The main European financing instruments that we turn our attention to are those that are part of the Horizon 2020 programme, with a special mention for SME Instrument and Fast Track to Innovation.
Horizon 2020 is the European Union’s assistance programme for research, development and innovation for the period 2014-220. It proposes encouraging growth and employment by allocating 80 billion euros to research and innovation. It is the largest public investment programme in the world and will be essential in the development of the emblematic “Union For Innovation” initiative aimed at improving Europe’s global competitivity.
Horizon 2020 gathers, for the first time, all financing for the EU’s innovation and research activities in a single programme. This simplifies administrative arrangements and makes it easier for researchers and entrepreneurs when it comes to applying for a subsidy, submitting a project or justifying costs. The hope is that, in addition to reducing time and costs, it will appear to be a more attractive prospect to outstanding researchers and the spectrum of innovative companies financed will be widened.
The Horizon 2020 budget strives to respond to the three central objectives of the programme:
• To reinforce the EU’s position as a world leader in matters of science. For this, it will earmark 24.6 billion euros to fostering high level research in Europe, including a 77% increase in financing the European Council of Research.
• To ensure industrial leadership in innovation. The European Commission proposes allocating 17.9 billion euros to this goal, of which 13.7 billion will be dedicated to investment in key technologies (such as nanotechnology or biotechnology, among others) and the rest to improving capital and support for SMEs.
• To finance research into six topics of general interest, to which it is proposed that 31.7 billion euros be allocated:
- Health, demographic changes and wellbeing.
- Food security, sustainable agriculture, marine and maritime research and bioeconomics.
- Safe, clean and efficient energy.
- Smart, ecological and integrated transport.
- Climate action, efficient use of resources and raw materials.
- Integrated, innovative and secure companies.
Financing provided by the Horizon 2020 initiative is easier to get thanks to a simpler programme structure, a single series of rules and less bureaucracy:
• Simplified reimbursement of costs.
• One stop shop for participants.
• Less paperwork when submitting proposals.
• Elimination of unnecessary controls and audits.
Given our technical profile (our entire staff is made up of engineers and administrative employees), we are trained to provide a global service throughout all the development phases of any project, from defining ideas through managing the preparation of proposals.
Our tasks comprise:
• Managing administrative forms.
• Preparing budgets.
• Description, solvency and capacity of the consortium partners (if the project is a cooperation).
• Describing the impact the project will have by conducting market studies, intellectual property management, etc.
• Supervising the technical description.
Reviewing the proposals’ ideas with the European Commission.
At Bantec, we have specialised in providing a service to SMEs wishing to project their company internationally. We manage their competitive European proposals from the start by helping with their preparation and submittal, and working on the negotiation and subsequent coordination phases of the project throughout its development and up to its conclusion. The ultimate aim is for no good project to be left on the shelf because of financing problems. Small wonder, then, that existing European financing tools provide up to 70% of non-recoverable subsidies.
This specialisation has led to us having significant specific weight on SME Instrument, a European financing tool in which we have become leaders in terms of our success rate, having exceeded 40% as opposed to 9% of the tender.
The profile of assistance designed in the European Horizon 2020 programme is especially adapted to the idiosyncrasies of industrial SMEs that are more dedicated to quality than price, that look outside and that show willing to develop a practical innovation.
Overall, the H2020 programme will, between 2014 and 2020, manage a budget of almost 80 billion euros, of which at least 7.6 billion will be directly allocated to awarding assistance to small and medium-sized enterprises, with a cornerstone, the tool christened “SME Instrument,” whose budget is 2.7 billion euros.
The SME instrument is defined as a financing scheme carried out through subsidies, which will cover the entirety of the innovation cycle, aimed at providing support to traditional or innovative SMEs that have the ambition to grow, develop or expand internationally, through a European innovation project. The aim is to help them become the multinationals of tomorrow.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the assistance programme sees its role as committing to dedicate at least 20% of the budget from the “Social Challenges” and “Leadership in Industrial and Technologies and Facilitators.”
The companies participating in the programme will, throughout the entire process, have close support intended to help them improve their capacity to innovate, with a financial window dedicated to “Access to Risk Financing.”
Each phase will be open to all SMEs and it will not be obligatory to go through them all. During the first phase, concept and feasibility will be assessed and there will be 50,000 euros per project to assist with it and it will last for six months.
In the second phase, the development of R&D, prototypes and/or tests, and demonstration of innovative processes, products or services, product design, planning and development of the industrial scale and updating of the business model and replication in the market will take place (approx., EU contribution 1-3 million euros per project with a duration of 1-2 years with 70% costs reimbursement).
The third phase will be reserved for the marketing process and, in this case, direct financing is not considered, but different support activities are included.
The main conclusions of the new support strategy for innovative SMEs striving for internationalisation and that prepares the European R&D financing programme, Horizon 2020 consists of:
1.- SMEs may take part in all the activities and programmes.
2.- It incorporates a clear commitment to SMEs, with a policy goal of around 7.6 billion euros.
3.- Such an ambitious goal will enable SMEs to take part in the tenders of each challenge and each technology, and offers them the chance, through the SME Instrument, to grow internationally on the basis of an innovation project.
4.- The SME Instrument will essentially have an open theme (specifically, with pretty extensive top-down topics), will have a target budget of 2.7 billion euros in 2014-2020 and will be managed centrally with permanently open tenders.
5.- The Instrument will be accompanied by a coaching scheme of which there will be a pilot test in Spain during the first half of 2014.
