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Boosting the Investment-Readiness of SMEs and Small Midcaps

Specific challenge: Europe lags behind other regions in technology transfer and the commercialisation of R&I. Lack of early-stage investment is a major factor contributing to this situation. Facilitating the interaction of potential investors with innovative SMEs and small midcaps participating in FP7 or Horizon 2020, together with preparing firms and entrepreneurs to negotiate more effectively with such investors, can help address this problem. In a complementary manner, investors can be trained to better understand the technologies and applications developed through FP7 and Horizon 2020 projects and thus make sounder decisions about their commercialisation potential.

Scope: Proposals should at minimum address:

1)      A survey of the major investment-readiness (training and pitching events) schemes in Europe, including those launched under FP7, such as the 'ICT Finance Marketplace' and 'European Investor Gate' initiatives.

2)      An analysis of lessons to be learnt from the above (proposals are expected to build on and reinforce the outcome of these schemes).

3)      The training of entrepreneurs (as the key focus of this action) and the sensitisation of investors.

4)      The planning and execution of pitching events.

5)      Strategies for involving a wide range of early-stage investors, including, at minimum, business angels, family offices and venture capitalists.

The main domains attracting equity investments for R&I — such as cleantech, ICT and medtech — should be targeted, along with a generic approach to other domains.

Proposers must have and must demonstrate a significant track-record in the investment-readiness field and also in-depth knowledge of early-stage investment.

Proposals must include a draft plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results of the activities undertaken.

DG Research & Innovation will ensure that companies taking part in Horizon 2020's SME Instrument have fast-track access to this investment-readiness scheme.

Expected impact:

         Better overview of the investment-readiness landscape in Europe.

         More entrepreneurs better prepared to negotiate effectively with potential investors.

         More investors with a better understanding of the commercialisation potential of technologies and applications developed through Horizon 2020 projects.

         More investments made into early-stage firms.

         Greater commercialisation of scientific knowledge in Europe.

Type of action: Coordination & Support Action (CSA).