Money makes the world go ‘round, as a famous singer and actress once said. And she was probably right, and, what better use for money than research and innovation? The return on investment of R&D and Innovation is very well-known. It is like the whale that bites its own tail: money is needed to create or improve technology, which in turn generates more wealth. For many years, organizations such as Eureka have fostered wealth creation through innovation and research grants. In particular, the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Innowwide encourages SMEs to take their products or services worldwide. And how will they encourage those companies? By providing funding, of course!
What is it about?
Co-funded by the European Union under the Horizon Europe framework programme, the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Innowwide has launched, this year, a grant for innovative SMEs. The partnership will be funding 50 projects (a maximum of 25 of those involving counterparts in Africa) to promote the spreading of R&D to markets worldwide. Candidates should choose a region and look for a local counterpart, since the aim is to take research to international markets.Application process closes on November 15, 2022, and every SME located in any European Union Member States or in any Horizon Europe Associated Countries partnering with a counterpart in Africa, North and South America, the Middle East or Asia-Pacific can apply for it.
Applications above the threshold with financial and ethical viability will receive funding until it is completely allocated.
The total budget will be worth €3 million and it will fund 50 projects, which means that each market feasibility project will receive €60,000. The financial support rate provided by the EU Partnership on Innovative SMEs / Innowwide is up to 70% of minimum eligible costs of €86,000.
Each SME market feasibility project will receive an advance payment of 70% (worth €42,000 and provided at the beginning). The remaining 30% (worth €18,000) will be provided at the end of the project, once the Final Report has been accepted.
Each application will be scored according to the evaluation criteria defined by Eureka. Those which exceed the threshold and which are ranked in the top 50 projects will be eligible for funding. Only one proposal per SME is accepted, and they must fulfill some basic conditions and meet the eligibility criteria:
There are three possible options for SMEs to apply for funding:
- Being an SME located in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country and having a partner based in a country in North or South America, Asia-Pacific or the Middle East,
- Being an SME located an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country and having a partner based in an African country,
- Being an SME located in an EU Member State or Horizon Europe Associated Country that submits an application on behalf of an African company that the company provides services to.
Candidates must be innovative SMEs that aim to compete and start their business in new and emerging markets worldwide. They must be into an economic activity, either by selling products or by providing services. According to the guidelines and to the eligibility criteria, a minimum of three experts will evaluate each application focusing on excellence (30%), impact (40%) and quality and efficiency of the implementation (30%), and applications will receive up to 200 points.
Is this programme worth it?
R&D usually demands a considerable amount of money, so every grant can be extremely useful for SMEs. This funding programme could give startups and young companies a golden opportunity to spread their technology and take their products or services to other countries, which can definitely help SMEs grow.