Open Innovation Factory 2024

Who can participate in Open Innovation Factory 2024?

I am not an EIT Digital Partner, can I participate in an Open Innovation Factory 2024 proposal?

As a general rule, only EIT Digital Partners (Members, Linked Third Parties, External Partners) can participate in Open Innovation Factory 2024. Organisations that are not formal Partners can apply to become EIT Digital Partners. In order to be included in a proposal for cut-off 1, organisations should have at least registered via the EIT Digital website and sent their letter of intent by July 1, 2024.

If the activity is selected, organisations must complete the partnership to be eligible to participate in the activity.

Please note that Partnership decisions are pending approval of the relevant EIT Digital governance bodies.

You can read about EIT Digital’s partnership model agreement at this link.

Can an individual or team of individuals participate?

The Open Innovation Factory 2024 programme is focused on Early-Stage Venture Boost, so only incorporated companies can participate.

Is there a list of partners who are already working with EIT Digital?

The list of partners is available on the EIT Digital website, in the “Become a partner” section.

Can organisations from any country participate in Open Innovation Factory 2024?

Countries are sorted into three categories: EU countries, Horizon Europe associated countries and third countries.

EU countries: organisations from EU countries can become partners and participate in a proposal. 

Horizon Europe associated countries: Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Faroe Islands, Georgia, Iceland, Israel, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, UK, Ukraine. Organisations established in a Horizon Europe Associated country may apply to become EIT Digital Partners and participate in a proposal. Please see the Partnership Process Document on the EIT Digital Open Innovation Factory 2024 webpage which also includes a country to Region mapping for further information. 

Third countries (not EU, not Horizon Europe Associated): organisations registered in other countries may become EIT Digital "International Partners" but cannot receive any direct funding as a Partner would (but may bring co-funding). In very specific cases they may be involved as third parties (see above FAQ related to sub-granting and subcontracting).

Can I involve an organisation or individual which is not a Partner in a proposal?

It is highly recommended that all organisations involved in a proposal are, or plan to become, EIT Digital Partners. However, in a very limited number of justified cases third parties can be involved in the form of a sub-grantee (C1a category) or sub-contractor (B category). For instance, some organisations may not fit the EIT Digital partnership criteria. The Partner carrying the sub-granting or sub-contracting budget then retains the sole responsibility of the correct implementation by the third party. The Partner will need to select the third party as per specific principles, have specific contractual arrangements with the third party and report on their behalf. Also, please note that, in general, a proposal relying heavily on third parties is less strong than a proposal with a balanced set of Partners. 

For those special cases, please refer to the AMGA (Annotated Model Grant Agreement) in the EU website info.

Innovation Activity Team

Is there a minimum number of participating countries and Partners required in a proposal?

For the Open Innovation Factory 2024: two to four complementary organisations with at least one Business Partner involved. From at least two different countries (which can be linked to the same EIT Digital Region); Sub-grantees and Sub-contractors do not count.

Are there any requirements for the Activity implementation team?

For the Open Innovation Factory 2024, FTE requirements and the ideal implementation team setup are detailed in the Open Innovation Factory 2024 Document.

In more general terms, a commitment lower than 0.2 FTE per Partner and Task Leader/Contributor is discouraged. 

In the Open Innovation Factory 2024, what is a 'Business Champion'?

This is a term used only in Open Innovation Factory proposals. In Open Innovation Factory 2024, the Business Champion is always the startup to be boosted, with the specific role of designing/packaging the product and bringing it to the market

In the Open Innovation Factory 2024, do you support already existing startups?

The EIT Digital Open Innovation Factory 2024 focuses on supporting pan-European entrepreneurial teams to boost early-stage ventures.

Startups need to apply to be an EIT Digital Partner to submit a new proposal or join an existing proposal team. Please contact your Regional Director for more information and to discuss your specific case.

Can a company registered before January 1, 2020 be a Business Champion in the Open Innovation Factory 2024?

