What is cascade funding? How can it help my company?

Among the many different types of funding that one can find under European Calls, cascade funding or Financial Support for Third Parties (FSFTP) is certainly among the most famous ones. Specifically created for businesses, cascade funding is a European Commission mechanism aiming at distributing funding to create new companies and increase their scalability, create new SMEs or mid-cap companies and all that under the development of the digital innovation scheme.

Cascade funding has one very specific objective. To simplify administrative processes with SMEs and allow some already implementing European projects to open calls and obtain more funding. If we were to try and give cascade funding a simpler description we would probably say that it is “an easy to apply public EU funding for innovative digital start-ups”.

Diving in Cascade Funding

Nowadays start-ups and SMEs in Europe have definitely heard of the Horizon 2020 financial framework. Being a startupper or an SME owner means that you will often face budgetary problems that will need to be covered. Most startuppers and SME owners are seeking funding for their business and in Europe, they have definitely stumbled upon Horizon 2020.

Looking for funding under Horizon 2020 calls is the next step but the process of finding partners and submitting a proposal, hoping that it will get approved is a longshot that many companies cannot take. In most cases, direct Horizon 2020 calls might not even be able to finance businesses in ways that businesses would want.

This is were cascade funding comes in. Instead of going directly to the source which in this case is Horizon 2020, SME owners and startuppers can seek funding as third parties through an already implementing call.

Some of the Horizon 2020 funded projects under certain topics are granted a budget to basically open a second call and provide financial support to third parties. Some of these beneficiaries include SMEs, startups, scaleups, and mid-cap companies. These open calls are open to the public and any entity, in this case, business, fulfilling the credentials may apply.

Projects under Cascade Funding

The cascade funding calls within the project are one of these three following categories:

  • Competitive.
  • Distribute funding.
  • Vouchers for support services.

The cascade funding usually aims at:

  • Selecting start-ups focused on technology or scale-ups for acceleration.
  • Supporting pilots, experiments and demonstrations by start-ups and SMEs under a specific innovative technology or framework.
  • Integrating even more participants into the project.

The funding itself has a range from € 50,000 all the way to € 150,000. However, the open calls for cascade funding do not always distribute money. Rather often they provide vouchers for support services or even free access and support for SMEs and start-ups to use testing facilities.

Apply with your Start-up

The open calls for incubation or acceleration are usually aimed at selecting the best possible entrepreneurs, startuppers, scale-up companies and at times SMEs that wish to include new technologies. These technologies are promoted by the project and are able to support products, services, and business models.

There are also calls that support piloting experiments, application experiments, innovation experiments by SME and assessment experiments.

Last but not least we see the open calls for extensions. These calls are usually aimed at enlarging already existing experimentation support capacity of the project. These calls are adding testbeds and platforms to the project. They also allow for new partners to develop new functionalities for the project’s framework and undertake specific tasks for the experiments and demonstrators that are foreseen in the project. There are many cased in which, the same project can issue both experiments as well as extensions open calls for cascade funding.

Here is a list of the focus on technological domains of open calls for cascade funding under Horizon 2020:

  • Future Internet/Next Generation Internet.
  • Smartisation.
  • Industry 4.0.
  • Internet of Things.
  • Robotics.
  • Big Data.
  • Photonics.
  • Innovation throughout value chains.
  • Nexus between creativity and technology.

As an SME owner or a startupper, you need to give your business the opportunity of cascade funding. There are a plethora of different open calls that provide Financial Support for Third Parties and you need to find yours.

Cascade Funding for You!

The InnovaSouth project is one of the Horizon 2020 project with cascade funding. The Call for Proposals will be launched in the first months of 2020, offering Sicilian and Thessalian SMEs vouchers at a value of € 8.000 to be spent on workplace innovation activities, goods, tools, and best practices, to encourage and motivate local SMEs to effectively adapt these solutions within their organizations and increase their competitiveness.

The Open Call for Proposal will include all the selection criteria and will regulate the voucher provision. The interested SMEs, if eligible, can apply directly online through this section of the website.

Stay tuned with the InnovaSouth project for more information. If you are looking for more cascade funding opportunities for your start-up you can use the EUcalls fully updated database to find the best  Third-Parties Funding.