INNOV’R – boosting eco-innovation in the French Rhône-Alpes region
INNOV’R is an ongoing call for projects that awards grant funding to businesses of the French Rhône-Alpes region seeking to implement eco-innovation projects. Since the support to business was launched in 2008 over 237 projects have benefited from public grant partial funding for R&D with in total 14m Euro in the form of grants and repayable advance public funding for R&D and demonstration.
INNOV’R project funding is open to microenterprises, small industry and SMEs. It is in particular these kind of companies that face difficulties when it comes to innovating, requiring the companies to take risks, change their management practices, and to invest time, staff and financing. In other words they needs resources that are often scarce. INNOV’R is providing support to business to become innovative with a view to supporting the green economy, and to be able to access new public or private markets.
The main objective behind the programme is to bring all eco-innovation support stakeholders in the region together to offer a one-stop-shop for businesses. It seeks to enhance the cooperation of regional actors and their multiple policy tools, and simplify the process to provide financing for enterprises.
INNOV’R is a joint initiative implemented by a partnership comprising the Rhône-Alpes Regional Council, the Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance), the National Environmental and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), the Deposits and Consignments Fund (Caisse de Dépôts), in association with other partners.
INNOV’R is a supply-side policy measure that functions through an open call for projects targeting regional businesses or business clusters seeking to carry out an individual or collaborative eco-innovation project. By the end of 2013, 400 applications had been submitted and 237 projects accepted. In total 14m Euro of funding had been made available; about 60 per cent of the funding are grants and 40 per cent re-payable loans. Projects are eligible in the following areas: Energy; Construction and sustainable land development; Eco-innovative processes, products or services; GHG emissions management; Environmental measurements and monitoring.
One of the SMEs has invented natural aroma molecules that can be used in the agrobusiness and cosmetics sectors by means of a biotechnology process. Another entrepreneur created a vehicle based on an electric bicycle that professionals, such as delivery men or municipal workers, can use to transport loads larger than 450kg.
Since June 2011, public agencies from other regions have joined the initiative in order to create INNOV’R® Experimentation. This sub-label of INNOV’R gives enterprises the opportunity to test and verify the performance of recently developed technologies or products, in real-life conditions, within public administrations.
Lessons learnt (Barriers, Success factors)
Many funded projects have resulted in success stories and the development of regional businesses - a brochure with 17 success stories of participating entrepreneurs was published. In 2013 INNOV’R trophies were awarded in celebration of the programme’s 5-year anniversary.
INNOV’R is estimated to be 7 on the GML scale. It is validated at full scale and ready for deployment to other regions.
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