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IL and IN create innovation voucher programs to increase small business prospects

October 27, 2021

Indiana and Illinois are two of the most recent states to implement innovation voucher programs, adding another tool to their efforts to increase economic activity among innovators and entrepreneurs.

Innovation vouchers are provided by governments to small businesses and help foster R&D with access to additional funding and resources. Depending on their design, they can incentivize collaboration between firms and public knowledge providers, such as universities and research institutes, and increase accessibility to crucial resources, such as lab space and specialized equipment, that small businesses would otherwise not have access to.


In 2019, the Indiana General Assembly established a Small Business Innovation Voucher Program to provide funds to and support eligible small businesses (SB563). The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) was authorized to administer the program at that time. In August, Elevate Ventures announced the full launch of the program in partnership with IEDC and will provide access to up to $50,000 in services from qualified Indiana higher education institutions and authorized nonprofit research providers to support research and development, product development and commercialization for companies based in Indiana.

Illinois passed HB 1855 on Aug. 20, 2021, which established the Innovation Voucher Program. The legislation offers matching funds in the form of innovation vouchers up to 75 percent of the cost of research not to exceed $75,000. The program is designed to foster research and development in key industries and create new products and services to be marketed to Illinois businesses and individuals.

Illinois, Indianainnovation, small business