Digitalisation of funding advisory services with Winnovart. In 2018 we have started a digitalisation process in the way we are delivering our services. Our clients and partners have now access anytime and anywhere to valuable content and insights, relevant for the projects we are collaborating on. This is helping us accelerate the process, while offering our clients a more enjoyable collaboration experience. In 2019 we are going to continue this process, to cover most of the areas of our activity and interaction with our partners and clients.
EEA&Norway grants across Europe – we are the most active (independent) promoter of this special and less known funding scheme in Europe. The feedback has been very positive, companies across Central and Eastern Europe are hearing from us about this mechanism (sometimes for the first time!) and they understand the opportunity of engaging with bilateral partners from Norway and Iceland. At Winnovart, we are supporting the interaction between organizations from Donor and Beneficiary States through a growing presence in Norway and Iceland, and dedicated services. In 2019 we will continue to focus on funding opportunities for private sector companies under this mechanism, while expanding our network of cooperation partners in Norway and Iceland.
UK innovation funding – in 2018 we have started looking more into funding opportunities offered by the UK market. We have started building up a successful experience with the R&D tax credits, a very straightforward scheme offered by HMRC, which seems to be still underexploited. We will continue building up on this in 2019, while we are still speculating about the way “Brexit” could impact the grants-based funding landscape of the UK, from March 2019 onwards… myself I am a fan of seeing a context for bilateral collaboration and funding UK – Norway, there could be so much synergy here.
Surveys that challenge the status quo in the grants-based funding advisory industry. In 2018 we have initiated a series of surveys and we were delighted to see that companies across Europe still believe in the role of consultants when it comes to funding applications and grant management. We have seen Fund Operators starting to encourage companies to work without consultants when accessing grants – while we cannot agree with this (this is our business 🙂 ), we do accept that a change might be needed in the marketspace of grants-based funding schemes. In 2019, we are going to continue with surveys that will enable us to understand better the challenges faced by all stakeholders: project promoters, consultants, evaluators as well as public sector agencies with the role of fund operators.
Our vision for grants-based funding management…by 2027. Funding programmes and Operators enable a permanent digital interaction between them and their target groups (companies and other organisations). Digital platforms enable applicants to easily and automatically check their eligibility in various funding schemes; so they can easily be engaging digitally with the Fund Operator’s platform. A simplified and streamlined application process, where administrative bureaucracy is reduced to minimum and the content of the applications/ pitches is focused on the most essential aspects of the project. The evaluation process is automated and streamlined, allowing Fund Operators and their limited staff to access a wider range of applicants, selecting the best ideas, while accelerating the process of allocating the funds. A monitoring process during projects’ implementation that minimizes bureaucracy, provides transparency for all stakeholders, automated auditing and releases funds by means of smart contracts. We believe this is possible and we will aim to demonstrate this in the upcoming years.
Our presence in Western, Eastern and Northern Europe enables us to understand very well the gaps and differences across Europe. At Winnovart, our mission is to accelerate bridges between innovative businesses from these regions, by making use of grants and funding.
We look forward to an exciting 2019.
Doru-Cristian Coretchi, Founder Winnovart