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Innovation projects in SMEs 2020

We offer early-stage funding for small and medium-sized companies who want to start innovation Projects.

The offer in brief

What can you apply for?

Projects that will lead to new products, services or processes. Examples of eligible activities are prototyping, demo, testing and validation.

Who can apply?

Limited companies (Aktiebolag) with min 3 and max 249 employees and that can present at least 2 annual reports (årsredovisning). The companies must have a permanent establishment in Sweden and be able to show that they can cover their part of the financing.

How much can you apply for?

Up to 2 million SEK or up to 50 percent av the total eligible costs (whichever is strictest).

Important dates

  • The call in detail

    • Small and medium-sized companies make up a significant part of the Swedish business community in terms of number of companies and number of employees.

      As part of our mission, Vinnova wants to strengthen the innovation capacity of small and medium-sized companies and promote their competitiveness, attractiveness and long-term perspective.

      We do this by financing activities that have the potential to promote economic development and contribute to a sustainable society. This can be done partly as a return on the investment we make with public funds; partly because sustainability opens up new opportunities and can lead to increased attractiveness, increased investments and increased profits.

      Since gender equality is a prerequisite for sustainable growth, we want our funding both women and men. We also want our investments lead to a diversified and more equal business and social development that makes Sweden an international role model.

      Read more about our work with gender equality innovation and what it means for you who are funding for funding from us.

      With the call Innovation projects in small and medium-sized companies, we want to contribute to the development of innovations such as

      • creates or improves the conditions for companies to strengthen their competitiveness and value creation. By innovation we mean that the intended solution must be new and bring great value. The value can either be in relation to the company's customers by addressing their needs in a significantly better way than competing or alternative solutions; or to the company itself by creating decisive competitive advantages for the company in terms of reduced costs or increased productivity (eg more efficient production, new business model, etc.).
      • creates or improves the conditions for companies to broaden their customer base by exploiting existing or new markets
      • creates or improves the conditions for companies to develop new knowledge and other unique assets, tangible or intangible, which strengthen companies' business sustainability and give companies an edge in the development and exploitation of future innovations
      • creates or improves the conditions for companies to strengthen their long-term competitiveness and attractiveness, by investing in the development of sustainable innovations, ie new products, services and processes that contribute to a sustainable society
      • improves the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises to drive and lead future innovation projects
      • is in an early development stage where the company has difficulty investing in development or obtaining private funding due to. uncertainties and risks

      On sustainability

      The goals for sustainable development offer great opportunities for the business community to develop their business. As the global demand for sustainable products, services and infrastructure increases, integrating a sustainable perspective into its activitiesis a strong success factor.

      More and more companies have realized how their work to achieve the global goals for sustainable development in Agenda2030 gives greater meaning and commitment to customers and employees, which often leads to increased profitability and productivity.

      Read more about Vinnova's work to achieve the global goals

      See more examples of how companies contribute to the global goals

    • This call for proposals is aimed at established small and medium-sized limited companies that want to start and run project with a high degree of innovation in the early stages of development, where other funding is difficult to obtain.

      We target companies that already have a product on the market and that have both the will and the ability to grow and strengthen their competitiveness and value creation by investing in innovation.

      For details on what we mean by innovation and which project and activities we want to finance within the framework of the call, see the chapter What do we finance?

      The company must have an operating location in Sweden, where the operations for the project will be conducted.

      For a list of all eligibility requirements, see the chapter Prerequisites for us to assess proposal

    • We finance project that will lead to products, services or processes that are characterized by a high degree of innovation and that have

      • a novelty value in the market, ie that they are new or significantly better for the customer than competing or alternative existing solutions


      • a news value for the company itself, ie that they create decisive competitive advantages in terms of reduced costs or increased productivity

      The proposed solution should also be sustainable in line with one or more of the goals for sustainable development in Agenda 2030, without this being at the expense of other objective.

      An approved project may start no earlier than 11 March 2021, however, no later than 1 June 2021. The project may run until 31 December 2022.

      Activities for funding can be applied for

      The activities you are funding for funding for must be development activities. For example, it could be that:

      • develop new knowledge
      • validate and verify new business models
      • develop a first working prototype, including components that form part of complex systems
      • perform demonstration, pilot work, or testing and validation of new or improved products, processes or services whose properties have not yet been finally decided, with the aim of enabling further technical improvements
      • perform a so-called Freedom to Operate analysis (FTO)

      See chapter Decision and term for information on support levels for each category of activities.

      Examples of activities we do not fund

      • Investigation of market conditions prior to the development project. Aspects such as competitive situation, customer needs, potential customers and partners as well as a hypothesis about a business model must be investigated and clearly described in the project application.
      • Work with intellectual property and regulatory conditions as well as development of intellectual property strategies and protection (with the exception of FTO analyzes)
      • Routine or recurring changes of existing goods, manufacturing methods, manufacturing processes, services or other ongoing activities (ie activities that can be expected to be included in ordinary product development). This is true even if the changes may involve improvements
      • Marketing and sales, ordinary business development (for example launching an existing offer in a new market), ongoing operations, investments in equipment / tools, quality assurance, certification or equivalent (for example CE marking) as well as training initiatives and courses

      Eligible costs

      Our funding is through funding. Funding for organizations that conduct financial activities covered by rules on state support.

