Pera Technology has launched a record breaking new product development fund to support innovation in European SMEs.
The scheme, administered by Pera Technology, has been launched as part of the EU Horizon 2020 initiative which has committed €82 billion to furthering research and innovation in SMEs over the next six years.
The Pera Technology fund will enable individual businesses able to claim up to €3 million for new product development from January 1, 2014.
The new funding scheme is more than twice the size of the previous Pera Technology SME support pot and aims to see 1,000s of new products developed in Europe before 2020.
Manufacturing and engineering firms are the most likely to benefit from this new source of financial support for innovation and historically, UK businesses have been among the most successful in accessing Pera’s new product development funding – second only to Spanish firms and significantly outperforming SMEs in the EU’s two largest economies, Germany and France.
Furthermore, this new funding scheme has been developed to improve ease of access fr SMEs. Unlike previous budgets, Horizon 2020 does not require SME businesses to join larger consortiums, the application process has been made simpler and the European Commission will be obliged to provide a response to funding applications within six months of submission.
In order to be applicable for the larger research and development fund businesses must demonstrate market demand and there is a further €50,000 lump sum available to business for this purpose. SMEs can also claim for up to 15 days free of charge coaching to help drive their product to market.
Paul Tranter, Chief Executive of new product development contractor Pera Technology, said:
“Never before has this level of funding been made available to small and medium sized business for new product development purposes.
“The UK is in an enviable position [to benefit from this fund], having overtaken the two largest economies in Europe in terms of bidding success. However, we can’t rest on our laurels. The larger amount of funding and fewer restrictions associated with Horizon 2020 will see more businesses than ever before applying.”
SMEs have been identified by the European Commission and national governments within the EU as the source of future economic growth. There are 20 million SME businesses in the EU and 4.8 million in the UK.