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Innovative Startups step 1 spring 2021

Are you a small, newly started company that wants to grow in Sweden and has an innovative and international competitive business concept? In that case, the Innovative Startups offer can be something for you.

This web page has been machine translated. If there are any uncertainties, please refer to the Swedish text.

The offer in brief

What can you apply for?

Develop prototypes, develop the business model or create strategies to protect the company´s new solution.

Who can apply?

Small, start-up companies that are younger than five years, have annual sales lower than SEK 2 million and have not distributed profits.

How much can you apply for?

In this step you can apply for SEK 300,000.

Before you start your proposal

The questions in the application template are largely based on the fact that you have had a dialogue with your potential customers. In order to be able to design a good proposal, it is therefore important that you understand who the customer and the user are and what their needs and problems are. As support in this, you can, for example, take the help of the "customer test" Almi designed. It is a self-assessment for validation and verification of customer needs and customer situation. Note that you can do the self-assessment several times if you realize that certain customer questions need to be improved.

Read more about Almi's customer test,

Important dates

  • The call in detail

    • The renewal of markets, industries and societies is driven and developed through competing innovative ideas and initiatives from companies, innovators and entrepreneurs. The development takes place under uncertainty about what will succeed and only a few will be successful. The uncertainty and risks that entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups take by daring to test new technologies, business models and products / services in new innovative ways constitute important engines in the renewal of markets, industries and societies. Even if the projects would not lead to the results hoped for, the individuals' lessons are valuable as these individuals often start new innovative projects project. Programmet Innovativa Startups is one of several initiatives within the framework of Vinnova's activities that, among other things, intend to contribute to a more experimental economy.

      In the Innovativa Startups program, Vinnova wants to support young, innovative and equal companies that, with the help of our funding, validate, verify and develop their business and the solution the business is based on. The goal is to create conditions for companies to develop their operations in phases where other funding is difficult to obtain.

      In the short term, through this call for proposals within Innovativa Startups, we want to contribute to:

      • Increased ability of young companies to build businesses by interacting with the market, verifying and validating offers and business models
      • increased awareness among young companies to work with sustainability and gender equality as competitive factors in their business

      In the long term, through this call for proposals, we want to contribute to:

      • more companies that have developed their business acumen, grow and are profitable in international competition
      • more companies whose innovation contributes to creating value for the customer, society and the environment
      • a sustainable and equal business that strengthens Sweden's competitiveness through innovations that contribute to the sustainability goals in Agenda 2030
    • After the project is completed, we expect you to have, for example:
      • further developed your product, service or process
      • reduced the risks in your business model
      • attracted new customers, financiers, partners, networks, skills
      • strengthened the company's position and developed new lessons and assets through the project
      • increased your understanding of how your company interacts with the surrounding society, mainly with regard to sustainability and gender equality
    • We target start-up Swedish companies that want to contribute to sustainable growth in a global market and whose activities are based on innovative products or services and are scalable. We attach great importance to sustainability and therefore the company's activities must be able to contribute to the UN's sustainability goals according to Agenda 2030.

      Formal eligibility requirements for applicant companies regarding age, size, company form, etc., are reported under the section Formal eligibility requirements for the proposal to be assessed. The company must meet all eligibility requirements to be eligible for assessment and granting of funding.

    • On sustainability

      Sustainability is about environmental, economic and social aspects and their impact on society and the environment. Simply described, a sustainable business model must ensure that the positive effects in the model exceed the possible negative effects on society and / or the environment.

      Positive effects> negative effects

      Your service or product is likely to have both negative and positive effects on society and the environment. Think for yourself what effects will be created through the use of your product or service. Which stakeholders will be affected either positively and / or negatively by the effects?

      An example: Suppose your company runs a process for efficient use of resources in engineering companies. In a larger perspective, you contribute to reduced deforestation due to the need for less paper and thus a smaller amount of raw material is required in production. At the same time, it may be that in your process by-products arise that have harmful effects on the environment. Can the positive effects created by your business outweigh the negative effects?

      Does your business concept contribute to the Agenda 2030 goals?

      Innovations are crucial to achieving the UN's sustainability goals in Agenda 2030. The more innovations based on sustainable business ideas, the greater the chance that we will jointly come closer to the goal for Agenda 2030. Think about what effects your business idea will create. Can the positive effects contribute to one or more of the Agenda 2030 goals?

