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Innovation funding

The state of Brandenburg, the federal government and the EU will support you with a varied array of specifically tailored funding opportunities. We offer guidance in the search for relevant contact persons, funding and subsidy opportunities.

To begin with, you can use our selected research tools, such as the “Funding Finder” (“Förderfinder”) of the ILB, the federal-level Funding Database, the Start-up Portal or you can contact us directly!

The guideline “Brandenburgischer Innovationsgutschein (BIG)” (“Brandenburg Innovation Voucher”) encompasses four funding opportunities and it is targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises in Brandenburg

  • that want to intensify their project-based cooperation with scientific institutions (“Small BIG-Transfer“ and “Grand BIG-Transfer”)
  • or that want to carry out short-term research and development projects (“BIG-R&D”)
  • or digitisation measures (“BIG-Digital”)
  • or that are in need of consulting services for filing an application for EU funding for R&D cooperation projects (“BIG-EU”)

Small Innovation Voucher (“Small BIG-Transfer“)
The Small Innovation Voucher (“Small BIG-Transfer”) can be used for the initial phases of scientific undertakings, e.g. consulting services, feasibility studies or laboratory activities; only businesses that have so far not established contact with research institutes are eligible. The assignment by a business given to a higher education institution or extra-mural research institute can be funded to an extent of 100% and with up to €3,000. It is a one-off voucher.

“Grand Innovation Voucher” (“Großer Innovationsgutschein”; “Grand BIG-Transfer”)
Eligible for the “Grand Innovation Voucher” (“Grand BIG-Transfer”) are planning-, development- and implementation-oriented R&D activities. Also eligible are scientific assignments by a business given to a higher education institution and extra-mural research institute. The maximum amount of funding is €15,000 at a funding rate of 50%. Businesses can apply once per year for the Grand BIG-Transfer.

Innovation Voucher Research and Development (“BIG-R&D”)
The Innovation Voucher Research and Development (“BIG-R&D”) will be handed out to businesses for short-term research and development projects with the goal of developing new or improved products, processes and services that can be immediately brought to the market. The maximum funding ranks at €100,000 at the funding rate of up to 50% and a maximum project duration of 2 years.

Digitisation measures (BIG-Digital)
The BIG-Digital will be handed out for the preparation and implementation of digitisation measures at the company that has applied for it; these measures have to pursue the goal of uncovering and seizing the innovation potential of a company through the digitisation of business processes and operations. The BIG-Digital supports the digitisation process of businesses through modular funding:

  • Module Consulting: funding for the analysis phase of business processes provided by external consultants. The maximum possible funding ranks at €50,000.
  • Module Implementation: funding for the costs of the concrete implementation of digitisation measures. The maximum possible funding ranks at €500,000.
  • Module Training: funding for measures aimed at staff qualification in the framework of digitisation measures. The maximum possible funding ranks at €50,000.
  • The funding rate of all three modules ranks at up to 50% of the project volume.

Innovation Voucher EU (“BIG-EU“)
The Innovation Voucher EU (“BIG-EU“) can be used by businesses that need assistance for the drawing up of a project proposal or an application for EU funding (R&D-related cooperation projects). The highest possible funding for consulting services provided by a consultant familiar with the EU application filing process ranks at €8,000. Provided that a company has taken over the consortium lead within a consortium of companies, this company can be supported with a sum of up to €16,000. The funding rate ranks at 50%. In principle, it is a one-off voucher.

We offer free consulting services and assistance with regard to all of the modules. Feel free to contact Brandenburg Invest’s regional centre responsible for your location.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Brandenburg can receive support during the early stages of recruiting highly-qualified young skilled employees (already during their studies). The guideline Brandenburg Innovation Professionals (Brandenburger Innovationsfachkräfte) contains three funding elements in this regard: “Brandenburg Scholarship”, “Working Students” and “Innovation Assistant”.

Financial subsidies will be granted in the form of scholarships for the completion of final theses that focus on an innovative business assignment by an SME. Subsidies will also be handed out for the part-time employment of “working students” in the framework of an innovative business assignment. Furthermore, they will be granted for the employment of recent graduates of a higher education institution of the state or recognized by the state for regulated advanced further training (e.g. “master”) or for an innovation assistant for an innovative assignment at a business.

Brandenburg Invest offers free consulting services and assistance with regard to all of the programmes. Feel free to contact Brandenburg Invest’s regional centre responsible for your location.

Go-innovative supports SMEs by funding external consulting services regarding the preparation and the implementation of product innovations and technological process innovations with the goal of strengthening innovativeness and competitiveness.

The funding is not thematically limited to certain technologies, products, sectors or industries and it consists of two levels of services:

  • Potential analysis
  • Implementation plan and/or project management

The guideline is applicable until 31 December 2020!

