HUNTINGDONSHIRE businesses with innovative ideas can access highly sought-after university expertise this summer with a new East of England Development Agency (EEDA) Innovation Voucher. EEDA has set aside a fund of £250,000 for SMEs based in the East of England to access up to £3,000 worth of one-to-one collaboration with the regions top universities and research institutes to help develop, challenge and improve projects in the pipeline. The vouchers are available free of charge, on a first-come-first-served basis. Businesses have until November 30 to apply for a voucher at www.eeda.org.uk/finance. Part of the Governments Solutions for Business portfolio, an innovation voucher offers businesses a unique opportunity to access specialist consultancy from a university or institute to help resolve innovation-related business challenges, whether that is by bringing a new technology to market or improving an innovative product or process. The scheme opened to all SMEs last week, following previously successful rounds of this scheme where over 100 businesses benefitted from the vouchers. EEDAs executive director of innovation Paul May said: EEDAs voucher scheme offers a great opportunity to innovative businesses and will play a vital role in driving forward the growth of new ideas and technologies by uniting industry and academia. The East of England can be proud of its world-class universities, which are collectively one of its biggest assets. EEDA will be working closely with businesses who receive a voucher to select the most appropriate university to suit their needs.