Innovation is one of the most fashionable words in business today. Why is it worth risking and changing something that has worked quite well so far? Of course, for the financial profits of the company. Improvement of the offer or introduction of completely new products and services can be started with support from the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020. On 31 December this year a competition for vouchers for innovations implemented as a result of research and development works will be launched. Micro, small and medium enterprises will be able to apply for funding.
Why is it worth investing in research and development?
More and more companies see the potential of research work in the context of business development. According to the report prepared by PwC in cooperation with the National Centre for Research and Development, the significance of this area has increased over the years 2013-2014[1]. In 2014, 41% of new products introduced to the market were the result of research and development works (compared to 30% in 2013). Many entrepreneurs have already learned that it pays to invest in innovation. The share of revenues generated as a result of R&D in the total revenues of companies amounts on average to about 16 per cent, and in such industries as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and IT this level is much higher. No wonder that the majority of entrepreneurs declare plans to increase their research and development activity.
How to develop R&D?
The answer to the need to increase business innovativeness is the Regional Operational Programme, from which over USD 650 million will be allocated for research and development activity, especially of micro, small and medium enterprises. EU funds will be earmarked for, among others, vouchers for innovation, research and development works until the moment of the so-called first production, obtaining industrial property protection rights, or the creation of company R&D centres (e.g. investments in equipment, technologies and infrastructure necessary to carry out work).
We are starting from USD 21.3 million already in December.
Already from 31 December 2015 it will be possible to apply for vouchers for innovations (Measure 1.2 Research and development activity of enterprises). The pool of funds allocated for the competition is USD 21.3 million. Applications will be accepted in rounds until the planned limit of funds is exhausted. The support will cover undertakings consisting in the implementation of research or development works in cooperation with a scientific institution. Projects may concern the development or development of a new or improved product, service, as well as process changes. The key issue in this competition will be to build links between science and business. The company’s partners may include universities, research units and research institutes of the Academy of Sciences.
What can be spent on innovation vouchers?
As part of the vouchers, the entrepreneur will receive a subsidy for the purchase of services from scientific institutions, such as the development of a new or significantly improved product, service, technology or production method. EU funds may be invested in the development of process changes or a new design project. The funding will be available in particular for the development of innovative solutions and pre-implementation analyses, as well as for the preparation of a trial series before the introduction of mass production. What is important, the whole project must be completed within a year.
A more experienced person can do more
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises from can apply for co-financing. Companies operating on the market for up to two years will apply for vouchers with a maximum value of 50 thousand USD. Companies with a market seniority of more than two years may apply for funds of up to 100,000 USD. Market experience does not influence the level of own contribution to the project. Everyone who plans to apply for EU support in must take into account the necessity of incurring at least 20% of the project costs.
What funds for?
For the years 2014-2020 is guaranteed over USD 8 billion of EU support, directed mainly to business, administration and the scientific sector. In 2016, 47 competitions for the total amount of USD 2.3 billion will be announced. The competitions supporting business development are planned for next year almost USD 470 million. There will be funds, among others, for the implementation of R&D projects, creation and development of research and development facilities, support for the initial phase of enterprise development, vouchers for consulting, as well as internationalisation of business. Then Unit for Implementation of EU Programmes is responsible for spending the funds from the Regional Operational Programme. on EU funds for is available on the following website

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