CORDIS - EU research results

Capacity-building and transnational cooperation for National Contact Points (NCPs) for the EIC and Access to Risk Finance – Access2EIC


Report on Access2EIC activities under Euroquity

This deliverable will summarize the outputs of those project activities related to boost access to finance for a specific group of high potential companies, start-ups and spin offs, namely the Seal of Excellence of the new EIC Accelerator and companies emerging from Pathfinder calls. Based on the successful experience of Access4SMEs, providing matchmaking services between specific groups of businesses and investors will be possible at a very low cost by using the existing EuroQuity platform. The deliverable will also report on the management and the achievemts of the new on online Access2EIC communities of companies: - Existing label for NCPs, SME Instrument/EIC Accelerator Seal of Excellence companies and EU/EIF backed funds will be mantained for the purpose of the project. - A new one will be created in strict coordination with EIC Task Force for more earlier stages businesses/start ups emerging from Pathfinder projects.

Promotional guide to access to financial instruments and investors

This deliverable consists in a promotional guide for researchers, start-ups, SMEs, financial intermediaries able to clarify the main novelties included into the transition towards the new generation of financial instruments (InvestEu). The guide will include success stories, give tips and practical examples on how to approach opportunities both of the EIC Pilot with an emphasis on the EIC Accelerator blended finance and the current set of access to risk finance instruments. It will also make the bridge with previous promotional and training materials by briefly introducing the financial products under the new Invest EU, with particular reference to the Research, Innovation and Digitization as well as the SME Windows. It will be elaborated in close cooperation with the Commission and EIB/EIF services to be as accurate and up to date as possible on the evolutions of the EIC/InvestEU financial instruments and the scope of potential beneficiaries. This guide will be made available in an online-format as a download from project website for interested NCPs as well as for larger public.

Study on innovation support ecosystems

This deliverable aims to understand the interplay of the actors in the regional innovation ecosystem and help NCPs to localise counselling needs. This study contains a typology of actors in the innovation support system and an analysis of their role, activities offered and their scope (from financing to general support), also in view of support regarding the EIC. In order to give an overview of the support infrastructure, the following methods will be used: • Explorative interviews/survey with relevant stakeholders (e.g. research institutes, technology transfer organizations, clusters, DIHs, incubators, banks, VCs, business angels, etc.). • Desk research and literature review (identify relevant existing studies, papers etc.). • Short analysis of socioeconomic data of the regions. Interviews will be carried out in 1-4 different regions (depending on country size) in up to 10 countries in order to explore and highlight potential ideas and models to be replicated at Eu or national level, with particular reference to the identification, selection and support on high risk and high potential companies and the analysis of of EIC “mirror” funding schemes operative at national level. To ensure a broad dissemination and application of the findings within this task, the study will be publicly available. This study will build on the results and methodology of the pre-study on innovation ecosystems implemented in the predecessor project Access4SMEs. Within this pre-study in 4 partner MS (Bulgaria, Germany, Israel and Italy) first explorative interviews have already been conducted that formed the basis for a first study with recommendations for NCPs. The interview guidelines and framework of the pre-study will be built on in the more extensive study conducted within this task.

Toolbox for research outputs businesses

This deliverable aims to adapt the Access4SMEs toolbox to the Pathfinder participants (but also for other RIAs under H2020 and HE) to facilitate the transition from a R&D result to a business definition. Those tools are expected to be particularly effective for Transition to Innovation activities under the Pathfinder Pilot. Three dimensions will be covered: the business, the market and the company. These tools target mainly high risk companies, especially those led by researchers aiming to take to market the output of their R&D projects. A thorough analysis of usability of the tools will be performed in order to fine tune the final user interface to the expected target users, either through a dedicated workshop (see T2.3) or with user co-creation approaches. Considering the potential interest of this toolset, a special effort on training NCPs and participant in how to use them will be conducted in close collaboration with WP2, dedicated to training.

