Apart from the usual thematic work programmes, the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission includes two other kinds of calls very focused on the most innovative projects that demonstrate the maturity of the idea to reach the market in the short term. "Fast Track to Innovation" funds cooperative projects to this end, while "SME Instrument" is an invitation to European SMEs with promising business initiatives.
To achieve these grants, the project proposal has to prove realistic and added-value business plan. This is the main difference to other R&D projects: close-to-the-market innovation activities are fundamental.
Both funding tools are unique opportunities for companies to access to international markets and to be at the forefront of European innovation. These calls are demanding and very competitive; however it is worth making the effort if the right conditions are met and with the appropriate support.
To date,"Fast Track to Innovation" has funded 62 projects across Europe. One of the approved proposals was submitted by ZABALA Innovation Consulting and has achieved almost 2.5 million euros of EU contribution.
Experience gained in projects focused on the development of business plans has resulted very positive for proposals addressed to the "SME Instrument". ZABALA has obtained funding for 11 projects of itsclients addressed to SME Instrument in Phase 1, and 5 in Phase 2.
The European average for last calls reaches 4.95% of success rate. ZABALA has largely overcome this figure with a success rate of 25% of the submitted proposals. This excellent results emphasize our intuition that the close-to-the-market projects are on the right path.
In September the new calls of "Fast Track to Innovation" and "SME Instrument" will open again. The success in this competitive race for funding is smoother with the appropriate and experienced support of organisations like ZABALA.