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Many Finnish companies miss an opportunity to get EU funding because Finland lacks a national strategy to support this.
The European Commission announced today the research and development areas that it will provide funding for in Horizon 2020 programme in the first two years. Total expected funding for Horizon 2020 during the seven year period is between 70 and 80 billion euros of which 20 % will be distributed to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s). Finnish SME’s should pay attention because now companies can apply for funding individually.
Horizon 2020 will be much more industrial- and SME-oriented than the previous programmes. According to Pekka Koponen, CEO of innovation consultancy Spinverse, Horizon 2020 is a new funding source for Finnish growth companies and startups. Koponen thinks the challenge is that the proposal writing know-how is poor in Finnish SME sector. Proper preparation of a proposal is laborious because the national funding instruments and expertise are dispersed.
“Finland lacks a national strategy for EU funding. Finland should clarify its own objectives and internal division of labour”, says Koponen in Kauppalehti.
Most of the EU countries have guidelines regarding the division of labour between governmental actors. Similar strategy for Finland would be much appreciated.
“Finland is facing a great risk that our SME’s don’t get their fair share of the funding because we lack the adequate expertise and support”, says Koponen.
Spinverse’s Director of Europe Laura Kauhanen says that SME’s in Finland on average are applying meagerly for EU funding compared to the rest of the Europe. A few active companies have had successful applications, but after the few top companies on the list the number of applications decline quickly.