Presentation on theme: "Innovation voucher schemes – how to access vouchers from Structural Funds Workshop: Investing in Europe's future: Regions and cities delivering smart,"— Presentation transcript:
Innovation voucher schemes – how to access vouchers from Structural Funds Workshop: Investing in Europe's future: Regions and cities delivering smart, sustainable and inclusive growth Open Days European Week of Regions and Cities 11 October 2011, Brussels Karolina Loth-Babut The Polish National Energy Conservaton Agency (KAPE)
GreenConServe sets out to improve the innovation support framework for green service innovators in the construction sector. design, test and implement a two-step voucher scheme providing access to technical and business support to service innovators in the construction industry in Norway, France and Germany. KAPE undertook here a thorough study of the constraints that the management bodies of Structural and Cohesion Funds would face if they wanted to set up and finance innovation voucher schemes GreenConServe project
study available at: innovation-platform/greenconserve/publications-and-tools
The GreenConServe project report on on constraints of SCF management bodies for voucher schemes in 6 countries – Voucher schemes idea description provides the picture about the voucher itself, its definition, conditions and differences – Structural and Cohesion Funds focuses on general description of Structural and Cohesion Funds, explains the SCF system in Poland and 5 selected countries. – Examples of voucher schemes shows the examples of the voucher schemes financed from SF in 6 selected countries including Poland. Each subchapter gives an overview how the scheme is organised, financed and managed in different country. Level of financing and the procedure is pointed out. – Analysis and assessment of implemented voucher schemes financed by Structural and Cohesion Funds gives in-depth analysis of running voucher schemes financed by SCF, their possible constraints that the management bodies of Structural and Cohesion Funds have or would face if they wanted to set up and finance innovation voucher schemes.
The GreenConServe project report on on constraints of SCF management bodies for voucher schemes in 6 countries – Template on how to implement a voucher scheme from SF gives and example for Poland from Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province on how are they going to implement R&D voucher scheme and how it is going to be financed them from Regional Operational Programme. – Conclusions and recommendations for future implementation of voucher schemes financed by Structural and Cohesion Funds illustrates the extract of the most important common messages and lesson learned analysed in previous chapters and presents a set of recommendations for future implementation of voucher schemes financed by SCF.
Voucher scheme idea Voucher is a written instrument that serve to confirm or fitness (vouch) for some fact such as a transaction. A voucher is a paper or a document that can be exchanged against a service through the promise of the issuing agent. Voucher is another word for a cheque or bon. The voucher is a commitment given by an issuing agent to pay the service delivery of a third party to the beneficiary of the voucher. Innovation voucher - an enterprise can apply to an authority for a voucher to help realize its innovation plans with external expertise.
Innovation vouchers schemes - an instrument to accelerate innovative activities of enterprises (usually small and medium) and enhance their competitiveness in collaboration with R&D institutions and other service providers. Green innovation vouchers have the same features as normal innovation vouchers except that they focus on particular sectors or areas with positive environmental impact. While generic innovation vouchers are open to applications from all sectors, green vouchers are intended to promote the increased development and market introduction of sustainable technologies and solutions
Structural Funds (SF) Structural Funds (ERDF and SF) are the EU's basic instruments for supporting social and economic development in EU member states. They account for over a third of the European Union budget. They are the result of the EU's regional policy which is based on financial solidarity where part of Member States contributions to the EU budget goes to the less prosperous regions and social groups
Examples of voucher schemes financed from SF lpcountryVoucher nameManaging / Implementing Authority 1BelgiumTechnology VoucherAgency for Technology Promotion (Agence de Stimulation Technologique - AST) 2CyprusInnovation voucherResearch Promotion Foundation 3EstoniaProduct development programme Enterprise Estonia 4SpainPyme+iMurcia Regional Development Agency 5SloveniaVoucher system for consultancy Public Agency Entrepreneurship and Foreign Investment 6PolandR&D voucherMarshal Office of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province
Poland – RPO, measure 5.4. Reinforcement potential of researches and technology progress sector PLN (~6250 EURO) for the first/initialisation of the contact with R&D institution (100% intensity) PLN (~12500 EURO) for the R&D consultancy (80% intensity) The chosen business-related institution (Kujawsko- Pomorskie Association of Employers and Entrepreneurs) will implement the innovation cheque scheme according to de minimis rule. It will support SME within the closed competition. Submitted applications will be evaluated on the basis of technical and essential criteria. The service provider – research institutes – will be appointed by the SME, coming from the whole territory of Poland.
