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Innova-FI is a five-year interregional project seeking to improve the design and implementation of financial instruments for innovation as a delivery mode of Structural Funds. It was approved for a grant of € 1.34 M by the Interreg Europe Programme financed by the European Regional Development Fund last June.

Innova-FI partners will be seeking FI’s that will meet and serve the financing needs of innovative and RTDI-driven businesses in all the stages of their start-up and growth. Innova-FI partners will do this by learning about the innovation landscape, and how it is being publicly financed, in partner regions. The consortium will examine together identified challenges, such as: designing FIs that are well adapted to the different phases of the business; moving away from a grants culture, very much established in the RTDI and innovation field; achieving a better alignment of FIs with other support measures; or creating cross-border instruments.

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Innova-FI builds on two challenges faced and already explored by 8 project partners: a) the difficulties in accessing finance for innovative SMEs, b) the need to make the most effective use of public funds, including European Structural and Investments funds (ESIF). With this in mind, the project will develop a database tool to evaluate how regions are currently using financial instruments for the support of highly innovative businesses and exchange experiences in thematic seminars and study visits. The collected knowledge will contribute to the preparation of the regional action plans. On the second phase of the project, partners will monitor the implementation of the action plans and evaluate the improvements during the final conference.

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Implementation period: June 2018 – May 2023