Thanks to the cascade funding mechanism, European SMEs, startups and/or midcaps can access grants of between €30,000 and €300,000 to develop and carry out innovation projects. In this post, In this post, we are going to introduce you to the cascade funding world by explaining in great detail what it is, how it works, what benefits it has for your company and how to access to these grants. Let’s go there!
What is cascade funding?
Cascade financing, also known as financial support to third parties (FSTP), is an instrument of the European Commission to distribute public funds and generate opportunities for SMEs, startups and/or mid-cap companies, in the adoption or development of digital technologies. The main objective is to simplify the administrative processes faced by European companies, allowing them to faster access to finance. This mechanism, which is based on the Erasmus student model, was tested by the European Commission in the 7th Framework Program for Research and Innovation (FP7), and was introduced in a more consolidated way in the past Horizon 2020 program, the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020) predecessor to Horizon Europe (2021-2027).
How cascade funding works
The European Commission publishes an open call, to which different projects promoted by various consortia of entities are submitted. From all the submissions, the Commission selects one or more projects (depending on the number of projects to be financed by the Commission) that will be in charge of publishing different calls to finance third parties. The cascade funding scheme allows European consortium to assign part of the budget to support third parties (entities that are not part of the consortium and are not considered beneficiaries by the European Commission), and distribute it through competitive open calls for proposals in the form of prizes, vouchers or grants.
What kind of projects are funded?
Diversity is one of the main characteristics of cascade financing programmes. This is due to the fact that, although they are indirectly determined by the European Commission, the structure of the programmes, the services included, and the funding scheme depend 100% on the consortium that executes the project. That is why there are no standards in these type of calls and each of them has its own rules and eligibility criteria. Among others, the following features have been founded:
- Type of beneficiary: Most of the programs are aimed at supporting startups and SMEs. However, there are other initiatives that support individuals, researchers, mid-caps or larger companies.
- Type of application (individual or consortium): There is no standardized criterion, and we can see programs of all kinds. From initiatives that finance individual projects, to others financing consortiums of up to 5 entities
What benefits does it have for my organization?
Unlike traditional regional, national or European calls for innovation, the cascade financing mechanism offers multiple benefits to support potential beneficiaries:
- It simplifies the application, evaluation and justification procedures.
- Success rates are often higher, as these are less “popular” calls.
- Financing can range from €10,000 to €300,000, being projects between €100,000 and €150,000 the most common.
- The financial support is usually equity-free There is no equity or share capital assigned by any party.
- Most of these programs offer free incubation and acceleration services, specialized mentoring and access to international networks of contacts.
- It allows the transfer and exploitation of knowledge and the adoption of new technologies.
Where can I get specific information about each of these programmes?
The access to the information on these programs is not always an easy task. Even more if you are not familiar with European funds. To find the calls that are open, and the history of calls launched, you can access this page. Moreover, the European Commission has recently launched a new site where you can find all the information on the next calls.
It is important to know that the calls that are launched using this mechanism are very diverse in terms of verticals and technologies. Also, each of them has its own application form, participation and financing rules, so you must be aware of all the launch and news so as not to miss any opportunity.
How can SPLORO support your organisation with cascade funding grants?
From SPLORO we want to help you make these calls more accessible for your company or organization. That is why we have designed a series of services so that you can maximize the opportunities of receiving this financing:
- Identification and analysis of funding opportunities: our team monitors all open calls and make a first check on the eligibility of your organization.
- Proposals writing and submission management: we support you to land that idea that you have in mind and adapt it to the requirements of the call. In addition, we carry out the management and upload on the different platforms of all the necessary documentation to ensure that your project is eligible for the call.
- Access to international network: if you have not identified a partner yet, or simply don’t know who to start this adventure with, in consortium projects we take care of finding the partner for your project.
- Project management support: our service does not end with uploading the documentation, we help you throughout the full life cycle of the project, providing you management support and ensuring that you receive 100% of the grant you have won.
If you want to know more about our services for startups, do not hesitate to contact us and book a meeting with our CEO through this link ;). Finally, at SPLORO we continuously analyse all the cascade funding calls open at any time, so if you want to have more information and keep up to date with all the news, do not hesitate to follow this page!