      The 17 global goals are integrated. If the business idea contributes to one of the goals, one or more other objective or sub-goals are often affected. As the company's business model develops, you need to be able to follow up the effects and clearly demonstrate that your business idea produces the results you have promised.

      Gender equality

      Gender equality is a prerequisite for sustainable growth and is found in Agenda 2030, as an objective in itself but also as a perspective that will permeate the work with all objective. The call must therefore contribute to a gender-equal development of society linked to two main perspectives.

      One aspect is that both women and men receive the grant in an equal way, participate in and have an influence over the project. Another important aspect is about analyzing and deciding whether there are gender equality aspects (gender and / or gender) that are relevant within the solution's problem area and utilization. A tip is to read more about what our work for gender equality innovation means for you who are applying for funding from us.

    • How much funding can you apply for?

      Vinnova's funding is provided through funding. Vinnova can provide funding for up to 100 percent of the eligible costs, however, a maximum of SEK 300,000.

      What can Vinnova's funding be used for?

      • to identify and test a market / customer benefit hypothesis, estimate the resources and activities required to take the company to the next level
      • to develop and test prototypes
      • to develop strategies to protect the company's new idea or project. Please note that the costs of applying for a patent are not eligible.
      • to test different channels to reach potential customers, financiers, partners, networks, competencies
      • to build a relationship with potential customers and partners
      • to identify and test strengths and weaknesses regarding the validation, verification and development of the business

      Eligible costs

      Vinnova's funding is provided through funding. Funding for organizations that conduct financial activities is covered by rules on state support. The rules govern, among other things, which types of costs are eligible and what proportion of them may be financed through funding.

      You may, for example, use the following type of grant for:
      • staff costs and costs for consultants and licenses
      • depreciation costs for instruments, equipment and buildings that are relevant to the project during the project period
      • costs for materials, travel expenses and the like
      Prerequisites for a cost to be eligible is that it must, among other things:
      • be factual and verifiable
      • have been obtained from the applicant company
      • have arisen during the project period
      • must be determined in accordance with the company's usual accounting principles and good accounting practice
      • be reasonable and have arisen solely for the implementation of the project,
      • be in accordance with the applicant company's internal policies and guidelines, in particular with regard to environmental and climate impact

      Read more about the costs that are considered eligible

      Note that unpaid working time (also called pro-bono) is not an eligible cost and thus not allowed as co-financing. All salaries must be paid and booked, ie be actual and auditable, just like other costs in order for them to be eligible.

    • How do we rate?

      Applications that meet all of the above formal eligibility requirements are reviewed by at least three specially appointed evaluator appointed by Vinnova.

      We do not accept additions to applications afterwards, unless we have requested them ourselves.

      We take credit information on companies that are relevant for funding, including any partner and affiliated companies.

      What do we assess?

      Proposal is assessed on the basis of the assessment criteria below to identify which project have the greatest potential and are in need of funding.

      Note that the question of gender and / or gender perspective, which is at the beginning of the application template, is also included as part of our assessment.

      • to what extent the proposal credibly shows that Vinnova's funding is used to validate, verify and develop the business and the solution the business is based on
      • to what extent Vinnova's funding has a decisive role in the implementation of the project
      • to what extent the proposal credibly justifies why and how the business idea and solution is innovative or significantly better than existing business ideas / solutions in the area and in the relevant market
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the business concept and the solution meet a need / demand in the market and that the business concept is scalable
      • to what extent the proposal clearly shows that the company has intangible assets that give it an edge over its competitors
      • to what extent the proposal clearly shows that the budget, plan and approach to the project are relevant in relation to the project's objective, for example if staff costs, consultancy fees or indirect costs are reasonable (not too high or too low)
      • to what extent the proposal clearly shows that the company plans to reach and engage customers, users, financiers and partners in the work and how the company will retain these after the implementation of the project
      • to what extent the proposal clearly shows that the company has the skills, experience, network and resources needed to implement the development the company is seeking money for
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the company contributes positively to the UN's sustainability goals in Agenda 2030
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the company strives to increase its positive effects and minimize its negative effects from a sustainability perspective
      Gender equality
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the company has argued for the relevance of gender and / or gender perspective linked to the company's area of activity and / or solution
      • to what extent the proposal credibly and convincingly demonstrates an awareness of gender equality within the team and in the distribution of key positions within the company
    • In order for a proposal to be assessed and approved, the company must meet all of the following formal eligibility requirements. The requirements must be met both by the application deadline of 19 January 2021 and the decision date of 15 April 2021.

