Innovation is expensive, as the manufacturers of machine-to-machine and Internet of Things solutions know only too well. For companies – especially small and medium-sized businesses and start-ups – the question that repeatedly arises during the innovation process is: “How are we to finance it?” In addition to borrowing, mezzanine and investment capital there are a large number of public funding programs, including the EU framework program Horizon 2020. Its aim is to promote and support the development of new technologies and their implementation by investing around €80 billion.
Funding for European SMEs
A special funding instrument for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provides for grants of between €50,000 and €2.5 million. It is arranged in three phases. SMEs are assisted from the preparation of a feasibility study via demonstration and prototype development to marketing. For commercialisation SMEs do not receive direct grants; they merely gain easier access to loans, guarantees or risk capital. The following chart shows which companies stand a good chance of qualifying if they apply.