Cascade funding is a mechanism of the European Commission to distribute public funding to help SMEs and startups in the uptake or development of digital innovation, in sectors such as digital, artificial intelligence (AI), health or Internet of Things (IoT), among others.
This scheme combines European Union public funds with private funds and addresses SMEs and entrepreneurs who need funding to kick off their innovative projects, supporting them in taking the first steps in Technological Readiness Levels (TRLs) close to the market and allowing them to apply for larger calls afterwards.
Furthermore, the project’s consortium has to comply with the EU rules regarding Financial Support for Third Parties (FSTP).
The European Union provides funds to financial intermediaries, such as banks, investors, business accelerators and crowdfunding platforms, which select and finance innovative projects at an early stage of development.
This way, the EU assumes part of the initial investment risk, reducing the risk for private investors and encouraging them to participate in the funding.
A wide variety of cascade funding calls open on a monthly basis, with a two-month deadline. This way, they offer a high success rate and require less drafting and management work compared to proposals for most European calls.
This article is frequently updated with the latest cascade funding calls.
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