If you’re in the field of technology and strategic innovation and you don’t fear measuring yourself with international competitors, you have really interesting opportunities around the globe, both in Europe and overseas. Some governments, notably those of Canada, Hong Kong and the European Union, but also others, have developed funding systems to encourage smart and innovative companies to invest in their countries, hoping in this way to trigger a cycle of successful and positive development. Of course applying for this kind of funding may not always be simple, almost always there are quite demanding guidelines to comply with. Let’s examine in some detail the main strategic innovation and technology funding opportunities available right now and their guidelines.
Hong Kong Technology and Innovation Fund
The Hong Kong Technology and Innovation Fund (TIF) – established in the year 2017 – has been created to support Hong Kong companies to improve their technological level and to help them introduce innovative ideas, processes, and products. Under the general programme there are five sub-programmes:
- Supporting Research and Development
- Facilitating Technology adoption
- Nurturing technology talent
- Supporting technology start-ups
- Fostering an I&T culture
The aim is obviously attracting innovative and cutting edge startups to operate in Hong Kong while nurturing the development of companies operating in sectors that are now, or will be in the future particularly interesting and/or profitable. They may also be considered strategic for the development and the growth of the country as a whole.
If you’re interested in these opportunities you can have a look at the Innovation and Technology Fund official website. The guidelines to apply depend on the particular fund you think would be better for you and your business. To date more than 20.000 projects have been approved with the majority pertaining to the area of “Nurturing Technological Talent” branch.
Canada Strategic Innovation Fund
The Canada Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) was also launched in 2017. Its aim is to make Canada a top destination for business, fostering both the development of an innovation and technology ecosystem in the country and nurturing the growth of a knowledge based economy. It provides both repayable and non-repayable contributions and is organised around five different streams, each of which has distinct criteria of eligibility:
- Stream 1: Encourage research and development (R&D) that will accelerate technology transfer and commercialisation of innovative products, processes and services;
- Stream 2: Facilitate the growth and expansion of firms in Canada;
- Stream 3: Attract and retain large scale investments to Canada; and
- Stream 4: Advance industrial research, development and technology demonstration through collaboration between academia, non-profit organisations and the private sector.
- Stream 5: Support large-scale, national innovation ecosystems through high impact collaborations across Canada.
Obviously the business must be carried out in Canada. For streams 4 and 5 also consortiums with universities, research institutes and colleges are admitted. If you are thinking of establishing your company abroad this may be a huge opportunity to seize. Go to the Strategic Innovation Fund program guide to acquire all the information you need.
EU Innovation Fund
And finally the Innovation Fund that is offered by the European Union. Differently than in other countries the EU innovation fund is specifically aimed at promoting the adoption and the research in the field of innovative low-carbon technologies, with the declared objective of decarbonizing Europe and supporting its transition to climate neutrality while in the meantime reinforcing Europe technological leadership in the field of clean energy. The fund will operate until 2030 and will provide up to 20 billion euro. The funded projects must focus on:
- innovative low-carbon technologies and processes in energy-intensive industries, including products substituting carbon-intensive ones
- carbon capture and utilisation (CCU)
- construction and operation of carbon capture and storage (CCS)
- innovative renewable energy generation
- energy storage
To gather information on funding criteria and on the application process you may visit the Innovation Fund webpage.