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Saturday, 26 September 2020

Funding innovation projects at SMEs

Thursday, 4 August 2011 | Posted by: Damir Gagro, European Coatings Journal

Recently, Peter Rieck wrote on EC Editors’ Blog that it is about time to further invest in innovation, R&D and marketing – or in a nutshell: investing in one’s future. This is easier said than done, even with a good idea. Apart from causing costs, innovation projects also tie human workforce. This is especially crucial for SMEs with only a small staff that cannot simply spare needed capacities for a single project.

However, companies can make use of the so-called innovation vouchers. A number of new innovation voucher schemes have been established by regional and national innovation support organisations. These schemes are generally aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises to start new, or accelerate innovative activities and enhance their competitiveness in collaboration with R&D institutions or other service providers. Currently, there are at least 25 different innovation voucher schemes in the EU member states. The scope as well as the conditions for getting the vouchers varies from country to country. There are small, fully financed vouchers and larger ones that require SME co-financing. Finding the right scheme for one’s need is not easy.
These programmes have to be better promoted so that more SMEs hear about it and can benefit from these vouchers. The better known these programmes are, the more ideas may make it from the drawing board to the market. Then, a decision to actually invest in the future may not need to be thought over twice – it is probably as easy done as it is said.

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