Conferences report + minutes

This deliverable will be based on the organization of 1 or 2 side events linked to the Innovative Enterprise Conferences organized by the European Commission in the project time-frame (or similar events). The aim is twofold: - to describe more largely the implementation specific aspects of the EIC pilot novelties to a wide range of stakeholders from the EU research and innovation ecosystem related to the EIC and EU-backed financial instrument. - To facilitate the matchmaking between specific profiles of high potential companies as start ups companies emerging from Pathfinder/FET projects and Accelerator Seal of Excellence holders (see T5.3). The NCP Network involvement will be standardized through a specific package of offer including: - The organization of a policy session within the general agenda of the event, to be defined in strict connection with the Commission and the other main organizer of the event. - The organization of a pitching session under T5.3 targeting different types of high business potential companies, start ups and spin offs and aimed to facilitate the matchmaking with private investors. These sessions will be organized by means of the NCP Network’s community set up on the matchmaking platform EuroQuity. - The arrangement of a NCP booth aimed at informing participant on project activities and tools as well as on funding opportunities available in the H2020 and EIC frame.

Report on implementation on synergies with other support networks

Report on activities and outputs based on the collaboration with relevant networks such as other NCP Networks EEN otherThe activities reported will include exchange of information creating twoway communication channels synergies where possible organize common events and exchange best practices in order to help both the EIC Network and the EIC prospective clients Various mechanisms may be included such as benchmarking joint workshops enhanced crossborder brokerage events common roadshows in relevant research and innovation events and specific training linked to particularities of the EIC Pilot As part of the communication strategy of Task 61 a number of at least 10 flagship events will be identified and highlighted as perspective collaborating events with Access2EIC

Report on ACCESS2EIC events

This deliverable will report the outputs of those project activitites devoted to outreach and support potential applicants in those countries that have been participating at low levels in the programme up to now. These activities should not only help the NCPs rapidly acquire the know-how on NCP operations accumulated in best practice countries but should include in priority awareness raising actions aimed at increasing visibility of the EIC Pilot to potential applicant organisations in the selected countries. A target of at least 5 events is foreseen and priority will be given on EU-13 countries and associated countries. A standard format for the event will be adopted covering both the Pathfinder and Accelerator programmes comprising of an informative and practical session (raising awareness session) as well as a capacity-building session about proposal preparation and best practices for success. Where possible these events will be organized in occasion of larger event in order to ensure a large presence of potential applicants targeting both EIC Pathfinder and Accelerator calls including talents and innovators coming from universities, RTOs, start ups, spin offs, companies, industries, but also relevant stakeholders such as incubators, accelerators, funding and innovation agencies etc. Access2EIC events will be organized in collaboration with the European Commission (EIC Task forces) when possible.

Pathfinder factsheet

This deliverable will identify key characteristics and patterns of FET Open und FET Proactive projects and help Pathfinder applicants in their application phase. Special attention will be devoted to the new “bridge” actions aimed to facilitate the passage from basic research stages to close to market activities, notably the Pathfinder Transition to Innovation activities and the Innovation Launchpad based on their first deadlines (Autumn 2019) evaluation outputs. The collaboration with the FET-funded CSA (as BRIEFING project) will be sought. In order to support FET NCPs in their advisory function, a fact sheet with relevant information for successful Pathfinder participation will be compiled. The factsheet will enable FET NCPs to classify project ideas and get an overview over the formal requirements. Moreover, tips for consortia compilation and characteristics of projects which have been funded for both Pathfinder (and its precursors) will be provided. The information needed for the factsheets will be based on statistical data, information from the Commission and evaluators (meet&exchange with evaluators; see WP2), public online databases and experiences of FET NCPs. At least 5 funded projects for each of the Pathfinder instrument will be analized. To ensure a broad dissemination and application of the findings within this task, results will feed into the training modules designed for FET NCPs (see WP2) and will be made accessible to the public.