The Business Champion (ie., the venture to be boosted), must be registered after January 1, 2020 so a company older can’t apply as a Business Champion of any activity proposal. However, the rest of the partners of the consortium don’t have any requirement regarding company age.

Which are the EIT Digital five Strategic Focus Areas?

Inventing the digital future with core technologies providing secure, robust, responsive and intelligent communications and computation.

Keywords: Connectivity, Cyber Security and Privacy, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Digital ID Management, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, Authentication, Biometrics, User Behaviour Analytics.

The digital transformation of the industry, from production to logistics to retail.

Keywords: Smart Manufacturing, Predictive Maintenance, Industry 4.0, Energy Efficiency, Resource and Asset Management, Retail, Logistics, Customer Experience, Supply Chain Management, Image Recognition.

Serving the cities with digital technologies addression urban mobility, citizen inclusiveness and engagement, and city safety.

Keywords: Smart City, Smart Mobility, Safety & Security, Urban Development, Autonomous Driving, Citizen Services, Citizen Participation, Environmental Management, Energy Management, Sustainability.

Safeguarding health for the youth, the working professional and the elderly by analysing sensor data.

Keywords: Wellbeing at Work, Self Monitoring, Prevention, Early Detection, Assisted Living, Occupational and Personal Health, Rehab, Mental and Physical Impairment Support, Coping with Chronic Diseases.

The disruption of digital transactions and institutions with technologies that allow transparency, efficiency, security and trust.

Keywords: Banking, FinTech, Payments, Insurtech, Wealth/Asset Management, Cyber Security, Big Data, Mobile Banking.

For more information about the five Strategic Focus Areas, read our Strategic Innovation Agenda 2022-2024.

Activity Financials

What is KAVA and what are KAVA costs?

KAVA means KIC Added Value Activity, in other words an Activity.

KAVA costs are the costs necessary to the implementation of an Activity Proposal and are mentioned in the proposal.

KAVA cost = EIT funding + Co-funding

Can you give us a definition of what the co-funding is? Cash, in-kind, other?

Open Innovation Factory financial support is based on the actual costs incurred during the activity timeframe that must be reported by the partners (some may be in-kind work with own resources - and others paid by the partner such as travelling, subcontracting,...). The eligible cost types are described in the Financial Aspects  document, that can be found in the EIT Digital Intranet, or in the Annotated Model Grant Agreement. From the total cost reported, EIT funding is the part that will be supported by the grant and co-funding is the part that must be supported by the partners’ own resources and third party resources (other national/local grants, investors).

Pay attention to the fact that the EIT Funding and Co-funding are concepts regarding the final allocation of costs, that is finally settled after the reporting, not the available cash-flow during the activity. Partners must consider the cash needs to support the committed resources.

What is the Co-funding Leverage?

A part of the proposal costs will be supported by the EIT Digital grant (EIT funding) and some by Partners’ own resources or other sources, like other grants or investors (Co-funding). The Co-funding Leverage is the percentage of Co-funding brought to a proposal by the Partners in order to implement the proposed Activity plan.
The regular formula to calculate the Co-funding Leverage is the following: Co-funding Leverage = Co-funding / (EIT funding + Co-funding). The Co-funding Leverage is often simply called the % of Co-funding

Exception: In an Activity with sub-granting, it is acceptable to exclude the sub-granting budget from the calculation of the Co-funding percentage in certain conditions:

1) It is ok to take it out when the sub-grant is used to directly involve a future customer or a start-up in an Open Innovation Factory Activity.

2) If it is a sub-grant in the form of a prize (C2) please also take out the sub-granted amount when calculating the Co-funding Leverage (% of Co-funding). 

In both cases above, the formula becomes: Co-funding Leverage = Co-Funding / (EIT Funding + Co-funding – sub-granting budget). In all other cases the guideline is to include the sub-granting in the calculation and to use the regular formula. 

