Cyber Security Innovation Vouchers

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is funding a special strand of Innovation Vouchers to help UK businesses get expert advice in protecting their business from cyber crime which could help them to achieve certification under the Cyber Essentials scheme. 

You can get an Innovation Voucher worth up to £5,000 to pay for an external expert. This expert will give you advice on cyber security for your business and may be able to help you acquire certification through Cyber Essentials. 

You can also use the voucher for advice on how to protect new business ideas and intellectual property in cyber security. 

The Cyber Essentials scheme helps organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks. It can help you develop a secure platform for your business activities. You can also get certification to show that you have taken these precautions. 

You may need Cyber Essentials if you are a supplier bidding for a government contract. Since 2014, all suppliers handling sensitive and personal information need Cyber Essentials. There are 2 levels of certification available through the scheme:

  • Cyber Essentials an external assessor reviews your responses to a questionnaire
  • Cyber Essentials PLUS - an external assessor carries out tests of your IT security systems

If you need advice and certification you will need two separate providers. You can use an Innovation Voucher towards the cost of Cyber Essentials PLUS. You cannot use it for Cyber Essentials alone but you may be able to use it to get extra advice that leads to Cyber Essentials. Find out more about Cyber Essentials scheme.

You can use an expert from one of the following:

  • universities and further education colleges
  • research and technology organisations
  • technical consultancies
  • Catapult centres
  • design advisers
  • intellectual property advisers

You can get more advice on choosing a cyber knowledge expert by downloading this guide.

To qualify for an Innovation Voucher you must:

  • be starting up or running a micro, small or medium-sized UK business
  • have not worked with this expert before
  • need help with something that's a real challenge for your business, not just a small improvement or change
  • have not had an Innovation Voucher from Innovate UK or the Technology Strategy Board before

You cannot apply for both a cyber security and a general Innovation Voucher.

Unsure if your business is an SME? You can check the European definition of an SME here.

You cannot use an Innovation Voucher to fund:

  • staff training
  • equipment
  • off-the-shelf software
  • marketing or branding items
  • standard business advice

The Guidance for Applicants document will help you to decide if your project is eligible, or you can contact the helpline on 0300 321 4357 or by email: