From an innovative idea to an actual financed project
The European funding programs offer the opportunity to reduce the costs related to the development of ambitious and innovative entrepreneurial projects, as well as to open new markets and get in touch with new strategical suppliers and potential customers.
The consultancy on European funds, that Social IT offers by sharing the skills and competences gained in the field, supports companies in finding EU programs and initiatives aimed at financing innovative ideas in many different sectors.
European projects: What are they?
European funding programs are one of the main tools to achieve, at a strategic level, the objectives and priorities of the European Union, and to provide, at an operational level, a concrete response to the real needs of European citizens. They are the result of a complex legislative process (e.g., definition of priorities, technical formulation, vote of approval) that involves all the EU institutions (European Commission, European Parliament and EU Council) and determines the nature of the projects that will be financed. The amount of available allocations is identified based on the overall EU budget.
Accessing European funds represents an outstanding opportunity to support the growth of SMEs and to keep the production competitive at international level. The European Commission pays particular attention to SMEs, allocating several millions euros in the form of grants for companies that want to develop innovation in any sector, generating new products or services to be placed on the EU market.
Access to European funds: Which are the tools available?
The areas covered by EU projects and programmes are several: research and innovation, employment and social inclusion, agriculture and rural development, humanitarian aid, urban and regional development, maritime policies. Consulting services on European projects start from the search and identification of the most suitable call for the project idea. A specific call may indeed address several multidisciplinary interventions and it becomes very important to evaluate each of them carefully, even if they are not strictly related to the main relevant sector of interest.
European projects are available through various grants/programmes:
- EU funding programs (direct management): they are centrally managed by the European Commission and require the involvement of an international consortium representing several EU countries (e.g., Horizon2020, Horizon Europe, Erasmus +, SME Instrument)
- Structural Funds (indirect management): they are managed in a decentralized manner by dedicated Managing Authorities at national and regional level, and their aim is to reduce the economic and structural gap among European regions and to promote a global economic and social development. They require a local dimension (e.g., ESF – European Social Fund, ERDF – European Regional Development Fund, CF – Cohesion Fund)
- European Territorial Co-operation: they aim at creating joint projects between regions belonging to different Member States that share the geographical proximity (e.g., Interreg Alpine Space, Interreg Central Europe)
Funding are generally granted in the form of one of the following:
- Call for tenders: specific request for punctual actions aimed at realizing products, services or supplies according to the specific need of the awarding institution.
- Call for proposals/Grants: calls are specifically related to the EU objectives and challenges. The answers to these calls are made by the participants in line with their institutional order.
More information on the calls are made available by the European Union in the “Guide to EU funding”
Social IT is a European project consulting company that helps its customers to perceive the importance of European funding, understanding their scope, functioning and general structure, providing all the useful tools and information for accessing the funds.
Social IT shares the knowledge gained in the field of EU funding programs by offering assistance in the search of programs and initiatives aimed at financing innovative ideas in multiple sectors. We support companies in all phases of the preparation and management of a EU funding application, up to operational planning and project management in case of successful application.
European project consultancy services for the preparation of a project proposal
Consultancy services during the approved project life
Asking for European Funds: Why?
Participating to European projects can bring innumerable advantages from the point of view of the company:
- Ability to rapidly increase visibility and credibility in new areas. The breadth of partnerships with other SMEs, industry, universities and research centers promotes rapid and essential progress in terms of advertising and corporate prestige.
- Possibility to maintain high competitiveness. Advancing faster than competitors is the key for business success and R&D activities are an essential element. European projects provide a very fertile and stimulating ground where companies work alongside with research excellence at European level.
- Opportunity to explore new market segments and new regions. The technological innovation funding offers unprecedented opportunities to gather end-user feedback, providing fertile ground for the development of new products and services, thus opening the door to new markets and thus new potential suppliers and customers.
- Opportunity to find new business partners and develop international networks for new products. The collaborations that take place over the course of EU R&D projects allow meeting a large number of potential business partners, leading to key opportunities for future cooperation.
- Added value: direct financing. Many EU programs supply grants (non-repayable money ) to company for research and development activities. This is the case of the Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe programmes that allow 70% or 100% of the direct costs of the project to be financed.
- Possibility of hiring highly qualified personnel to carry out advanced project activities.
Consultancy on European funding is a tool to make European projects a real opportunity for everyone, facilitating entrepreneurship at European level.
European funding: the challenge
Competitiveness in this sector is very high and access to European funding must be deeply studied and made strategically successful by analyzing and planning medium- and long-term business priorities and comparing them with those of the European Commission.
Therefore, it is important both to analyze the individual calls and to evaluate the programs as a whole, in order to fully understand the requests from the European Commission and to be able to better structure the consortium with international partners.
Every project that aims to benefit from European funds must demonstrate its specific added value. In the context of European funding, it is not enough to be just in line with the objectives of the call for proposals and with the institutional aims of the proposing organization, but it is essential to demonstrate that the implementation of the project at the EU level, with the participation of several countries/territories, generates additional results compared to the simple sum of interventions at local level.
Consultancy on funding grants: not only Europe
Even at national and regional Italian level, there are grants for entrepreneurial projects with significant innovative content. These contributions are allocated by public bodies (e.g., Ministries, Regions, Municipalities) or public/private companies (e.g., Vodafone Foundation, TIM, Telecom) to cover part of the expenses involved in the business start-up activity or for the consolidation of established companies. Grants can be combined with other facilities such as low-interest loans, interest-rate incentives, zero-interest loans, repayment of bank interest or leasing.
Social IT consultancy on European funding helps SMEs also at local level to find the most appropriate financial support for their business development.