Belgium - operational programmes ERDF Convergence and Competitiveness electronic voucher of a value of 500 (25% SMEs - 75% the Walloon Region and the ERDF) technological services can be paid by the voucher 22 research centres accredited by the Walloon Region or one of the 13 research centres associated to the other higher education one company can benefit from a maximum of 40 technology vouchers (40x 500) per calendar year (but not simultaneously)
Cyprus - Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Operational Programme Value of 5000 Euro and each company is entitled to one voucher only The application includes information on the company, its activities and a short description of the problem to solve through the voucher Only research organisations (public or private) Purchase of international services is allowed but never exploited by applicants
Spain - Operational Programme – Region of Murcia (15% SME and 85% SF) Promoting innovation culture in regional SMEs 28 different services in 5 areas are cofinances 500 service providers (public and private) has been chosen in a public call for providers
Slovenia – Single Programming Document , measure 1.3. improving supportive environment for entrepreneurship ~4200 EURO (50% financed or more depending on the size of SME) Voucher for consultancy and training services Choice from registered list of consultancy providers In 2005/2006 funds from ERDF were used for the voucher scheme, but the measure proved to be very difficult to manage under the complex structure required for the use of cohesion funds. This led to the decision to exclude voucher scheme from the co- financing by the EU sources from 2007 on.
Estonia - Product Development Grant co- financed by the ERDF ~3195 EUR per SME (100% financed). For applied research and product development Applicants are SMEs only (only once per SME). Activities that can be financed: buying services from Higher Education Institutions and R&D institutions, patent Office and certifies labs. There is an option for cooperative applications from up to 5 SMEs.
Analysis and assessment of implemented voucher schemes financed by Structural Funds Questionnaire (presentation) Key elements of vouchers schemes analysis (possible barriers): o Financing of innovation voucher scheme (from SCFs) o Application procedures (simpler or harder when from SCFs) o The amount of the single voucher (if determined from the SCFs) o Co-Financing vouchers (if required from SCFs rules, how much, etc) o Possible changes in the voucher scheme (due to strict rules of SCFs) o Structural Found procedures (purchase services from other countries and international experts)
Template on how to implement a voucher scheme In Poland principles on how to develop policy in the region are set in the Act of 6 December 2006 on the Principles of the Development Policy Making. This act foresees two types of project selection: o on the basis of competition and o outside the competition = individual key projects Marshal Office of Kujawsko-Pomorskie Province due to lack of institutional capacity has decided to finance a voucher scheme dedicated to R&D services –through placing it in the indicative list of key project Allows to give the tasks outside the Marshall Office No capacities in the Marshal Office for management of the scheme
Conclusions and recommendations from the study General: Innovation vouchers schemes vary significantly in all 6 countries. They are very heterogeneous. Their specific character, constrains and barriers refer to their features. Financing vouchers from Structural Funds is not very common. Some countries (out of which only 6 was analysed in this study) in the European Union introduced vouchers financed from SFs. Voucher is a small amount of a grant and should be given in such a value that entrepreneurs find feasible applying for. Interesting is the Belgium case. It can be observed that small vouchers should be financed in 100% but larger should require own co financing that will cause grater engagement of SME and more benefits from the system.
Conclusions and recommendations from the study Institutional: Different kinds of institutions are managing the systems in each country. There are two options - own management of the scheme or - ordering management outside due to luck of capacities. Voucher scheme is a demanding system requiring adaptation of organisational structure, additional staff at least at the beginning (stage of planning, preparation and launch). In the questionnaires and interviews, it was underlined that the cooperation with R&D institutions is not very effective in many cases. Realisation of voucher scheme should overcome that kind of barrier and improve that cooperation.
Conclusions and recommendations from the study Procedural: SCF generally cause lengthening of the procedure (i.e. de minimis rule) but this is obvious as other measures financed from SCFs and managing authorities usually do not see a barrier here. For some countries the rules are complex but transparent and easy to be introduced. Installing a voucher scheme requires only a slight redistribution of funds by Member States governments as they are already stimulating the transfer of technology from R&D institutions to SMEs in some other ways.
Conclusions and recommendations from the study Administrative: When financing from SCFs – the administration burden is larger Competences of SCF management authorities are not enough to implement Voucher schemes => recommendation to do it as in Poland as a key project and thus laying the administration on external company. Risks: In the case when introducing voucher scheme trough a key individual project there is a risk on the initial phase during competition for individual project that no such a project will be submitted and/or the quality of the project will not meet requirements of the managing authorities. When implementing the voucher scheme there is always a risk that SMEs will be not interested in that kind of support. Voucher scheme requires promotion activities to be interesting for SMEs.
Riga declaration September 2010 general guidelines for the design of Innovation Voucher Programs by Member States and regions in order to fully realise the potential of these micro-grant schemes for SMEs diverse innovation activities. encourages the EC to develop a voluntary collaboration framework and knowledge brokerage system that facilities access to excellent innovation support across Europe. outcome of cooperation between the Europe INNOVA platform and managers of innovation voucher programs in the Member States and regions. seven principles and policy recommendations for the design and management of innovation voucher programmes
THANK YOU Karolina Loth-Babut The Polish National Energy Conservation Agency (KAPE)