Ignite Group welcomes the new ZIM – more funding for innovative medium-sized businesses

Home » Ignite Group welcomes the new ZIM - more funding for innovative medium-sized businesses

With the new directive, which was published by the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) on 20 January 2020, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) now have 555 million euros at their disposal in 2020. The new ZIM guideline particularly addresses innovative, young and small companies, strengthens the transfer of technology and knowledge and improves the funding conditions for companies in structurally weak regions.

„We welcome the new directive. Useful new elements have been included, proven elements have been retained and adapted where necessary. In particular, the new category of structurally weak regions with increased funding rates reflects the necessities of reality much better than the previous division into new and old federal states. Companies in large parts of the Saarland, in the former coal belt, will thus receive significantly higher subsidies. In addition, the new directive also takes into account the increasing market dynamics caused by start-ups“.

Dr. Jörg Rupp, participator of Ignite Group.

With the new guideline, the BMWi is optimising the proven ZIM funding programme. The new guideline now increasingly addresses innovative, young and small companies, also from structurally weak regions, which are introduced to research and development projects with the help of ZIM funding and thus contribute significantly to Germany’s competitiveness. Research projects always represent a hurdle for small and especially young companies due to the economic risk. These can now claim so-called feasibility studies, which serve to assess the feasibility of the research project. Thus, research and development projects become accessible, especially for first-time innovators.

On the other hand, the transfer of knowledge from research to the free market economy will be improved: the funding programme will be extended to companies that, including affiliated and partner companies, employ up to 1,000 people. Previously, the directive was limited to companies with 500 employees. The prerequisite for this is cooperation with at least one SME. Larger companies often provide a good link to the market for small companies, so that research results can be brought into the market economy in a targeted and faster way. The new ZIM guideline sees a further improvement of knowledge transfer in the services for market introduction. Services such as innovation consulting, innovation support services or even trade fair presentations are now eligible for funding.

In response to increased personnel costs, the BMWi increases and extends the eligible costs (the costs to which the subsidy rate is applied). For example, individual projects can now claim 550,000 euros instead of 380,000 euros. For cooperation projects, the maximum funding amount is now 2.3 million euros, compared to 2 million euros under the previous guideline. A total of 555 million euros in ZIM funding is available to SMEs for 2020.

A further innovation is the increased rate of support for small enterprises from structurally weak regions. This is a reaction to the new, so-called all-German support system. Previously, companies from the new federal states received separate funding rates in the ZIM support programme. Now the structural weakness of a region decides on this, independent of the geographical location of the country. An advantage for the Saarland or the Ruhr area, for example.

About ZIM – the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs

ZIM, the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs, is the largest funding programme of the Federal Government and supports technical research and development projects of SMEs, research institutions and research networks in the form of grants. One of its unique selling points is that the funding is open to different sectors and technologies. In addition, ZIM funding benefits above all SMEs, which are regarded as the innovation drivers of our country and play a fundamental role in shaping economic growth and Germany’s competitiveness. Three main project forms are distinguished: Individual ZIM projects, which are carried out by individual companies, ZIM cooperation projects, which take place with several project partners (with other companies or research institutions) as well as ZIM networks, which consist of at least six participants and from which individual cooperation projects develop.

About Ignite Group

Ignite Group is a nationwide management consultancy based in Saarbrücken and Berlin. For more than 20 years the company has been dealing with the topics of innovation, research and development, technology promotion and financing. The focus is on SMEs from all industrial sectors. Many of them have already been accompanied for several years. One specialization of the consulting activities is the ZIM Consulting. Ignite Group has relevant experience as ZIM consultant and examines projects for suitability for a ZIM application and takes over the application and project management. The service also includes support at state, federal and EU level. Supported funding programmes are the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs (ZIM), the EIC-Accelerator, the GRW Investment Grant andgo-innovativ (go-inno). Ignite Group is authorized by the Federal Ministry of Economics to issue consulting vouchers of up to 27,500 Euros for the go-inno support program. Ignite Group is also certified by TÜV Süd to ISO 9001 and is a member of the Offensive Mittelstand and the Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft (BVMW).

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Ignite Group begrüßt das neue ZIM – Zentrales Innovationsprogramm Mittelstand – herunterladen (german)