Eight of the 44 project proposals received an endorsing RDI policy opinion from the National Research, Development and Innovation Office, which is a precondition when applying for the funds of HUF 5 billion (nearly EUR 16 million) under the “Innovation Ecosystem” (EDIOP-2.1.5-15) programme.
The project proposals assessed by experts in a multi-level system, may now be submitted to the competent Management Authority to receive no more than HUF 600 million (EUR 1.9 million) non-refundable funding each for creating incubator houses in the cities of Győr, Szeged, Debrecen, Miskolc and Pécs.
The call, which has a total budget of HUF 5 billion (nearly EUR 16 million), aims to stimulate the development of the innovation ecosystem in the convergence regions, in order to establish those community and training centres which enable promising innovative ideas to get selected, developed and financed. Applicants may receive a non-refundable support of maximum HUF 600 million (EUR 1.9 million) each, of which no more than 20 percent can be spent as operating costs of the newly launched incubator, while at least 80 percent of the funds has to go on financing the selected startups.
The RDI policy opinion is based on the peer-reviews of several anonymous experts and a report by a professional panel, the assessment criteria is open for the public. Each of the submitted project proposals of startup ecosystem building were reviewed by five anonymous experts. General assessment criteria such as the professional experience of the incubator house executives and the number of undertaken startup investments were assessed by two experts, while the professional aspects such as the business plan or the plan for creating and developing the local startup ecosystem were evaluated by three other experts in each case.
During the stage of the panel assessment each consortium leader delivered a 10-minute presentation which was also ranked by the Board. After the presentations and the panel assessment of the 44 project proposals, which took altogether three days, the Board classified the project proposals in accordance with the ranking, into categories as "endorsable" or "non-endorsable" from an RDI policy perspective. While making decisions by the NRDI Office on the RDI policy opinions it was a major consideration to andidates , from RDI policy aspects, only one incubator house can be sustainably run in each of the foreseen regions of operation, and those should be the ones demonstrating the most convincing model of operations in the highest number of competency fields.
Announced in December 2015, the “Innovation Ecosystem” (EDIOP-2.1.5-15) call aims to provide funding for the creation and activity of startup incubator houses in the convergence regions of Hungary under a new scheme in the renewed portfolio of calls. Incubator houses are responsible for providing opportunities and funds to newly launched startup and spin-off businesses to help them elaborate their innovative ideas in details and grow into an enterprise. An important feature of the programme is that the high investor’s risk of such newborn innovative businesses is shared between the state and the incubator house stakeholders.
Incubator houses decide on the selection of startup projects and their reasonable funding, at their own discretion. The incubator will be directly interested in the success of the selected projects, since an investment that corresponds 20 percent of the received funds is to be effected from own sources. During the incubation process, through their successive investments, the incubator houses become owners themselves up to an ownership share of 24 percent.
Based on the annual programme strategy of the NRDI Fund approved by the Government, another call for similar purposes will be available later this year, to reinforce the innovation ecosystem of the more developed Central Hungary region.