Fabian Demicoli

Making Funds work for SMEs: Research & Innovation

GRTU and Europe
Direct, which is an EU funded office hosted within GRTU, have this week held an
information session on Research and Innovation for SMEs. It was a very
successful meeting because SMEs were given a lot of hands on information of how
research and innovation is relevant to them and what funds are available to
carry out actions.

Commission Head Mr Martin Bugelli and GRTU President Paul Abela opened the
session. Mr Bugelli that Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation
programme that was ever created. Not only there are a large amount of funds
specifically targeted for SMEs but this programme is different from FP7 because
it is simpler and more streamlined, making it easily accessible for SMEs. Mr
Paul Abela stated that we hold these kind of information sessions that are
tailor made for SMEs so that SMEs are given the right information in a manner
they can easily understand it and after the meeting have a clear idea of what
is available and from where to start.

COST – Networking in the EU made easy

gives any business owner the opportunity to choose a discussion topic, called
‘Action', under a specific sector to become involved in. This involvement would
consist of meeting other stakeholders (another business owner, researcher,
university, etc…) around twice a year and remain in contact with them to
discuss and share ideas on this topic. There are no funds for research as such
but participants get reimbursed for expenses in conjunction with flights and
accommodation to COST meetings – it also leads to excellent contacts and can
also lead to preparation for future grant proposals as in Horizon2020. Minimal
administration is involved!

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is
the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation implementing the
Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's
global competitiveness. Horizon 2020 will run from 2014 to 2020, with circa €79
billion budgeted for its 7 years duration. Horizon 2020 has a number of key novelties
that make it fit for purpose to promote growth and tackle societal challenges.

Horizon 2020 provides a unique opportunity to share knowledge,
experience and facilities across Europe. It also:

  • finances your research idea.
  • increases your international
    networks and contacts.
  • offers SMEs the opportunity to tackle
    global research challenges.
  • enables you to widen your field of
    expertise, which gives you access to new technologies.




Helps you get
your first pick at licensing patents since all knowledge generated by you
during the project is yours!

Commercialisation voucher programme

The scheme
provides support with the aim of assisting SMEs in assessing the commercial and
market potential of their ideas. The intention is to determine the commercialisation
potential of the proposed innovative solutions before actually undertaking any
R&D. The inventor would already be informed about the possibility of
protecting the idea through intellectual property as well as gain awareness
about the market potential and the economic wealth it can generate for the good
of society at large.

One or more of
the following activities would be supported sequentially: IP Check, Market
Research, Product Development Costing, Economic Impact, Risk Profile, Initial
Patent Application, Business Plan and Investors Meetings.

Development Programme

The programme
focuses on technology transfer between academia and industry with specific
focus on priority sectors identified in the National R&I Strategy.

proposals submitted through this Programme should typically have a duration of
between one and three years and are of a value between €50,000 and €200,000.

Applicants need
to have undertaken feasibility studies which show that the research proposal is
dealing with an innovative or step change improvement solution, as well as
having commercialisation potential for eventual launch into the market. In
order to facilitate matters, these feasibility studies and assessments could be
paid through the first 5 activities of the Commercialisation Voucher Programme.

Europe Enterprise Network

The Enterprise
Europe Network hosted at Malta Enterprise is the gateway to competitiveness and
innovation.   Maltese SMEs can get access
to all the information they need to develop business and find the right
business partners.

The Network
offers support and advice to businesses across Europe and helps them make the
most of the opportunities in the European Union. Our services are specifically
designed for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) but are also available to all
businesses, research centres and universities across Europe.

The Enterprise
Europe Network is made up of close to 600 partner organisations in 54
countries, promoting competitiveness and innovation at the local level in
Europe and beyond. Whether you need information on EU legislation, help with
technology transfer or finding a business partner, want to benefit from
innovation networks in your region or need information on funding
opportunities, this is the place to start.

What we can do for you










The Malta Chamber of SMEs represents over 7,000 members from over 90 different sectors which in their majority are either small or medium sized companies, and such issues like the one we're experiencing right now, it's important to be united. Malta Chamber of SMEs offers a number of different services tailored to its members' individual requirements' and necessities. These range from general services offered to all members to more individual & bespoke services catered for specific requirements.

A membership with Malta Chamber of SMEs will guarantee that you are constantly updated and informed with different opportunities which will directly benefit your business and help you grow. It also entails you to a number of services which in their majority are free of charge and offered exclusively to its members (in their majority all free of charge).