      The formal requirements are based on the state aid rules for funding start-ups and the EU definition of small and medium-sized enterprises. Vinnova's eligibility requirements are somewhat narrower than these rules for us in this call for proposals to reach our intended target group. All categories of small businesses are eligible to apply, provided that any partner and affiliated companies together with the applicant company meet the personnel and turnover requirements.

      Read more about the EU definition of small and medium-sized enterprises and what partner and affiliate companies.

      The ownership picture of the applicant company must be stated in proposal, including whether the applicant company is covered by the exemption rule and, if so, which / which owner it is. The exception rule is described in the EU SME definition on page 17.

      Read more about the state aid rules for funding start- ups

      It is your responsibility to ensure that the information you provide in your proposal is correct. This means that you bear the risk in the event of a review and decision on recovery. Please note that on request you must be able to present documentation that proves that the following is correct on the dates specified in the call text and in connection with any revision.

      We will only assess applications that meet the following formal eligibility requirements:

      • Applicant company is a Swedish registered limited company that conducts activities in Sweden. Swedish limited liability company in this case also includes foreign limited liability companies that have a Swedish branch registered with the Swedish Companies Registration Office. The project will be run by the Swedish branch, which will also bear the costs.
      • Applicant companies have a maximum of 49 employees, please note that this includes any partner and affiliate companies
      • Applicant company is younger than five years (at the time of decision 15 April 2021), ie registered no earlier than 15 April 2016. If the company is a newly acquired warehouse company, the age of the company is calculated from when the company was registered with the Swedish Companies Registration Office.
      • Applicant companies are not listed
      • Applicant company has not taken over another company's activities
      • Applicant companies have not distributed profits
      • Applicant companies have not been formed through a concentration (unless all the companies concentrated were younger than five years)
      • Applicant companies have a net turnover or balance sheet total of less than SEK 2 million in the most recent financial statements (financial year 2019 or 2020). If a financial statement has not yet been prepared, you may estimate net sales and total assets for the financial year 2020. Please note that this includes any partner and affiliated companies.
      • Applicant companies have submitted a maximum of one proposal.
      • Applicant companies do not have an ongoing project or proposal for preparation within the Innovativa Startups program or Innovation projects in companies.

      In addition, the project manager for the project must be employed in or signatory for the applicant company during the project period.

      Mandatory attachments
      • documents corresponding to registration certificates for foreign companies, for example if the applicant company has a foreign owner or subsidiary (in the cases where it is relevant)
      Voluntary Appendix
      • an attachment of a maximum of two pages, for example illustrations or explanatory diagrams

      Please note that no attachments other than those requested may be attached to proposal.

    • About our decisions

      Granted funding decided with the support of Article 22 of EU Commission Regulation No. 651/2014, support for start-ups.

      Funding may be granted on the basis of the support "Minority support" also known as " Support de minimis", in accordance with EU Commission Regulation No. 1407/2013.

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

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

      Term for approved projects project

      Companies that are granted funding must comply with Vinnova's general terms and conditions that apply at the decision date. The general terms and conditions contain, among other things, rules on conditions for payment, follow-up, reporting and utilization of results.

      We may make recurring follow-ups of effects from, for example, market introductions and follow-on investments for up to ten years after the project has ended.

      If you do not follow Vinnova's term, you may be liable for repayment. This also applies if you provide incorrect information, have been granted funding incorrectly or with an excessive amount.

    • Date
      05 Nov 2020
      Updating the hyperlink Formal eligibility requirements for the proposal to be assessed in section 3.
      05 Nov 2020
      Update of title on heading number 7.
      05 Nov 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. 

    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 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 is closed

    Once your proposal registered, we will email a confirmation to the person in charge of the user account and to the project manager and the signatory. This may take a few hours after the call is closed.

    When the call is closed, you can not 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 release the documents if someone requests them. However, we keep confidential the information that we believe could cause financial damage if it is disclosed.

    How we handle public documents and confidentiality

    Any questions?

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

    Fund­ed pro­jects

    Reference number 2020-00227

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