Innovations stand for technological progress and are important for firms in order to remain competitive. But innovation activities are associated with high costs and uncertainties. Since in particular micro and small firms face liquidity restrictions, they refrain from investing in innovative projects more often than other firms. Their own capacities or competencies are often not sufficient, so that they rely more heavily on external research than large firms. However, the opportunities as well as the benefits for the own company are often not clear, so that this alternative is not used

Innovation vouchers are one possibility in order to mitigate these constraints for small firms. They can be suitable for strengthening the innovative power especially for micro and small firms. This opinion is prevalent in other European countries, such as the Netherlands, Ireland and Austria, in which innovation vouchers are already an established instrument within innovation policy or are implemented currently. Keeping this in mind the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg has initiated a two year pilot scheme, in which innovation vouchers are distributed among small firms. The project aims at the monitoring of this pilot scheme with a focus on an optimal organization and procedure, in particular in terms of the demand, practicability, acceptance, and marketing of the instrument. Moreover, effects of the innovation vouchers on innovation activities of the participating firms should be analysed. On top of this, suggestions for the design of a future subsidy program “innovation voucher” will be developed.