

De minimis aid

The terms and conditions of Business Finland 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.

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 Business Finland, such as Finnvera and the ELY Centres.

Preconditions for the service provider

Are the following preconditions met?

  • Your company's Asiakastieto rating Alfa is at least A.
  • 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).

Business Finland compiles a list of innovation service providers. Business Finland checks the information of service providers and updates the list at one-week intervals or as necessary. Please note that the eligibility of the service provider will be re-examined during the processing of the funding application and the situation may have changed since the acceptance to the list. 

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. At 

Online services

You can apply for funding, report on the progress of your project and create a cost statement through the Online Service. As a new feature, changes to projects are now applied for through the Online Service. All documents related to your project are also available via the Online Service.

Go to the Online Service

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