Innosuisse Start-Up Innovation Projects Guide: Your Gateway to Market Entry
If you’re a Swiss startup seeking innovation project funding before market entry, you’re in the right spot. Today, we’ll tell you all about Innosuisse’s Start-up Innovation Projects. For those more interested in funding after market entry, check out our article about the Swiss Accelerator.
The Start-up Innovation Projects (SIP) programme is designed to support disruptive science-based startups prior to market entry, and has an ongoing basis – you can submit anytime.
The Start Up innovation projects is a new funding instrument, adopted by Swiss funding agency Innosuisse in January 2023 to fill an important funding gap faced by Swiss companies.
Let’s dive in!
Are you eligible?
You are if…
- You have not entered the market yet
- You operate in Switzerland
- Your startup has less than 50 FTE
- Your startup was founded less than 5 years ago (exceptional justified cases up to 10 years)
Please note that Innosuisse exclusively supports startups; research partners like consortiums and university research groups are not eligible.
Is your project eligible?
- Your project must be rooted in application-oriented research.
- Your project is scalable and has potential for exponential growth.
- Projects should be completed within 36 months, paving the way for a quick market launch.
What level of technology readiness or degree of innovation is expected?
There is no predefined starting Technology Readiness Level. Innosuisse expects early-stage technology to quickly progress through development stages, aiming for market entry by the project’s conclusion. Starting at a very low level implies substantial work during project implementation.
Funding: How much can you get?
Innosuisse provides direct funding to the startups and will cover up to 70% of your project’s costs. No specific limit has been set regarding Innosuise’s contribution for each project.
What are eligible costs for Innosuisse Start Up Projects?
Project personnel and material costs, such as salaries, infrastructure, market research, travel, and third-party expenses that are necessary, exclusively required and directly related to your project, are covered. Costs without a direct impact, like customer acquisition, are not included.
How many start up innovation projects have been submitted for 2023?
Let us delve into the official numbers for Innosuisse’s Start-Up Innovation projects:
- In June, there were 32 applications, but by the end of July, this number had surged to 91 submissions.
- As of July 31, funding requests had reached CHF 173.3 million, and Innosuisse had approved 9 applications, amounting to CHF 12.8 million.
This means that during the summer, the number of project applications for Innosuisse Start-Up Innovation projects increased by 59 applications. It’s important to note that we’re still awaiting data beyond July, but an upward trend is anticipated.
What is the difference between Innosuisse Start-Up innovation projects and the Swiss Accelerator?
See our article Swiss Accelerator vs. Start-up Innovation Projects.
What does the application process involve?
- Application: Start by submitting your proposal
- Evaluation & Decision
- Pitch & Interview
What is the deadline for Start-Up Projects in 2023?
You can submit your proposals for Start-Up Innovation Projects at any time using Innosuisse’s online application tool, INNOLINK.
However, applications are evaluated during specific annual decision meetings held by the Innovation Council, with four meetings each year. To be eligible, apply at least 8 weeks before the decision meeting.
What key sections should your proposal include?
The following sections and documents are included in the template for the proposal, which you can submit in either English, German or French.
General Information: Title, background, and initial results.
Startup Information: Details regarding employee competencies, track record, existing business infrastructure, and comprehensive financial data.
Added Value of Your Innovation Project: This covers the business model, competitive position, unique selling proposition (USP), market analysis, potential for profitability, and sustainable development.
Your Innovative Solution: Information about development status, innovative content, risk and ambition, and feasibility of results (including current TRL).
Project Plan and Schedule: This should include work packages, quantitative objectives (technological, scientific, economic), and a risk analysis.
Financial Plan: Outline labor costs, material costs, and how you will cover the minimum of 30% personal contributions.
Additional Financial Documents: These include the organization chart, bank account statements, excerpt from the commercial register, and annual financial statements. All financial statements should be signed unless an external audit letter is provided.
What are the steps of the evaluation process?
The evaluation process has three stages, totaling around 16 weeks:
- Initial assessment (4 weeks): When the proposal is submitted.
- Independent review (4 weeks): Three experts evaluate the proposal.
- Innovation Council meeting (8 weeks): The Innovation Council decides who will be invited to pitch their project.
-> If your proposal is rejected: you will be notified by their system IncaMail. There is no resubmission process however, you can challenge Innosuisse’s decision by filing an appeal with the Federal Administrative Court within 30 days.
-> If your proposal is approved : Interview stage
After a positive evaluation by the Innovation Council, Innosuisse will send you an IncaMail invitation to pitch within two weeks and schedule your pitch appointment.
The Pitch will be the opportunity for you to showcase your innovation, talk about it in more depth, and answer the jury’s doubts.
Following this, the Innovation Council will make a final decision of approval or rejection. If your application is approved, you will receive a contract from Innosuisse before your project commences.
Click to see Key Insights for a Winning Proposal
When it comes to securing funding for your innovative project, your application is your golden ticket. It’s the key that can open doors to a world of possibilities. But what does it take to craft a stellar application?
INNOVATION DEGREE: Stand out with novel, well-researched, and scalable ideas, while ensuring patent compatibility.
- Innovative Content
- Practical Foundation
- Market Transition
- Freedom To Operate (FTO)
CREATE VALUE: Consider market trends, emphasize uniqueness, develop a robust market entry plan, incorporate sustainability, and highlight the project’s economic and societal value.
- Competition and USP
- Value Generation
SET THE STAGE: Prepare with a methodology for real-world application, realistic goal-setting, a skilled team, and a robust risk management plan.
- Realistic Planning
- Skilled Team
- Risk Management
Post-grant: What comes next?
Congratulations, you’ve won the grant! Now, what comes next?
Upon approval following the interview, you will be provided with a subsidy contract, and once it’s signed, you can start your project.
This is when the real work kicks off, and your project begins to take shape, leveraging the funding provided by Innosuisse. Throughout this journey, you’ll be responsible for submitting milestones and, if requested, interim reports to keep Innosuisse updated on your progress.
At Evolution, we’re more than just consultants; we’re your innovation partners throughout the entire innovation life cycle – from inception to execution and reporting.
Read about our Swiss success stories and testimonials here .