Lyons announces new £4million innovation grant for SMEs

Date published: 10 November 2021


Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today announced a new grant to support local businesses to develop and implement innovative projects.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons

The £4million Economic Recovery Innovation Grant (ERIG) will provide up to £5,000 of support to SMEs develop new, or improve existing, products, services or processes through innovation.

ERIG is a new scheme developed by Invest Northern Ireland to support businesses to recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is part funded by the Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan.

The Minister said:

“There is a reason why innovation is at the heart of my Department’s 10X Economic Vision. Innovation is how we adapt to change; it is how businesses continue to meet the needs of customers; it is how we drive our economy forward.

“This new grant is aimed at those businesses that have an innovative idea and are testing, validating, and developing it, getting it ready to commercialise or implement. It will provide grants of up to £5,000 towards eligible costs for the development, testing and introduction of an innovative idea into a business.”

Businesses can access up to a maximum grant of £5,000 to support eligible costs to progress their innovative idea/project. Such costs may include: 

  • Testing and developing new products or processes;
  • Equipment;
  • Skills Development; 
  • Marketing; 
  • Consultancy. 

Full details on the scheme, eligibility criteria and how to apply are available on Invest NI's website.

Kevin Holland, CEO, Invest NI said:

“Innovation demands both creativity and process – a structured managed process. The right idea, which has been tested and developed, and commercialised or implemented can create the best value. This process can seem intimidating to smaller businesses. We want to provide as much support as we can to help them move from innovative ideas to commercialisation, and add value to their business.

“It is therefore important to make sure a business is at the right stage of innovating to get the most out of this support. Any business interested in applying to ERIG must complete an Innovate NI assessment first. The assessment is quick and easy to complete on Those businesses assessed as Silver Level Innovators will then be eligible to apply for ERIG.

“We would encourage businesses to complete their Innovate NI assessment and, where eligible, apply for ERIG as soon as possible. This offering will complement our programme of Innovation Vouchers and provide businesses more flexibility in how to develop their ideas.”

ERIG is now open for applications. Applications close at 5.00pm on Monday 31 January 2022. However, grants will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. If the available budget is fully allocated before this date, Invest NI reserves the right to close applications early.

Invest NI recommends that you apply as early as possible, as the application and assessment process may take eight working weeks to complete.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI   
  2. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

Share this page

Back to top