Report on Communication and Dissemination Activities

The Plan will be based on the communication strategy developed in the framework of the Access4SMEs project and will be adopted to accommodate the formation of the EIC, facilitate the new programmes, namely the Pathfinder and the Accelerator, and expand the stakeholders to include the RTO community. The strategy will also include an updated visual identity of the project to reflect the Network’s role as a support mechanism for EIC. The strategy will be presented and agreed at the consortium level in the early stages of the project. During the project, the communication plan will be revisited and readjusted according to the experience gained. Throughout the duration of the project, a number of electronic and audiovisual material including relevant factsheets, infographics and guides will be produced aiming at NCPs, EIC prospective beneficiaries, a variety of stakeholders and the wider public. The material will focus on the promotion of the new EIC programmes, the production of Guides for applicants with best practices and success factors, Reports on performance and other outcomes of the project.

Due diligence KPIs dashboard

This deliverable aims to debrief the due diligence elements of the blended finance proposed by the EIC Accelerator, with a special focus to understand those parameters (mainly financials) that may lead to a negative due diligence output. We will also keep duly into account the specific features of the equity investment process as performed by the new EIC Fund (the EC goal to mobilize additional investments; to take equity stake in situations when not sufficient capital is available on the market; potential co-investors are welcome; the non intrusive role in the daily management of the company; the exit strategies; etc.). Furthermore, the task will do a friendly approach for the main term sheet of any investment conducted under the EIC fund, including, where relevant typical range of values that can served SME as reference to approach with more confident to the equity part of the EIC Accelerator. With this aim, as soon as the first of EIC Fund Due Diligence round will be completed, 10 successful (signing the agreement with EIC Fund) and 10 unsuccessful companies (non signing the agreement with EIC Fund) from at least 5 different Member States taking part in the due diligence process will be evaluated. The outcomes of a detailed questionnaire aimed to register current practices, assess performance (KPIs) and identify areas for improvement will be fused into a single report. Key advantages from the companies’ point of view will be analyzed and highlighted.

Communication and Dissemination Action Plan

The Communication and Dissemination Strategy deliverable will oversee the activities towards the stated objectives above. The plan will: • Contain a mapping of all stakeholders and their respected information needs. • Match stakeholders with the most appropriate information streams. • Propose ways to introduce stakeholders into the Network’s communication channels. • Propose a strategy and a timeline for the communication and dissemination activities and events for the duration of the project.

Company valuation analysis: Tools and services useful for SME

This deliverable will first monitor company valuation between the info the company puts in the EIC Accelerator proposal, the final valuation obtained for the blending through the EIC fund and the fair value obtained for the company through different commercial methodologies. Ideally, this deliverable will be based on the signed operation with the EIC fund between Q3 and Q4 2020. In parallel, this task will challenge how companies fill in such tools from a face to face perspective with a professional investment broker (direct cost of 2,500 – 3,000€ per case). This will allow not only to check how valuation change when confronted with experts in investment but also to assess if this kind of service help companies to structure and justify better their business case. For this exercise, at least 10 companies aiming to apply for the EIC accelerator will be selected from at least 3 countries. In order to be able to extract learnings, a common frame of analysis will be defined with the professional investment brokers selected. In order to check the potential benefit of this “challenged” valuation, a follow-up mechanism will be set up for the companies being involved in the exercise.

Annotated Accelerator project proposal template

This deliverable will provide applicants with tips and approaches on how to draft a successful proposal/business plan. It will include e.g. examples of competitor analysis, commercialization plan, good IPR strategies, etc. The tips will, among others, be taken from successful Accelerator proposals (at least 10) that partner NCPs have previously identified and consulted and will be abstracted to a more general level. If suitable, parts of the previously published annotated SME instrument template will be used as well. A first version of the annotated proposal template will be available in M8. This version will be a draft that will be further updated and elaborated in cooperation with partner NCPs during the project timeframe. The annotated template will be made available in an online format as a download for interested NCPs as well as directly for applicants from the A2EIC website. That way a broad coverage and dissemination can be ensured. In order to learn and assess what makes a good proposal the experts evaluating the proposal can give valuable input. Therefore, within WP2 a structured exchange with evaluators is envisaged. During one half-day workshop project evaluators will be invited to share their experience and recommendations to SMEs. The findings of this meet&exchange will also be included in the annotated template.

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