The European Union funded Horizon 2020 calls be launched in a few days, the schedule from the European Union is that the first calls will be published Dec 11. At this point, proposals are being planned and there is activity all over Europe to submit proposal. Sweden should be no exception, we are there as well!
Really? Is that correct? Well not really.
When you look in Social Media, be it Google, LinkedIn or Facebook, the Swedish partners companies are really missing. I
n fact we (Pongratz Consulting) have spent a lot of resources to map and identify Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) who would really fit very well in Horizon 2020 EU funding scheme.
We have looked according to the EU priorities. We have looked for SME who are innovative, leaders in their fields. We have looked for IT companies with new interesting ideas, Research Intensive SME’s in Pharma and Life Sciences, who all are developing new, revolutionary products. New service providers…
These SME are successful and need capital to grow, to create jobs. We thought they would jump at the opportunity. We were very surprised with their answer. No, we are not interested. Indeed we need capital but no thanks…
What is the problem?
The answers we received were actually rather surprising. No we are not really considering to join. There are some problems that makes us hesitate.
Time: The time to actually receive the funding is too long.
Well, this comment is sometimes correct but not always.
The standard evaluation process for EU-proposals is 3-4 months. The negotiation process takes and additional 4-6 months. This time should be shorter and the European Union has stated that will work in this direction. So here there is insight that there is a problem and a solution will hopefully be in place in Horizon 2020
The second problem is that SME’s are afraid of the administrative workload. And it is absolutely correct, that EU funded projects demand administration efforts, specially if you are coordinator of an EU funded proposal.
SME are not always willing to recruit and expand their administration staff, rather they are asking that administration should be outsourced as much as possible.
Will we see this? Time will tell if there is a change in this area.
But the main problem is lack of information. Most SME (if not all) told us that the main problem is that they don’t know what it means to be part of a EU funded project. They don’t know what it means to be a partner, even a coordinator. And since they don’t know they don’t want to join. They were concerned that they are missing out on an opportunity but they don’t know what this means so they are out.
This means that many SME in Sweden are going to miss the opportunity to obtain financing, to network with University and Academic partners and to entry into the European Market due to lack of information. These companies would grow, recruit and become European or International players but they lack the necessary information
This is really a shame…