Cascade funding for young companies for development and validation of products

Cascade Funding (also known as Financial Support for Third Parties or competitive calls) is a European Commission (EC) mechanism to distribute public funding to assist startups, scaleups, SME and/or mid-caps in the uptake or development of (not only) digital innovation.

They are funded through specific projects, whose budget is largely dedicated to small grants to third parties via so called cascade. These projects launch their own (mostly open) calls for proposals. But be aware that there is tens of cascade projects and each project has its own rules, eligible project types and grant amounts.

Support offered by these open calls, usually consist in funding, typically in the range of €50-200 thousand, but it may also be vouchers for support services or free access and support to use testing facilities.

They usually provide support for:

Comparing to other EC or national funding programmes and initiatives, the cascade funding is brilliant as it has usually:

So far, the EC has invested more than €800 million into cascade funding in order to bring SMEs (mainly startups) but also researchers, new actors in tech communities into the world of EU funding with very low administrative burden.

Similarly to cascade funding, also other EU initiatives such as European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and several Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) also provide a targeted support to startups in form of small grants for development and validation.

Selected Slovak startups benefitting from cascade funding:

Find your call:

Sources: Wikipedia, InnoNews

Author: Ivan Filus, Innovation & Growth Expert, Horizon Europe National Contact Point (EIC)

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