Shorter path to new financing opportunities in the EU
In 2021, Norwegian enterprises received a total of NOK 501 million in grants and equity from the EU’s EIC Accelerator programme. This creates opportunities.
Innovation Norway works purposefully to ensure that Norwegian trade and industry can seize the funding opportunities that are available in EU programmes. 2021 was also the year when Norway’s overall results from the large Horizon 2020 programme for the period 2014-2020 became available: Of a total of NOK 16.2 billion allocated to Norwegian research and innovation, NOK 4.2 billion went to Norwegian enterprises.
“The Norwegian business sector has put in tremendous efforts to compete for EU funding. Participation in Horizon 2020 has contributed to increased quality in Norwegian research, more innovative communities, better public services and a more competitive business sector throughout Norway”, says Håkon Haugli, CEO of Innovation Norway.
For every 10 kroner Norway has received from Horizon 2020, almost 3 kroner has gone to the business sector.
“This just shows the possibilities that are out there. However, I believe that the business sector can receive far more funding in the future from the new EU programmes launched in 2021”, says Haugli.
In with the new
2021 saw the start of the world’s largest research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe. With a budget of 95.5 billion Euros, as much as 35 percent will be used for climate purposes to achieve the green shift and sustainable value creation.
Horizon Europe has a number of market-oriented activities with announcements that expect commercialisation and innovation. This facilitates broad participation from the business sector.
Several Norwegian companies have applied. Innovation Norway’s regional EU advisors have assisted a number of companies throughout the country with application guidance, quality assurance of applications and pitching.
In competition with the rest of Europe, the Norwegian business sector has done very well in the EIC Accelerator programme for small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as in projects focusing on food, energy and the environment.
In 2021, small and medium-sized Norwegian enterprises received NOK 298 million in grants (2.9 percent of all available funding) and NOK 203 million in equity (3.15 percent of all available funding) from the EIC Accelerator programme.
This funding is highly sought after. Making the cut is very difficult, which makes writing a successful application even more of an achievement. The accelerator finances companies that have developed groundbreaking innovations which lead to major and positive effects on the environment and society.
Nils Helset, co-founder and head of the Hamar-based company called Digifarm, says that he spent quite a long time processing the fact that his company had received NOK 60 million from the programme:
“It provides us with what we need to be able to commercialise and expand”, says Helset.
Digifarm has developed technology that makes it possible to map agricultural satellite data. It has positive environmental effects.
“Admission to the EU’s programmes provides companies with great recognition. The companies receive confirmation that they are among the leaders in Europe within their respective fields, and that their products and services represent solutions to societal problems.
Technology initiative for women
EU programmes are usually a somewhat challenging landscape to manoeuvre in. In addition, when everything is new, the demands to deliver purposeful application assistance and advice are even higher.
For example, when the EU launched its very first funding scheme for female technology entrepreneurs in 2021. In March 2022, the results were ready: Norway received as much as eight percent of the funding within WomenTech EU, equivalent to approximately NOK 3 million. The technology company also receives coaching and accelerator services in addition to the funding.
“This is the first time the EU has announced such funds targeted at female entrepreneurs, so it is particularly impressive that Norway is doing so well in a programme that has never existed before”, says Anette Mellbye, Director of Growth and Commercialisation at Innovation Norway.
One of the successful companies that received support from WomenTech EU is Kaass Discovery, a biotechnology company based in Porsgrunn. The money, recognition and network that comes with this allocation is of great value to the company.
“We have received funding for the A-DOC project, which will use artificial intelligence to monitor health and diseases at home. We are very proud, happy and humbled by the interest that both the European Commission and Innovation Norway have shown us in this project. This gives us the opportunity to grow as an artificial intelligence-based company, and provides us with access to a very useful network in Europe. It’s also a nice feather to have in our cap regarding further funding from the EU” says Kåss.
Innovation Norway has also received a number of EU programmes in the period 2021-2027, where Norway participates as a full member of Horizon Europe, COSME, DIGITAL, InvestEU and the European Defence Fund.