6.- As other opportunities regarding SMEs, Eurostars 2 should be emphasised, with a total public financing amount of almost 1.1 billion euros for transnational R&D collaboration projects essentially for SMEs with intensive R&D.
7.- Horizon 2020 will also include a financial instruments window in both capital and debt that will finance as a priority SMEs that are beneficiaries of the SME Instrument.
H2020 presents the pilot experience Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) for the period 2015-2016. With a bi-annual budget of 200 million euros, its aim is to reduce by at least three years the time to introduce a product, service or process onto the market. This line of assistance will provide non-recoverable subsidise for 70% of the projects’ costs up to 3 million euros per share.
FTI is a tool to support innovation that is very attractive for companies, since the projects they seek to speed up must be near the market (applied research and innovation). Participating companies will not be obliged to subcontract R&D tasks and the submittal of proposals will be simplified. As in the case of SME Instrument, FTI is directed at companies that have the ambition to grow, develop and become international through a European sized business venture.
We are talking about innovation projects that are carried out by three to five companies, as opposed to, with the SME Instrument, where participation can be individual. In FTI projects, it will be obligatory to have the substantial participation of the industrial sector to ensure quick assimilation by the market. The allocation of at least 60% of the budget to industrial participants in the consortium is required.
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW INSTRUMENT “FAST TRACK TO INNOVATION”
1- It is a bottom-up tender open to any topic area or sector of the pillars of industrial leadership and social challenges.
2- The aim is to reduce the time to introduce a project/service/process onto the market. The assessment process plus negotiation is shortened to five months from the closure of the tender.
3- They are innovative actions (TRL-Technology Readiness Level:6), in which it is necessary to start using mature technology.
4- In the proposal it is obligatory to submit a business plan. The time for bringing profits to market from the beginning of the project is a maximum of 3 years.
5- Projects of some 3 million euros with a minimum of three and a maximum of five partners.
6- Any entity can take part, but there has to be a majority of industrial participation; or most of the consortium partners must be companies (two companies if there are three to four partners, or three companies if there are five partners), or 60% of the budget must be for industry.
7- Only partners from EU member countries or associated to H2020 are eligible.
8- Permanently open during 2015, but with three cut-off dates for assessment: 29th April, 1st September and 1st December. The 2015 budget is 100 million euros and there is no money specifically reserved for each topic.
9- The financing instrument is Innovation Action and therefore, the financing intensity will be 70% in the case of companies and 100% in the case of universities and non-for-profit research organisations.
10- The “impact” criteria will be assessed first and will carry more weight.
Bantec led the creation of the European CIMA (Consultancies for Innovation Management) Network, a network of alliances that enables us to extend the geographical coverage of our services.
We cooperate internationally by rolling our respective local markets into one in favour of companies’ needs.
Thanks to CIMA, Bantec has detected the most important European entities (companies, universities, centres…) so that they can serve as travel companions for our clients, from whose relationships global agreements have come about that have enabled us to build a long-term win-win relationship.
Through this network of alliances, we work at different levels, promoting trends in collaboration with public administrations, fostering technology transfer from research entities and meeting global support needs, through cooperation and internationalisation of those companies whose size and vocation require it.
STRATEGIC PARTNER AND PERMANENT DELGATES OF CIMA
- BANTEC (SPAIN)
- EFFICIENT INNOVATION (FRANCE)
- METEC (ITALY)
- SAMUSHI (PORTUGAL)
- ATLANTIS RESEARCH (GREECE)
- EUROPARAMA (LITHUANIA)
- WABECO (GERMANY)
- RDJ (UNITED KINGDOM)
- EUROMANAGEMENT (BELGIUM)
- ERCAN (TURKEY)
- IDTEC (MEXICO)
JOINT SERVICES THE CIMA NETWORK INTENDS TO OFFER
1.- Partner search.
2.- Networking and project definition.
3.- European-level technological forecast (Open Innovation).
4.- Services to clients’ European offices.
5.- Improved cooperation between R&D agents.
6.- Representation before the European Commission.
It is a tool that adapts to each case, each entity, to offer it the added value it needs. From identification of potential partners to offering tax breaks for European offices or headquarters.
The purpose of the consultancies that make up CIMA is to offer the same services in different countries, as if it were a single entity. For this, new services will be offered, such as:
- The search for financing for its national R&D for its affiliates and foreign plants.
- International projects on training into which the following can be incorporated:
- Inclusion of foreign partners for projects led by our clients.
- To incorporate them into our international consulting projects in innovation, in which
- There may be international experts in innovation management.
- The launch of international consulting projects based on real needs in different countries.
Support for the internationalisation process products for their products.
Parallel to CIMA, Bantec has driven the creation of B-Partnership, a community of international entities (primarily university) interested in promoting a catalogue in which they can find partners with whom to carry out collaborative projects.
Bantec’s experience in project management led us to conclude that good partners are a key element of the success of any collaborative project. Good partners are those that contribute to preparing the proposal, that are already familiar with and accept the particular features of R&D financing programmes, that are committed to the project and that dedicate appropriate human resources and attention, and therein lies the importance of this initiative from Bantec.
B-Partnership is open to including new members from all over Europe. The initiative is especially designed to put industrial companies and research institutions in contact.
Forming part of B-partnership is easy and is based on direct, personal contact between project promoters, partners and our staff. All you need to do is call or email and one of our experts will guide you.
B-Partnership already has over 300 members comprising 91 large companies, 115 medium-sized enterprises, 73 small companies, 15 microcompanies, 22 research centres and 17 public agencies.
What all these have in common is their ability to innovate, the availability of internal R&D teams, experience in collaborative projects and high management standards.