First inspiration from my Horizon 2020 SME instrument course
I have just come back from Brussels that I have delivered an advanced 3-day course on SME instrument under Horizon 2020. With the help of the participants, we went through in detail the different steps that are needed in order to be successful in SME instrument either for developing first a feasibility study/business plan (phase 1) of an innovation or for validating the value of an innovation in european or global markets (phase 2).
It is commonly known that the SME instrument programme under Horizon 2020 is exploited by consultants and funding experts on behalf of innovative SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) for advancing and deploying one of their key solutions/innovations at a european level. Consultants or funding experts approach innovative SMEs or vice versa (it doesn’t matter that much who approaches whom first) for jointly developing a proposal that will allow the SMEs to penetrate at least the european market if not the global one.
I have given to my course participants the “recipe” on how to make an excellent “meal” that is a successful proposal under SME instrument or innovation for SMEs programme. They only need to practice it now. They need to see themselves as cooks that they have the recipe to create a great meal. But as in all the cases, to have a great recipe is not enough, since you need also to practice this recipe. But as long as you practice the recipe the success is guaranteed and as a matter of fact with quite fast results. On the other hand, if you don’t have a recipe, then you need to experiment with learning by doing that success will take a lot of time and it may not come at the very end.
The manifesto of a funding expert
However, apart from the recipe that mainly consists of three ingredients/steps and a set of seven habits, I have highlighted to my course participants one of the most fundamental elements in exploiting funds which is also my funding manifesto
Any funding opportunity (from european funds, structural funds, state funds, private funding, etc) should support the mission and most importantly the vision of the applicant organization
All funding experts and consultants as well as funding applicants and actors should endorse this manifesto statement that it is obviously common sense but not a common practice. Most of the organisations that wish to exploit state funding as well as the consultants that support them, have not realised that any participation in a funding programme should advance the mission and the vision of their organisation. Organisations should consider their participation as an investment of resources, time and money that face the risk of being wasted and fell into the “Valley of death”, i.e. not producing any value for the society, the industry and foremost for their organisation.
This manifesto statement should be considered as a “traffic light” and should be the first question that organisations should ask themselves as well as funding experts and consultants on behalf of their clients before deciding to participate and exploit a european funding programme. If the received answer is positive (yes, this funding programme supports our vision and mission) in this question, then they have a “green light” and they can proceed further to exploit the related programme. However, if the received answer is negative, then they have a “red light” for this particular funding programme and they should stop spending any further resources, time, energy and ambition towards this direction no matter how attractive a funding programme may seem like and other financing opportunities should be examined.
Such a manifesto and practice should be endorsed by the funding beneficiaries, the funding experts and consultants, the funding authorities, the industry, the press, the policy makers, advisers and the society in general. This is to my view the best way for actually state funds (EU funds, public funds, etc) to support growth, new jobs, creation of new and useful knowledge as well as for improving the quality of life of people.
Else, the success rate for example in European funding will be continually decreased which implies that
- Significantly more organisations will apply for funding,
- Significantly less organisations will receive funding support
- Significantly more organisations will fail to receive funding
- Significantly more organisations will waste resources in their chase for funding
- Significantly more organisations will be frustrated with european funding opportunities and consequently
- Significantly less growth will be achieved in European Union,
- Significantly less creation of new and useful knowledge will be produced and significantly less will be the improvement of quality of life of EU citizens
Therefore, I invite anyone active in the funding industry to start endorsing the mission and vision manifesto for creating a sustainable and viable funding model for everyone.
How to add further value on what you have just discovered
Please comment below on your experiences in fostering such mentality in your business as a funding actor or endorse this manifesto by sharing it to your network.
In case you want to develop further what you have discovered in this article and exploit fully and become a pro in Horizon 2020 or in european funding, you are strongly suggested to join any of my Funding Expert Academy programmes.