Pro FIT- Projektfinanzierung – The 2021 guide to funding for German R&D

Pro FIT- Projektfinanzierung robot
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If you’re an entrepreneur or a scientist looking for funding, Pro FIT is the perfect place to start. The Berlin Startup Funding Initiative offers funding for entrepreneurs and scientists in all phases of the innovation process. With their help, your idea can become a reality!

Who is this Pro FIT guide for?

ProFIT project funding is technology-oriented project funding that covers the entire innovation process. Funding is provided for project phases such as

  • Research
  • Development
  • market preparation and
  • Market launch

The ProFit program can be applied for alone or in association with companies or research institutions.

The following institutions with a place of business in Berlin are eligible for funding:

  • Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) alone or in association with other companies or research institutions.
  • Large enterprises only in association with SMEs and research institutions
  • Research institutions only in association with at least one company

How much is the funding?

The amount of funding is based on the project volume. In principle, IBB can provide up to €400,000 in non-repayable grants and up to €1 million in low-interest loans in the ProFIT Project Funding Berlin program.
The project volume results from the project planning outlined by the SME, which indicates the individual work packages with the allocation of cost items. Experts critically review all work packages and cost items before approval according to their content and scope.
For the number of possible grants, the project must have a research component. Expenditures for activities that are to be assigned to experimental development are supported as loans.

Industrial research phase
80 % grant (incl. SME and association bonus)

Experimental development phase
40 % grant for research institutions in consortia
25 % grant for large enterprises in consortia
80 % max. loan for SMEs

Phase of production set-up, market preparation, and market launch
max. 80 % loan for SMEs

What can the funding be used for?

Only project-related costs are eligible for funding.

In detail, these can be:

  • Personnel expenses
  • External services
  • Material expenses
  • Applications for industrial property rights
  • Expenditure for market preparation and market launch

What does the application process look like?

The funding is provided through the Pro FIT office in Berlin. There are three steps required to be eligible for financing:

In the first stage, the planned project is presented in a “project proposal”, in which Information about the company and the technical and economic implementation is clearly shown. The project proposal is then reviewed and voted on by two experts.

If the vote is positive, the total project funding is determined, and the application is recommended.

TIP

The completeness and quality of the documents submitted strongly influence the time it takes to process and decide on the application.

Based on the joint discussions between the submitting company and the technical and business experts, the “official application” is made by submitting the original project proposal in an adapted form (as a result of the expert discussions) as a project application to IBB.

Once the formal application documents have been submitted, the second stage of the application process begins. The company can start the project at its own risk. After examining or clarifying further financial and economic funding requirements, a funding committee decides on the final award of the grants.

 

Which documents do I need for the application?

Relevant for the assessment of eligibility (to be submitted in step 2):

 

  • Detailed work, time, cost, and financing plan (Pro FIT financial planner)
  • Project description (to be prepared jointly by the collaborative partners, if applicable)
  • Information on the company/research institution
  • Information on the project
  • Work plan structure
  • Information on the economic exploitation
  • Amortisation calculation (only for companies)
  • Draft of the articles of association with a list of shareholders (incl. information on the shareholdings)
  • SME self-declaration
  • Copy of the application for registration
  • If applicable, a draft of the cooperation agreement with the partner(s) in the network
  • If applicable, explanations on further funding granted or applied for

Avoid costly mistakes and get together with experts.

What else is essential?

Project funding in the ProFIT program requires that the company is
in a position to contribute around 30% of the project volume from its resources.
Furhtermore, it needs to be economically stable (that it is neither in insolvency proceedings nor can its liquidity be considered assured over a certain period of time). The loans received in the case of funding by ProFIT are granted as de minimis aid. This may have an impact on the interest rate. Other relevant issues may arise in the areas of an indemnification or connection with affiliated companies.

————————Bonus Tip ————————

It is usually advisable to seek an experienced adviser’s support and rule out possible knock-out criteria in advance in these cases.

Success Stories from other Companies

Planetly GmbH, a young technology start-up from Berlin, uses the latest knowledge of machine learning to establish a software solution with the help of artificial intelligence that enables companies to measure their carbon footprint and recognize where exactly the levers for reduction need to be applied and how they can make their contribution to climate protection.

With the comprehensive enterprise solution, Planetly intends to enable companies to automate their data collection processes to continuously measure, analyze, and sustainably reduce their CO2 emissions. In the first step, an interface is offered to facilitate data collection, increase the transparency of CO2 emissions in companies, and be able to act more effectively overall in emissions management for senior management via a platform. This includes not only showing proposed solutions for a reduction but also possibilities for offsetting CO2 emissions. The objective is to make the business world climate-neutral and to show that corporate objectives such as “sustainability” and “making a profit” do not necessarily have to diverge.

Next Steps

The Pro Fit Projektfinanzierung is the first funding initiative in Germany that offers support to entrepreneurs and scientists working on innovative projects. Do you want help with your next big idea? Let us know! We’d love to provide a free consultation call so we can understand what you need and how we may be able to help.

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