Where can I include public funding in a proposal?

Horizon Europe rules don’t allow to declare EU funding as co-funding to calculate the minimum co-funding rate. However, additional EU financial support should be declared in the proposal to show stronger capacity and it is positively looked at in the evaluation phase.

If other national or local public funding is used to finance eligible KAVA costs, then it can be included in the proposal as Co-funding in the funding tab.  

Where can I include investors funding in a proposal?

The funding information in the proposal states the source that will pay for the reported costs. If you plan to pay some of the resources with an external investor funding, you can add that part to the funding tab under “Other funding”. It will be considered part of the co-funding. It is important to highlight that it is not the total funding received from the investor, but what part of the resources will be paid by that source.

When and how can I report costs?

Costs are reported after the end of the implementation year at Cost Reporting (mainly December 2024 - January 2025 for Cut-off 1 activities). 

Eligible costs included in the approved 2024 Business Plan can be reported from the start date of the Activity (typically 1 July 2024) for the partners already eligible on that date, or, alternatively, starting on the eligibility date as seen in the Partner Information Form (PIF) for the partners that complete their registration during the activity’s timeframe. 

What happens if the cost reported are less than the KAVA budget?

At reporting: once the activity is selected, its co-funding rate will be used to correct any changes in the amounts of EIT Digital funding disbursable. If, for example, at reporting time the activity partners’ budget is lower than the originally prospected budget, EIT Digital will correct its funding amount on the activity’s co-funding rate and deliver reimbursements in the following tranches parametrized to the new amount. These corrections will not impact on the equity commitment for the EIT Digital sustainability.

What is Financial Support to Third Parties and how is it implemented?

Financial Support to Third Parties is another name for Sub-granting and should not be confused with Linked Third Parties (which are a Partnership type) or with Subcontracting (used in very different cases). Third parties (Sub-grantees) can be involved in the Activity execution in certain cases through the sub-granting mechanism. Please take note of the strict eligibility and implementation requirements of sub-grants. 

If the activity is delayed, is it possible report cost after the ending activity date?

This is not possible as the associated costs would be ineligible. It is important that all reported costs are completed in the activity’s timeframe, with the supporting documents dated within that period.

EIT Digital Sustainability

What are EIT Digital's expectations in terms of its Financial Sustainability?

Selected Activities will receive support, including financial support, from EIT Digital and the expectation is that the Activity contributes to support the European innovation ecosystem. Proposals in the Open Innovation Factory are therefore requested to contribute to the financial sustainability of EIT Digital through the transfer of equity shares of the early-stage ventures boosted (ie., the Business Champions of the Activities).

After the equity is transferred from the founders to EIT Digital, if a capital increase is proposed, will EIT Digital support such an increase?

EIT Digital will not participate in capital increases, so EIT Digital’s equity position will be diluted. Equity transfer conditions are included in the Share Transfer Agreement. Its template can be accessed on the Open Innovation Factory 2024 Intranet.

What happens with the equity % if the final EIT Funding / KAVA is different from the one in the proposal for any reason (underspending, penalties)?

The equity % is set in the proposal based on the partners estimated budget and grant availability. Changes on that distribution due to underspending or underperforming of the activity will not modify the equity percentage committed.

How to substantiate the equity proposal?

It should be based on the maturity and current development of the venture. A reasoned calculation, based on startup current value and assets, partners contributions and balance of resources applied in the proposal could be included in the proposal. Minimum percentage is 5,5%.

Can the equity % be negotiated after being selected?

The proposal must include an equity % the venture commits to transfer. This percentage is a relevant factor in the evaluation process and will make a proposal competitive. The equity % proposed in the proposals cannot be changed afterwards.

Submission system and help

Where can I get further help?

For questions related to the general submission process, financial sustainability requirements, etc., please contact EIT Digital Open Innovation Factory Team or your contact in the EIT Digital Ecosystem support team.

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Co-Funded by the European Union