With a €570 million, the European Commission has launched a new funding instrument whose main goals are to support interregional innovation projects as well as value chains in less developed regions. The first phase of the program will cover the years 2021 and 2022. The program is then planned to extend into 2027.
Finding funding, especially for new and innovative projects may be very difficult and challanging. In order to create the well-needed funding for such initiatives, the European Commission has started the Interregional Innovation Investment Facility (I3) that will last from 2021 to 2027 with a budget of €570 million.
Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform, has stated:
Through the Interregional Innovation Investment Facility, we are exploiting the untapped potential of closer regional cooperation to make the European Union more innovative, competitive and cohesive. This instrument will combine investment in European priorities such as green and digital transformation with the strongest areas of innovation in each European region. It is gratifying to say that the instrument is now in the implementation phase with a call for proposals
The first call for projects under the I3 has recently taken place and the program has €145 million available to generate the funding for ventures that it aims to support.
The program will support interregional innovation projects
Projects that are suitable for funding within the I3 program have two strands. The first of these strands is interregional innovation projects. The focus of this strand is mainly businesses that are small or medium-sized as well as startups.
For these projects, the program will provide advisory support as well as financial aid in order to help the projects develop in their particular fields more quickly and become more innovative. Also, the program will encourage cooperation between well-developed regions and regions which are not as developed.
Another aim of the program: financing value chains
Well-developed value chains and an environment suitable for innovation is necessary for small businesses to be able to compete in their respective industries and grow over time. While some regions are luckier in this regard, some other regions tend to lack a suitable environment to flourish.
This is why this strand of I3 funding is aimed to financially support the development of value chains in regions that don’t have enough development. This includes increasing the capacity of a region to support innovative projects. The project is expected to increase local value chains ability to compete globally and partner with their counterparts in different regions more effectively.