Most likely, European Funds for the Modern Economy will be launched in the first half of next year. This program is to be one of the main sources of financing research and development and innovation in the next six years, and its budget amounts to approx. PLN 36 billion. They will be able to count on financial and mentoring support, among others companies that have not dealt with innovative activities so far. – We want every company – both experienced and those that are just taking their first steps in innovation – to find appropriate help for themselves – says Katarzyna Kaczkowska from the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy.
- The European Funds for Modern Economy, i.e. the program that we hope to launch at the beginning of next year, assumes support for the entire cycle of creating innovation: from the moment the first idea arises, be it in a research unit, research organization, individual or in the company, by testing it, creating a prototype, finding the first customer as part of entering the market, preparing an offer, up to entering foreign markets. We want to take care of this whole cycle of innovation – explains Katarzyna Kaczkowska, deputy director of the Department of Innovation and Development Support Programs at the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, in an interview with the Newseria Biznes agency.
The European Funds for Modern Economy (FENG) program for the years 2021–2027 will be the main source of financing for innovation, research and development and new technologies. It is to start next year, and its total budget is EUR 7.9 billion, or about PLN 36 billion. They will be able to use this money, among others entrepreneurs and companies, consortia, institutions from the science sector, universities and innovation centers.
- One of the assumptions of this program is flexibility of support. We are aware that there are not many companies in Poland with experience in conducting research and development or investment activities. Nevertheless, there are some of them, we already have such enterprises, both larger and smaller. There are also many that would not even call their activity innovative, despite having new ideas, developing technologies or new products. That is why we want our support to be flexibly adjusted and every company – both experienced and one that is just taking the first steps in innovation – finds appropriate help in the program – says the expert.
FENG is one of the nine national programs in the new EU financial perspective that will be used by Poland in the coming years. It is a continuation of two previous programs: Innovative Economy 2007–2013 and Intelligent Development 2014–2020. The Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy (MFiPR) is responsible for the preparation of the program. In mid-May, public consultations ended, during which companies, research units and employers’ organizations submitted over 500 comments to FENG. The project has yet to be approved by the European Commission.
The main goals of FENG are to increase the research activity and innovation of enterprises as well as cooperation between the enterprise and science sectors. The program is also to contribute to supporting the green transformation of the economy, creating an entire ecosystem conducive to innovation (including through the expansion of public research infrastructure, support for accelerators and clusters) and increasing the competitiveness of SMEs.
- Transferring ideas from science, universities or research institutes to the economy is a problem that many countries struggle with and probably no one has invented a universal method for it. To successfully commercialize these ideas, we need a few elements. First, good contacts and trust between people, second, money. This is where investment funds help. However, it is very rare that such a scientist is immediately ready to go to an investment fund and present his offer to him, says the representative of the MFiPR. – Here we have a wide range of acceleration and mentoring programs that help prepare an offer for a conversation with the fund. I think that the future program European Funds for the Modern Economy will meet all the needs of such companies.
The forms of support provided for in FENG include not only grants, financial instruments (equity and guarantee) and mixed instruments (combining repayable and grant financing). The program also includes mentoring for companies that do not know how to start innovative activities yet.