European Commission (EC) has announced a call for proposals for the BlueInvest Grants Program: Investing in Blue Innovation to help advance market-readiness of new products, services or processes. Activities could, for example, include trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real environment conditions, and market replication.
The proposals should aim at developing business concepts further into a market-ready product, service or process aligned with the applicant’s blue economy growth strategy.
The objectives of this call for proposals are to:
- Bring to market new products, services, processes, and business models in blue economy value chains and help advance their market-readiness;
- develop sustainable and innovative blue economy in Europe’s sea basins;
- de-risk investment in these projects to facilitate their access to other financing schemes for the next stages of their activities.
In order to achieve the objectives above, proposals should aim to:
- establishing new product and/or service and/or processes and/or business model in the blue economy value chains that contributes to one or more Commission political priorities, with a particular focus on the objectives targeted by the European Green Deal, including e.g. biodiversity, circular economy, digital earth and farm to fork strategies and the transition to a climate-neutral economy with reduced carbon and environmental footprint that is competitive on a global scale. and/or
- shifting existing products and/or services and or processes and/or business model in the blue economy value chains towards.
- Also branded as ‘BlueInvest Grants’, this call for proposals belongs to a package of measures set up under the ‘BlueInvest platform’ encompassing assistance services for investment readiness and EUR 75 million worth of liquidity made available in 2020 for investing equity in funds specialising entirely or mostly in the blue economy or co-investing in particular companies.
A non-exhaustive list of relevant areas for the blue economy includes:
- The blue bioeconomy — the cultivation, husbandry or capture of living material from fresh or saltwater and activities based on the use or processing of this material;
- Digital transformation of ocean and coastal activities;
- Renewable energy — including energy from wind, sun (floating), tide, wave and thermal gradients; logistic or supporting activities in that area are covered;
- Enabling technologies such as sensors, corrosion or biofouling resistant materials or coating, digitisation, electricity transmission equipment, multi-purpose platforms;
- Production of new products from living or non-living resources that would otherwise be wasted;
- Cleaner shipping;
- Pollution monitoring, clean-up or management;
- New facilities that support the diversification or energy efficiency of ports;
- Sustainable tourism aiming at reducing its carbon footprint or enhancing biodiversity, or efficiently managing resources (e.g. water, food and waste) or tourist flows (e.g. diversifying offer, addressing seasonality and safety).
- Proposals should specify the concrete outcome of the projects in terms of new products and/or services and criteria for their market uptake. Particular attention should be paid to Intellectual Property protection and ownership; applicants will have to present convincing measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation (‘freedom to operate’).
Projects are expected to achieve the following impacts:
- Enhance SMEs profitability and growth performance;
- Generate a measurable social and environmental impact, contributing to EU policy priorities as, for example, climate neutral and circular economy (‘European Green Deal’), and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (e.g. SDG 14);
- Seize new market and business opportunities in the EU and beyond;
- Increase private investment in blue innovations, notably by leveraging private co-investment and/or follow-up investments;
- Demonstrate European added value, by contributing in a concrete way to EU growth, creation or maintenance of high quality jobs and, where relevant, to the EU’s sea-basin strategies;
- Help communities and industries hit hard by the coronavirus or migration of key workers to recover through a more resilient economy with reduced carbon and environmental footprint that is competitive on a global scale.
In order to be eligible for a grant, the applicants must:
- Be exclusively for-profit SMEs’ e.g. micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, as defined in Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC, that are not ‘non-profit legal entities’ (i.e. ‘legal entity which by its legal form is non-profit-making or which has a legal or statutory obligation not to distribute profits to its shareholders or individual members’).
- Be legally established in EU Member States.
For more information, visit https://bit.ly/39XNnRO