Deadline: 1 June 2020
The Embassy of Sweden in Tirana is seeking applications for the Window 2 of the “Innovation Challenge Fund 3rd Call”, for innovation service and promotion providers such as Albanian incubators, accelerators, science parks, innovation hubs, co-working facilities, technology transfer offices, innovation clubs, specialised media on innovation, financial intermediaries, innovation education providers and others agents engaged in providing services to innovative start-ups as well as involved in developing the Albanian innovation ecosystem including promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
The “Innovation Challenge Fund 3rd Call” objective is to boost start-up creation and improve the innovation ecosystem in Albania. This is done by offering an opportunity for access to finance through an open, transparent and competitive application process, which provides applicants with a one-off, limited-duration grant to overcome the uncertainties that inhibit innovation, research, and development. The assumption is that without challenge-fund support, such activities are either unlikely to happen, or will occur at a later stage, with reduced developmental effects.
The “Innovation Challenge Fund 3rd Call” supports the promotion of gender equality, human rights, democracy, respect for the rule of law, environment and climate protection. Thus, gender equality improvements in employment rate, increased number of women entrepreneurs, women founded start-ups and gender diversity in the team will be prioritized.
The ISOs selected for a grant are expected to pay specific attention to supporting and encouraging women founded start-ups, women-owned businesses and gender diverse teams. In the evaluation process additional value will be given to women founded ISOs and applicants with gender diverse teams. Women led ISOs are therefore especially encouraged to apply.
Under Window 2 the applying ISOs are eligible for a grant of up to 100 000 EUR.
The period for the implementation of the project will be up to 12 months and the grant must be utilized within the project period.
The applicant must also satisfy the following eligibility criteria to be eligible for a grant under Window 2 of the “Innovation Challenge Fund 3rd Call”:
- be a legal person;
- must be registered entity, such as for example private enterprises, universities, public research institutions, organizations, foundations etc.
- already be established in Albania and have an officially registered entity operating for at least 12 months (from the date of registering to the date of publishing the Call for Proposals);
- must provide minimum 50% of cost share (of the total value of the project);
- be directly responsible for the preparation and implementation of the activities outlined in the application.
The evaluation process is carried out in a transparent manner based on specific criteria, involving an evaluation committee with international expertise. The evaluation team will especially consider the following criteria:
- Contribution to the Ecosystem – the potential of the ISO to lift the Albanian innovation ecosystem as a whole, strengthened linkages to, or partnerships with for example academia, business and/or relevant research, any deepened collaboration and cooperation to increase the ISOs specialization in providing innovation and start-up support services.
- Innovation Criteria– the uniqueness of the proposed services in the Albanian context and, the readiness of the project to bring in specialized innovation services to Albania and linking it with European and/or regional knowledge centres.
- Feasibility and Sustainability Criteria – the credentials and past record of the team and/or organisation behind the ISO, the qualifications of the team and their organizational and technical capacity, the willingness to share the cost of the project, the viability of the project and its financing and the likelihood of sustainability post funding.
- Additionality Criteria– aspects such as positive environmental impact, location outside Tirana and linkages to universities are merits. Providers with women in key positions, women’s participation as academic staff and as owners, managers, and technical experts as well as services aimed at women innovators and entrepreneurship will be especially considered. Financial capabilities such as stable profits over the budgeted period, stable liquidity ratio and good debt to equity ratio are considered as important qualifying criteria. In addition, the efficiency of activities performed is of importance for the financial evaluation process.
For more information, visit http://challengefund.euforinnovation.al/apply/