Following Germany’s successful model, the TANSTIA-FNF Service Center (TFSC) has launched innovation voucher programs (IVP) in 10 districts of Tamil Nadu on a pilot basis with the aim of giving a boost to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) capacity to innovate.

A TANSTIA release stated that innovation vouchers are granted to MSMEs on a 50 per cent co-finance agreement for innovation potential analysis, in-depth consulting of the innovation process, project management and prototype development.

Registered MSMEs that are functioning for more than two years with a sound financial status can take part in the scheme. The pilot phase will be implemented in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Vellore, Villupuram, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchi, Salem and Tirunelveli districts till November 2013. In fact, DEG - Deutsche Investitions - und EntwicklungsgesellschaftmbH conducted a feasibility study on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) during 2011 to evaluate the possibility of implementing innovation vouchers in Chennai.

The outcome of the study rendered a positive opinion towards piloting of the innovation vouchers in India. It is against this background that BMZ decided to implement a pilot project through DEG with the support of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management (FS) and TFSC is the implementing agency for this programme, said a TFSC official.

“This programme is implemented only in developing countries and India is one of them. To avail of the benefits, registered MSMEs can download the form by visitinghttp:// www. Initially, the plan is to help about 180 MSMEs and TFSC will conduct awareness programmes in these districts,” the official said.

In Germany, the vouchers are used by innovative entrepreneurs to co-finance services of innovation/technology experts required to manage the innovation processes in an optimal way and/or to co-finance the services of research and development institutes needed for prototype development, testing of materials and so on, the release said.