The business network programme offers funding and technical assistance for the establishment of binding strategic collaboration with a long-term perspective. The scheme is part of Innovation Norway's provision for entrepreneurs and will now, with the government's new focus on cultural and creative industries, have an extra focus on creative businesses. The purpose is to contribute to increased competitiveness, profitability in the companies and to be the basis for further growth.
The business network must designate one company/organisation (own legal entity) to take the role of applicant and administrator. The network can consist of three or more SMEs, registered in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises. Business collaboration can take place along a value chain or across industries and sectors. There is no requirement for the companies to be located in the same region. Large companies can also be included in the network, but not be dominant. Public sector organisations can participate, but no more than one. Companies abroad can also be included.
Business network for all industries
We make 2 announcements per year on new main business networking projects. The first announcement has already been made and seven new projects were included in the programme in March 2017, one of which was from the creative industries.
Business networks earmarked for the creative industries
Business networks consist of two phases, a pilot project and a main project. Companies in the creative industries can apply for funding to conduct a pilot project, in order to lay the foundation for further collaboration and to clarify agreements, strategy and goals.
A pilot project typically runs over a period of between three to six months. Once a plan and agreement exists for the work in the business network, an application can be made for the funding of a main project for up to three years. As a rule, participating companies with the financial resources to complete the pilot project phase should wait until the main project to apply for funding.
Business networking projects within the creative industries
If you are three or more companies within the creative industries, you can now apply for business networking funding for pilot projects. The application deadline is May 31st, 2017. In the autumn there will be another round of applications.
The purpose of a pilot project is to work out a specific decision making basis for the participating companies, so that they can make a correct decision about whether a main business network project should be implemented or not. The pilot project involves developing a common strategy and business plan for the main project, including budgets and a funding plan with a perspective of up to 3 years, as well as a collaboration model and collaboration agreement. The pilot project also normally includes development activities connected to network development and knowledge sharing.
What can you get help with?
Help with the part-financing of joint costs related to the joint development activities can be applied for. This may for example be:
- The project management and administration costs of the applicant/administrator.
- The purchase of consultancy services and other external services in Norway or abroad.
How to apply?
Project applications must be submitted via Innovation Norway's electronic application portal. There is a separate application form for business networks with built-in guidance on how to complete the application, see the link to the application form below.
It is important that the application and project description address the conditions that form the criteria for our assessment and selection of projects, see below. We are unable to contribute funding to all the pilot projects that are submitted to us. We therefore need to prioritise.
Priority areas are the development of new business areas and market opportunities in Norway and/or abroad. This is also the basis for pilot projects. Pilot projects based on other goals and areas of collaboration will not be prioritised.
Criteria for the evaluation and selection of projects
- Market and growth potential of the companies.
- Value creation and employment potential in Norway.
- The overall capability of the participants to implement the project (skills, capacity and finances).
- To what extent the public sector support is decisive/crucial for the implementation of the project.
The four criteria have equal significance. The project must satisfy all the criteria.
If you are interested, we recommend that you contact a customer advisor in your region as soon as possible, for an informal conversation about the project and application process.