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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 by 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 are important engines in the renewal of markets, industries and societies. Even if the projects would not lead to the results hoped for, the lessons learned by the individuals 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 which, 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 business by interacting with 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 finished, 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 learnings 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 newly started Swedish companies that want to contribute to sustainable growth on 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, corporate form, etc., can be found under the section Formal eligibility requirements for proposal to be assessed. The company must meet all eligibility requirements to be eligible for assessment and grant of funding.

    • About durability

      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 will likely have both negative and positive effects on society and the environment. Think for yourself about the effects that 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 operates a process for efficient resource use in engineering companies. In a larger perspective, you contribute to reduced deforestation because less paper is needed and thus a smaller amount of raw material is required in production. At the same time, it may be the case that by-products arise in your process that have harmful effects on the environment. Can the positive effects created by your business outweigh the negative effects?

      Does your business idea 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 get closer to the goals of Agenda 2030. Think about what effects your business idea will create. Can the positive effects contribute to one or some 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 also 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 should permeate the work with all objective. The call for proposals should therefore contribute to an equal social development linked to two main perspectives.

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

    • How much funding can you apply for?

      Vinnova's funding takes place through funding. Vinnova can provide funding up to 100 percent of the eligible costs, but a maximum of SEK 300,000.

      What can Vinnova's funding be used for?

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

      Eligible costs

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

      For example, you may use the grant for the following cost types:
      • personnel costs and costs for consultants and licenses
      • depreciation costs for instruments, equipment and buildings relevant to the project during the project period
      • costs for materials, travel costs and the like
      Conditions for a cost to be eligible for support are that it must, among other things:
      • be factual and capable of being substantiated
      • have arisen at the applicant company
      • have arisen during the project period
      • 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, especially with regard to environmental and climate impact

      Read more about which costs are considered eligible

      Note that unpaid working time (also called pro-bono) is not an eligible cost and therefore not allowed as co-financing. All wages must be paid and accounted for, i.e. be actual and auditable, just like other expenses, in order to be eligible.

    • How do we judge?

      The 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 a credit report on companies that are current for funding, including any partner and affiliated companies.

      What do we assess?

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

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

      • to what extent the proposal credibly demonstrates that Vinnova's funding is used to validate, verify and develop the deal and the solution the deal is based on
      • to what extent Vinnova's funding has a decisive role for the implementation of the project
      • to what extent the proposal credibly justifies why and how the business idea and solution are innovative or significantly better than existing business ideas/solutions in the area and on the relevant market
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the business idea and solution meet a need/demand in the market and that the business idea is scalable
      • the extent to which the proposal clearly demonstrates that the company has intangible assets that provide an edge over competitors
      • to what extent the proposal clearly shows that the budget, plan and approach for the project are relevant in relation to the project's objective, for example if personnel costs, consultant fees or indirect costs are reasonable (not too high or too low)
      • the extent to which 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 project is completed
      • to what extent the proposal clearly shows that the company has the skills, experience, network and resources needed to carry out the development the company is seeking funding 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 field of activity and/or solution
      • the extent to which 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 granted, the company must meet all of the following formal eligibility requirements. The requirements must be met both by the application deadline of January 19, 2021 and the decision date of April 15, 2021.

      The formal requirements are based on the state aid rules for funding start-up companies and the EU's definition of small and medium-sized companies. Vinnova's eligibility requirements are somewhat stricter than these rules in order for us to reach our intended target group in this call for proposals. 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's definition of SMEs and what partner and affiliated companies.

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

      Read more about the state aid rules for funding start-up companies

      It is your responsibility to ensure that the information you enter in your proposal is correct. This means that you are responsible for the risk in the event of a possible review and decision on refunds. Please note that, upon request, you must be able to show documentation proving that the following is correct on the dates specified in the call text and in connection with any audit.

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

      • Applicant company is a Swedish registered limited liability company that conducts activities in Sweden. In this case, a Swedish limited company is also considered a foreign limited company that has 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 company has a maximum of 49 employees, please note that this includes any partner and affiliated companies
      • Applicant company is younger than five years (at the time of decision 15 April 2021), i.e. 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 (the Swedish Companies Registration Office's registration date applies)
      • Applicant company is not listed
      • Applicant company has not taken over another company's activities
      • Applicant company has not distributed profit
      • Applicant company has not been formed through a company concentration (unless all the companies that were concentrated were younger than five years)
      • Applicant company has a net turnover or balance sheet total of less than two million kroner in the most recent financial statement (fiscal year 2019 or 2020). If a financial statement has not yet been drawn up, you can estimate the net sales and total assets for the financial year 2020. Please note that this includes any partner and affiliated companies.
      • Applicant company has submitted a maximum of one proposal.
      • Applicant company has no ongoing project or proposal for preparation within the Innovativa Startups program or Innovation project in companies.

      In addition, the project manager for the project must be an employee of or signatory to 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 cases where it is relevant)
      Voluntary attachment
      • an appendix of a maximum of two pages, for example illustrations or explanatory diagrams

      Note that no other attachments than those requested may be attached to the proposal.

    • About our decisions

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

      Funding may be granted with the support basis " Support of minor importance" also called " de minimis", according to the EU Commission's regulation no. 1407/2013.

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

      Our decision to grant or reject a proposal cannot be appealed.

      Term for granted project

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

      We may do recurring follow-ups of effects from, for example, market introductions and subsequent 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, were granted funding incorrectly or with too high an amount.

    • Date
      05 Nov 2020
      Update of the hyperlink Formal eligibility requirements for 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

    Reference number 2020-00227

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