      The rules govern, among other things, the types of costs and the proportion of them that may be covered by funding.

      Government support for financial activities (companies)

      Rules for which costs are eligible

      By eligible costs we mean the costs that you have to carry out the project and which can be fully or partially covered by our funding.

      The basic conditions for a cost to be eligible are that it must

      • be real and auditable
      • is borne by the applicant company
      • be attributable to the project
      • have arisen during the project period stated in our decision
      • must be determined in accordance with the company's usual accounting principles and good accounting practice
      • be in accordance with the company's own internal policies and guidelines

      Accounting for project costs must be distinguishable in the accounting from the company's other transactions.

      Read more about the costs that are considered eligible

      About VAT

      As a general rule, all eligible costs must be reported excluding VAT. This means that VAT is not an eligible cost.

      If your company is not liable for VAT reporting, however, VAT can be an actual cost and is then eligible. Only if you as a company can prove that the VAT is an actual cost to you may it be included and form part of the eligible costs. You must then raise the VAT together with the cost to which the VAT belongs and not separately.

    • The maximum funding that can be granted per project is SEK 2 million.

      In this call for proposals, Vinnova finances up to 50 percent of the company's eligible costs in the applied project. Note, however, that this aid intensity is not possible to achieve for some project. Financing share of project depends on company size and by category of activity that you are seeking funds (see chapter Decisions and term for more information).

      The company's own part of the financing may not consist of funding from other public actors than Vinnova, such as other state authorities or state-owned companies.

      Please note that loans from public actors such as Almi, in some cases can be considered funding and thus constitute state aid. In the event that co-financing takes place via such a loan, it is up to each individual applicant to ensure that the loan does not constitute funding.

    • We will only assess applications that meet the following formal eligibility requirementsby the closing date of the call:

      The company

      • Applicant company is a limited company
      • The company has an office in Sweden. Activities for the intended project are conducted at the Swedish site and the costs of the project are borne by the site
      • The company has submitted at least 2 annual reports to the Swedish Companies Registration Office, the latest of which must be attached to this proposal while the previous one must be submitted at any interview and only at the request of Vinnova
      • The company has a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 249 employees. The requirement refers to the average number of employees (work volume during the financial year calculated in the number of full-time positions) according to the most recently registered annual report
      • The most recently registered annual report shows that net sales exceed SEK 1 million
      • The company has not submitted more than one proposal in this call for proposals
      • company has been reported any prior approved project within the programs Innovation projects in companies, innovative start-ups and Social Innovation

      The project

      • The amount applied for amounts to a maximum of SEK 2 million and corresponds to a maximum of 50 percent of the project's total eligible costs
      • The company's part of the financing does not consist of funding from public actors other than Vinnova, such as other state authorities or state companies
      • The activities that the company will carry out during the project period have not started when this proposal is submitted to Vinnova


      • The attached project description is made according to the mandatory template. The description comprises a maximum of 14 pages
      • The most recently registered annual report has been attached to proposal. The annual report must be signed
      • Proposal is written in Swedish or English
    • Applications received will be assessed against the following criteria


      Kriteriet Potential is divided into the sub-criteria Innovation and Competitiveness and Sustainability

      Innovation and competitiveness
      • To what extent proposal credibly account for and justify that the intended solution has a high news value or innovation height?
      • To what extent proposal credibly account for and justify that the intended solution addresses a concrete customer need and creates a clear and unique customer benefit compared to competing alternatives and gives rise to customers' willingness to pay and a profitability for the company; or that the solution creates decisive competitive advantages for the company in terms of, for example, reduced costs or increased productivity
      • To what extent proposal credibly report that there is a clearly described reachable market that can generate growth and profitability for the company, and that that market can be gradually reached with the strategy and business model described
      • To what extent proposal credibly account for and motivate that the company through the project can develop new knowledge and other assets, tangible or intangible, that improve the company's ability and conditions to develop future innovations
      • To what extent proposal credibly argue that the proposed solution contributes positively to one or more of the objectives of sustainable development in Agenda 2030, without risking this at the expense of other objective; that the proposal describes any risks in relation to the sustainability goals, any goal conflicts and planned measures to reduce possible negative effects that the project may entail


      • To what extent proposal show that the budget, plan and approach to the implementation of the project are credible and relevant in relation to the project's objective
      • To what extent proposal credibly show that the team and the company have access to the resources and skills and experience needed to carry out the project?


      • To the extent that the proposal credibly demonstrates that the company has the ability, and a convincing plan, to further develop, commercialize and exploit the project's results. In addition to the planned approach, the company's financial conditions and its role and position in the industry / value chain are valued.
      • To what extent proposal show that the company's strategy for managing intangible assets (if relevant) is credible
      • To what extent proposal credibly show that roles and responsibilities in the project team are equally distributed between women and men with regard to both the distribution of key positions and the temporal commitment of human resources in the planned work?

