If your company develops an innovation that not only solves major technological and commercial problems but also unlocks greater economic value, you need funding. Fortunately, National and EU funding are available; they can help turn your innovation into a market-leading solution. The range of funding options may however may confuse a new applicant, there are also different project management solutions for research and innovation project, the tools you need to make all this happen.
But not to worry, here are the essential steps to follow on your journey to obtain funding for your innovation.
What Are the Necessary Steps for Obtaining Public Funding?
The three critical steps in obtaining public funding for your innovation include understanding if your project is innovative, assessing your innovation, and getting to know your funding options.
Subsequently, this article further discusses these steps in detail as well as European funding opportunities.
Let’s get started!
Understanding if your project is innovative
Understanding the definition of innovation is essential before considering innovation-focused public funding. Innovation is simply a new or improved solution, ideal for unlocking sustainable economic growth. It is best to ensure that your project is the right fit for innovation-focused funding. Let’s have a look at what funders say about ensuring your project is the right fit.
According to the European Innovation Council (EIC), which is the main funding body of the European Commission, there is a radical difference between innovation and existing products, services, or business models. Also, although innovation is highly risky, it has the potential of scaling up internationally.
The larger goal to develop and scale European technology, products, and services is to ensure that these products compete with other products from other parts of the world. Furthermore, the goal shapes funding strategies at both the EU and national levels.
Assessing your innovation
Funding agencies have a broad definition of what innovation should be. If your innovation aligns, then assessing your idea against several innovation criteria is necessary. To do this, it is best to answer specific questions at different stages.
At the innovation stage or technology readiness level, it is best to ask how far the innovation is in development. Is the innovation a concept, or has it been prototyped, produced, and tested? At the innovation level, it is best to ask how the innovation compares to the current state of the art in its field is essential.
During the market potential stage, it is best to ask if the innovation targets a specific market and a clear understanding of its market size and needs. At the plans and budget stage, answering questions like the next steps for advancing innovation and how much it will cost is essential. For the implementation stage, ask questions regarding the capacity and competence necessary for advancing the innovation. Also, ask if critical partners like suppliers, users, or complementary technology are needed for collaboration.
Answering these questions improves your understanding, allowing you to focus on the right types of funding opportunities.
Getting to know your funding options
At the various levels of innovation, markets, and goals, there is a wide mix of available funding options ideal for targeting. Generally, smaller projects and innovations in the early stages should consider local and national funding. On the other hand, technically sophisticated projects and innovation in the more advanced stages will be competitive for EU funding.
There are several options for funding innovation, and below is a helpful overview of the most popular ones.
European Funding Opportunities
There are a broad set of options at the European level. The two major funding opportunities for innovation are Eurostars and the ones available through the European Innovation Council. Apart from Eurostars, the Horizon Europe framework program funding is available via the EIC. The EIC funds the innovation cycle, including all stages like early-stage research, R&D, and the scaling up of existing technologies and solutions. The EIC Accelerator is the most popular EIC grant. The grant supports single SWME applicants in the mid and later stages of the development cycle. Also, SMEs can apply for a 2.5 MEUR grant; the grant comes with a 70% funding rate or equity funding up to 15 MEUR. Furthermore, the accelerator program is open to bottom-up calls and challenge-driven specific calls.
Innovation projects require funding. You can obtain public funding by understanding if your project is innovative and assessing your innovation. You also have to know the funding options available for your innovation.