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Funding Policies to bring Innovation to Finance/market/people (InnoFun)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project consortium consists of 14 partners from 9 Member States with a good mixture of regions with different levels of innovation development. All partners are involved in the development of their own regional innovation policy either as regional government or an intermediate body with full support of the government and therefore they wish developing policies to speed up the process from Research to Sale. All the partners have in common the problem that innovation has very often difficulties to gain financial support from public funds. The reasons for that can be found in following points: - The selection criteria for public funds are often too rigid and risk averse- Innovations have difficulties to be translated to the public fund managers.Often the translator of research and innovation for the public funds are intermediates such as innovation agencies, foundations or universities. Therefore some regions will be represented by two interdependent partners.(E.g. Innovation Agency + regional government.) These twin-partnerships ensure quality and the implementation of the RIPs at the same time.The projects MAIN OBJECTIVE is to improve regional policies concerning innovation funding in order to achieve the ultimate goal of reducing the (communication) gap between innovation and finance/market/people. Those policies should enable scarce public support to adopt the type of decision making process used by private investors to focus on businesses with the most potential. Secondly the project will work on the acceptance of translation methodologies between innovators and regional public finance. The partnership will make use of the knowledge existing in the partner regions to improve the effectiveness of regional policies especially in the area of innovation funding and the translation of research to public funds in order to: - select innovative start-ups for seed funding - identify research needs for businesses# identify innovative ideas for the societySub-OBJECTIVES are: A. Create regional stakeholder networks for the implementation of the measures B. Joint development of RIPs C. Promoting good practices. The project partnership decided to use an action oriented methodology which enables all partners to develop solutions which go beyond good practice exchanges. The project lifetime is divided in 5 interrelated phases and characterised by an intensive interregional exchange.Phase 1: Screening and exchanging good practice within the partnershipPhase 2: discussing good practices in a serious of Regional and national stakeholder meetingsPhase 3: design of the policies and methodologies in co-operation with the respective experts.Phase 4: Pilot Actions on improved regional policies on innovation funding or methodologies how to translate innovation to finance/market/peoplePhase 5: Development of the Regional Implementation Plan Achievements: The InnoFun project target is to innovate the Innovation Funding. The project discussed in the first working summits the slow selection process for funding as one of the bottlenecks for a successful innovation policy in Europe. Reasons for that slow selection process are: – No culture of pitching in Europe – Public funding only via written application forms – Lack of communication between innovators and finance – Public funds are too rigid and risk averse – Lack of cooperation between public and private funds Thus the InnoFun partnership decided to: • Simplify the communication between innovators and funders in order to improve the effectiveness of the selection process for funding – Clearer application structure – Transparent selection criteria – Use of new technologies for communication • Improve the cooperation between public funds with private investors – to focus on businesses with the most potential. – to enable leverage effects – to cooperate between public and private funds Thus the project partners also develop digital communication tools between innovators and regional public finance in order to close the communication gap between innovators and finance. • Close the communication gap: Digital vs. Paper – Digital Pitching vs. Letter of Interest – Digital Storytelling vs. Application Form – e-Voting vs. Closed selection process Further the partnership works on a closer cooperation between public and private funds in the selection process for funding. The first semester of the project was reserved for Phase 1 (Screening and exchanging good practice within the partnership). The project partners conducted therefore a screening of already existing ways of decision making processes in public funding schemes and how to present and select innovation for funding. Therefore all partners provided an example about decision making processes in public funding schemes from their region. The project partners already started to use digital devices such as digital tablets as a communication tool with the stakeholders. In the second phase all project partners conducted technical talks with all their relevant regional stakeholders in order to develop joint ideas for pilot actions and the regional implementations plans. In that way it can be assured that the project activities will be sustainable even after the project duration. The Component 4 leader PP 7 already started with the preparation of the structure and details for the Pilot Activities for Component 4. The first Pilot Activity should be digital pitching to translate a product idea from an SME to potential investors.
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