      Other aspects considered in our assessment

      In order for your project to be relevant for funding, it also applies that:

      • Theproject contains approved development activities (see chapter What do we finance? For examples of approved activities)
      • the company must be able to finance its share of the project's costs
      • the company can receive the funding it seeks under the state aid rules (see chapter Decision and term) and that it is justified for Vinnova to provide state aid to the company given the company's access to its own resources and the possibilities for alternative funding in the private market

      For companies that have previously received funding from Vinnova, the implementation and outcome of the previous project will be considered in our decision.

      How do we rate?

      Applications received compete with each other within the framework of the call budget.

      To assess which project best meet the assessment criteria, we evaluator from relevant areas and industries. The evaluators are specially appointed by Vinnova and work under secrecy.

      The assessment is based on the information contained in proposal. Each proposal that contains sufficient information to be able to be assessed and that meets all formal eligibility requirements (see chapter Prerequisites for us to assess proposal) is evaluated by area / industry by at least four evaluator.

      The project judged to best meet the criteria proceed in the selection process and called for an interview.

      Interviews are scheduled to take place digitally between January 25 and February 10, 2021.

      We will contact the companies to be interviewed between 18 and 22 January. Please note that we do not have the opportunity to update you before then.

      After the interview, Vinnova makes an overall assessment that forms the basis for our decision to grant or reject proposal.

    • About our decisions

      Funding granted with the support of section 9 of our ordinance (2015: 208) on state support for research and development and innovation, ie funding of research and development projects in accordance with Article 25 of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014.

      Läs Kommissionens Regulation (EU) No 651/2014

      The basis for support is stated in the decision and also governs which costs are eligible.

      Read more about eligible costs in chapter What do we finance?

      The project's activities must fall into one of the following categories:

      Maximum aid intensity in% of the project's total cost, depending on company size

      Category of activities you are seeking support for

      Small business

      Medium-sized company

      Large company

      Feasibility Study

      Example: performing a Freedom to Operate analysis




      Industrial research

      Example: Development of new knowledge, development of a first working prototype




      Experimental development

      Example: conducting demonstration, pilot work or testing and validation




      Definitions of the categories can be found in sections 85, 86 and 87 on page 25 of Regulation (EU) No 651/2014.

      Regarding company size, we use the definition of small and medium-sized companies according to the European Commission.

      Read more about this in the document User guide on the definition of SMEs

      OBS! Äger your company other companies to more than 25 percent, or your company is owned more than 25 percent by another company or investor, you may not be classified as a small or medium-sized company in the table above. In such cases, the maximum aid intensity will be adjusted to that applicable to large companies.

      Läs Kommissionens SMF definition or contact Vinnova if you have questions regarding this.

      Within the framework of the program Innovation projects in companies, we use standardized decision motives. This means that the reasons for the decision regarding rejection will only point out the criterion or criteria where the proposal in the competition has not been judged to be sufficiently convincing.

      Our decision to grant or reject a proposal is not subject to appeal.

      Term for granted funding

      Project may be started no earlier than 11 March 2021 (but no later than 1 June 2021) and end no later than 31 December 2022.

      For funding, our general terms and conditions for fundingapply. The terms include rules on project agreements, conditions for payment, follow-up, reporting and utilization of results.

      Our rules and term for funding

      special conditionsalso apply to everyone who is granted funding

      • The project manager must, at the latest when submitting the start report, be active in the applicant company
      • Vinnova's right under general terms and conditions § 7.3 to reproduce and disseminate all or parts of reports or other information about and from the project does not apply

      Additional special conditions can be determined for individual project.

      If you do not follow our term, you may be liable for a refund. This also applies if you have been granted funding incorrectly or with funding

    • Date
      30 Sep 2020

    How to apply

    To apply for funding, you need to log in and complete an application form in our eServices portal. The application form contains questions about your project, the participants taking part in the project and your budget. 

    Download document templates for your attachments

    Plesae download the templates for the documents you need to attach to your application such as a CV or project description.

    Please allow enough time

    Please keep in mind that it takes time to complete an application. Filling in the templates can take several days, since they're based on analyses you need to do. Therefore, start the application well in advance. You can start filling in your details, then save and continue at a later time.

    When you've completed your application, please mark it as done ("klar"). You can unlock and make changes to your application at any time until the call closes. If you unlock your application, you must mark it as done ("klarmarkera") if you want the application registered when the call closes. 

    This happens when the call for proposal closed

    Once your proposal registered, we will send a confirmation to the person responsible for the user account as well as to the project manager and company signer. This may take a few hours after the call for proposal closes.

    When the call for proposal closed, you cannot change or fill in any new information. Then you can only complete your proposal if we ask for it.

    Who can read your proposal?

    Applications submitted to us become public documents. But we do not disclose information about the business, inventions or research results if it can be assumed that someone is suffering financial damage if the information is shown.

    This means that we must disclose the documents if someone asks for them. But we secretly disclose the information that we believe could cause financial harm if disclosed.

    This is how we handle public documents and privacy

    Any questions?

    If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

    Team Innovationsprojekt i företag

    Kontaktpersoner på Vinnova

    +46 8 473 31 90

    Fund­ed pro­jects

    Reference number 2020-02903

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