DOCOMO Digital | b-ventures is part of the new project, ALTFInator to revolutionize European innovation funding
ALTFInator Helps Innovative European SMEs Gain Access to Alternative Finance by Educating SME Advisors.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 99% of businesses in the EU, and one of the most important issues they face is the difficulty of accessing funds. Alternative financing (AF) for businesses across Europe has increased in recent years, becoming an important source of finance, but access to these sources varies considerably across Europe with Southern, Central and Eastern European regions lagging Northern and Western European regions.
The H2020 project, ALTFInator (selected for funding with EUR 1.5 million by the European Commission) was created to solve this problem by facilitating the transfer of best practices from more advanced to less advanced markets, and by designing and implementing a capacity-building strategy to improve the provision and absorption of AF in South, Central and Eastern European countries.
The ALTFInator project was set up to correct this. Its goal is to provide SME advisors with information and training by transferring the best practices from more advanced markets such as the US, the UK and the Netherlands to less advanced markets in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe. Initially, the project focuses on 8 countries: Portugal, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine.
The information dissemination and education efforts target the entire support system of innovative SMEs which includes start-up networks, business accelerators, traditional SME advisors, such as accountants, financial intermediaries, traditional financial institutions, as well as policy makers. The goal is to train and educate approximatively 5.000 of these SME advisors in the first 2 years.
To improve access to AF in target countries, ALTFInator project will:
- Map and analyse AF ecosystems in South, Central, and Eastern Europe to establish a capacity-building strategy and implementation plan.
- Provide cross-European online information hub with materials, resources, and tools.
- Engage AF community to support provision and absorption of financing for innovative SMEs
- Review project impact and provide the evidence-base for adaption and sustainability of the scheme.
- Provide stakeholders at European and international level with information about project activities and achievements.
The project is conducted by an international team of 11 partners, consultancies and academic institutions with in-depth knowledge of alternative finance. These are: Civitta, a large international consultancy from Estonia with a presence in the Baltic Countries, Central & Eastern Europe, and the UK (project lead), CrowdfundingHub from the Netherlands, Zabala Innovation Consulting from Belgium, Innomine Group from Hungary, Mediapark from Lithuania, University of Manchester from the UK, Politecnico di Milano and DOCOMO Digital from Italy, LOBA – Customer Experience Design from Portugal, PEDAL Consulting from Slovakia, and European Centre for Women and Technology from Norway.