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Innovative Startups step 2 spring 2021

Companies that have further need for financing after Innovative Startups step 1, finalized a project in step 1, and sent in the final report, can apply for funding in step 2. In step 2 we can contribute up to 90 % of the project budget, up to a maximum of 900,000 SEK.

The offer in brief

What can you apply for?

Sequential financing to continue to develop the solution or business from your step 1- project

Who can apply?

This offer targets only the newly started small companies that have reported for their step 1- project. The formal requirements of step 1 still apply.

How much can you apply for?

The maximum grant from Vinnova is SEK 900,000. In this call, we finance a maximum of 90 percent of eligible costs. Thus, you must account for at least 10 percent of the costs yourselves.

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, sustainable 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
    • This offer is only aimed at companies that have been granted funding in Innovativa Startups stage 1 and have submitted a final report for that project. You cannot apply for stage 2 if you received funding in stage 2 earlier.

      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. 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.

    • We want you, based on the results from the stage 1 project, to take the next important step in the development of the business and thereby reduce risks and increase the attractiveness of the company and the business towards financiers, customers and partners.

      Your proposal must therefore clearly state the status of the business and the company after the stage 1 project and what you consider to be the next value-creating step (for example scaling up, testing important hypotheses about the business, approaching your paying customer or attracting financiers), as well as what opportunities is opened for your business development given that the step-2 project is successful.

    • 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?

      For example, suppose your company runs 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 leads to the expected effects.

      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 concerns that both women and men share in the grant in an equal way, participate in and have influence over the project. 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 of the project can amount to a maximum of SEK 900,000. In this call for proposals, Vinnova finances a maximum of 90 percent of the eligible costs, which means that you must cover at least 10 percent of the costs yourself.

      What can Vinnova's funding be used for?

      Vinnova's funding may be used for a continuation project to the stage 1 project to develop the business and take the company to the next level, closer to paying customers or other funding.

      Please note that funding cannot be given for the same activities that you have received funding for in the stage 1 project.

      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 covered by funding.

      For example, you may use the grant for the following cost types:

      • personnel costs (employees in the company) and costs for external 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

      Note that the beneficiary may make a mark-up for actual indirect costs, however at most 30 percent of their eligible personnel costs.

      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 and how you calculate eligible costs.

      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 formal eligibility requirements are reviewed by at least three specially appointed evaluator appointed by Vinnova.

      project The projects that are ranked highest by the evaluators are invited to an interview at Vinnova. The interviews will be conducted digitally via Microsoft Teams 3-12 May 2021.

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

      Before a possible interview, we will take a credit report on the applicant company, including any partner and affiliated companies.

      What do we assess?

      Proposal is assessed based on the assessment criteria below in order to distinguish which project have the greatest potential and are in need of follow-on funding in view of the development that has taken place and the needs that have arisen through the stage 1 project.

      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.

      • the extent to which the proposal shows that the company has taken into account concrete lessons learned, insights and progress through the stage 1 project
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the company has credibly justified the business challenges that remain in the development project (validate, verify and develop the business/solution) in order to take the company to the next level, as well as why additional funding from Vinnova is needed for the project to be implemented
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the business idea or solution after completing step 1 can still be justified as being innovative and significantly better than existing business/solutions in the field
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the business idea and solution meet a need or a demand in the market
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the business idea has a scalable business model
      • the extent to which the proposal clearly demonstrates that the company has intangible assets that give it an edge over its competitors
      • the extent to which the proposal clearly shows whether the budget, plan and approach for the project's implementation are credible and relevant in relation to the project's objective, for example timetable, activities and whether staff costs are reasonable (not too high or too low)
      • the extent to which the proposal shows that the company plans to involve customers, users, financiers and possible partners in the work of developing and validating the offer and business model
      • to what extent the proposal demonstrates credibility in the company's plan for continued funding and commercialization
      • to what extent the proposal shows that the company has access to the competence, experience, partners and the network needed to develop the business idea and solution into a successful business
      • to what extent the proposal shows the team's potential, level of ambition and ability to develop the business idea and solution in relation to the set project goals
      • 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 March 16, 2021 and the decision date of June 10, 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 mean.

      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 under Article 22.

      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 10 June 2021, i.e. registered no earlier than 10 June 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 are younger than five years at the time of the decision, 10 June 2021)
      • Applicant company has a net turnover or balance sheet total of less than two million kroner in the most recent financial statement (fiscal year 2020). If a financial statement has not yet been prepared, please estimate the values for the financial year 2020. Please note that this includes any partner and affiliated companies.
      • Applicant company has the same organization number in step 2 as in step 1
      • Applicant company has not submitted more than one proposal in this call for proposals
      • Applicant company has not been granted funding in the Innovativa Startups stage 2 program before
      • Applicant company has no ongoing project or proposal for preparation within the Innovativa Startups program or Innovation project in companies
      • Applicant company must have completed and finalized the stage 1 project at the latest at the closing of this call for proposals. Please note that the final report does not need to be approved by Vinnova
      • All mandatory attachments are attached to proposal

      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)
      • table of personnel budget (see template on the call's website)
      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 is paid out with the support of the EU Commission Regulation No. 651/2014, Article 22, support for start-up companies.

      Funding may be granted with the support basis de minimis, i.e. " support of minor importance", 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. Scientific publication of results must take place with open access in accordance with Vinnova's instructions.

      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
      11 Jan 2021

    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. 

    What happens after the call has closed?

    Once your application has been registered, we'll send a confirmation email to the person responsible for the user account, as well as to the project manager and the company signer. Please note that this may take a few hours after the call has closed.

    After the closing date, you can't register any new information. You may only add information to your application if we ask for it.

    Who can read your application?

    Applications submitted to us become official documents. However, we don't disclose information about business operations, inventions or research results if it can be assumed that someone will suffer economic damage if we do.

    This means that we must disclose the documents if someone requests them. However, we can black out information if we believe it could cause economic harm if disclosed.

    How we handle official documents and privacy

    Fund­ed pro­jects

    Reference number 2020-04040

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