Eligible applicants
Companies of the industry including handicrafts businesses with a technological potential that employ fewer than 100 employees and generate an annual turnover or a balance sheet total of €20,000,000 at the most. Not eligible are the sectors agriculture, fishery, transportation, shipbuilding and the sectors that fall under the former ECSC Treaty (coal and steel).

Funding type

Maximum funding amount
The extent of the funding for all levels of services ranks at up to 50% of the eligible costs for external consulting services. For one day of a consultant’s work, up to €1,100 are eligible for funding. The statutory sales tax is not eligible.

Application process
Interested companies can approach a consulting business, which is authorised to carry out the programme. The addresses of the authorised consulting businesses can be found on the website of the project-executing organisation.

The funding programme of the European Union for research and innovation aims at creating a competitive economy in Europe through financially supporting innovations of products, services and processes. HORIZON 2020 provides funding for research and innovation activities along the entire value chain ranging from the initial idea to the development of prototypes.

All legal entities with a business location in an EU member state, in an associated country or in a third country can participate in the programme Horizon 2020.
In principle, support will be granted to project initiatives with a European added value; those projects must respond to a call for proposals by the EU commission.

Horizon 2020 has a uniform funding rate per project, which can be found in the respective calls for proposals.

As a rule at least three institutions that are independent from each other from three different states have to participate in the project.
There are certain programme areas within Horizon 2020 that allow individual partners to apply for funding, for example through the SME instrument, which supports exclusively small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) along the innovation chain: from feasibility studies through research and presentations all the way to the market launch.

The Enterprise Europe Network Berlin-Brandenburg offers free-of-charge information and consulting services on participation opportunities. It will assist you during the filing of an application or in your search for a cooperation partner for a project initiative.

The project Innovative SME (“KMU-innovativ”) is a funding programme by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research that supports top-level research in important future-oriented fields.

There are no thematic restrictions for funding in the following technological fields:

  • Biotechnologies
  • Medical technologies
  • Information and communications technologies
  • Material research
  • Photonics
  • Production technologies
  • Resource efficiency and climate protection
  • Research for civil security
  • Electronic systems, electromobility

Decisive factors for funding are excellence and the innovative level of the project in question as well as a high utilisation probability. A central information service will assist you with regard to all the questions that might come up.

ProFIT Brandenburg grants businesses in Brandenburg the opportunity to have their research and development projects funded. They can apply individually or as unions of businesses or scientific institutions.

Funding will go to innovative R&D projects aimed at creating or improving products, processes and services that are, among other things, geared towards a growing market and in line with the Cluster strategy of the state of Brandenburg.

In addition to the subsidy of up to €3,000,000 per project for the research part, low-interest loans of up to €3,000,000 can be provided for the development part and the market launch preparations and the launch itself. Furthermore, the guideline allows for the funding of feasibility studies aimed at preparing research activities.

You can present your project ideas and get free consulting services with regard to the detailed regulations at Brandenburg Invest’s regional centre responsible for your location.

The Central Innovation Programme for SMEs is a nation-wide funding programme for SMEs and business-related research establishments co-operating with SMEs. It supports various innovation projects and it is open to all technologies and sectors.

Individual projects by companies
Funding may be provided for R&D projects conducted by a single company focussing on the development of innovative products, processes or technical services, and the funding is not limited to particular technologies or sectors. In addition to the funding for R&D projects of small and medium-sized enterprises, measures aimed at market introductions can receive support as well.

  • Beneficiaries: small and medium-sized enterprises in accordance with the SME definition; that is companies with no more than 500 employees.
  • Funding type: non-repayable subsidy
  • Maximum funding amount: 25 to 45% of the costs that are eligible for funding (the maximum amount ranks at €380,000)

Collaborative projects
Funding may be provided for R&D collaborative projects between SMEs, or between SMEs and public or private non-profit research institutes. Furthermore, it is also possible to collaborate with foreign partners. For the implementation of their R&D projects, small and medium-sized enterprises can additionally apply for the funding of services that are related to the market introduction and provided by external third parties.

  • Beneficiaries: businesses (SMEs) regardless of their legal form with business operations in Germany, as well as non-economic German research institutes in Germany as partners of businesses that received funding in the framework of the collaboration project.

Cooperation networks and their R&D projects
The ZIM cooperation networks cover both the funding of the network management services and of the development projects initiated by a network. Networks must be made up of a minimum of six small and medium-sized enterprises. Furthermore, additional partners may participate (e.g. research institutes, institutes of higher education institutions, large businesses and other establishments, such as associations). Funding is open to all technologies and sectors.

  • Beneficiaries: the businesses that participate in the network. With regard to the funding of the network management services, the contribution will be handed out to the network management institution (indirect funding of businesses). In the case of development projects, the participating businesses and research institutes will receive the contribution directly. The businesses have to bear a part of the respective project costs themselves.
  • Eligible for the funding of the network management is the external network management institution acting on behalf of the participating businesses or a research institute that participates in the network.

The beneficiaries within the development projects that were set up by the networks have to comply with the same requirements that apply to individual and collaborative projects.