Due to the increasing presence of innovation across H2020, the evaluation criteria are paying more and more attention to how the activities carried out by the project are expected to reach the market and find higher impact.

Furthermore, as the instruments get closer to market, as it is the case of Innovation Actions (IA) with respect to the Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) or in programmes where reaching the market is the key, as the ones under the new European Innovation Council – EIC Pilot such as “Fast Track to Innovation” (FTI) and the SME instrument, these market and exploitation elements are not only evaluated within the impact criterion but, on the contrary, are the driving force of the call overall evaluation rationale.

Despite this importance, it is still very common to see companies and proposers approaching these types of project under a research-minded approach, paying little or no attention to the market and business dimension of their projects. This common mistake is particularly frequent in newcomers and SME, whose lack of expertise within the H2020 domains make them fill-in the template without a clear knowledge on the level of detail expected.

“To tackle this issue, this project has developed a toolbox that support proposers, especially SME, to adequately fill-in the market and business dimensions of their close to market proposal in H2020.”

This reference framework can be seen as the “expected information” on market and business elements that has to be described in each of the close to market actions in H2020: namely Innovation Actions, Fast Track to Innovation and SME instrument. As it can easily be understood, the closer the instrument is to market, the higher the level of details to be presented in the proposal.These tools are not rocket-science but business tools tailored to the H2020/EIC “language” and expectations, defining a reference frame that include the key markets and business models dimensions worth to be included in their proposals.

This frame consists of three complementary approaches (and tools) to the exploitation elements of the project:

  • The first one looks into the operations of the business in a sense of how the business itself is created, sustained and maintained in time. This is covered with two complementary tools: the “Revenue model financial tool” and “Guiding revenue model selection tool”.
  • The second one looks into the value proposition of the business, which is the heart of the developed product, service or process within the project. This is covered with the “Value proposition tool”.
  • The third one looks around the market and the competence for the business, not only in the current situation but also into future scenarios. This is incorporated into the “Market analysis & competitor tool”.

This Toolbox set has been written as part of the Access4SMEs project (H2020-723120), a Coordination and Support Action funded by the European Commission, with the goal of empowering the network of Horizon 2020 National Contact Points (NCPs) for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Access to risk finance (ARF). More specifically, the project is focused on identifying and sharing best practices in applying to SME-dedicated instruments in Horizon 2020.

Find here the Guide on How to use Toolbox set for close to market activities in H2020.