Among the many different types of funding that one can find under European Calls, cascade funding, also known as Financial Support to third parties (FSFTP), is certainly among the most well-know ones.Cascade financing is a mechanism of the European Commission to distribute public funds to support start-up SMEs or mid-cap companies primarily through the development of digital innovation. 

Cascade funding is a simplified public funding opportunity designed for small scale businesses. The main objective of Cascade Funding is to simplify administrative procedures with SMEs, thus allowing some projects financed by the EU to issue, in turn, open calls to obtain more funding.

Why Cascade funding? 

Being an innovative start-up, SME or a mid-cap often means facing several budgetary problems that will need to be addressed. Looking for funding under Horizon 2020 calls is the next step but the process of finding partners and submitting a proposal, hoping that it will get approved is a longshot that many companies are not able to take. In most cases, direct Horizon2020 calls might not even be able to finance businesses in ways that businesses would want. 

This is where cascade funding comes in. Horizon 2020 allocates almost €800 million in cascade financing calls. In practice this means, instead of going directly to the source which in this case is Horizon 2020, start-ups and SME owners can seek funding as third parties through an open call of an ongoing project.  

Support is usually given in the form of funding complemented with technical assistance from industry experts who can support applicants in their proposal preparation as well as project execution. Mainly aimed at SMEs and startups, these calls provide funding ranging from €50,000 to €150,000 in equity-free funding. As the calls are less-known than the standard ones, the possibilities of successful proposals increase and open the gateway to the European innovative ecosystem. 

The cascade funding opportunities

ZABALA Innovation Consulting organizes and manages several cascade funding projects which are opening several opportunities to innovate your business beyond the ordinary Horizon 2020 calls.The projects are initiatives fostering entrepreneurship and startups across Europe in different sectors, with a preponderance for ICT applied to different verticals such as Industry, Energy, Big Data, Logistics, Environment, Health, Media, Smart Cities, etc. One of them is MEDIA FUTURES.

MediaFutures financing

MediaFutures, is a new data innovation hub bringing together startups, SMEs and artists to solve challenges in the Media industry. It supports innovative solutions that help people engage with quality journalism, science education and democratic processes. MediaFutures will support 51 startups and SMEs, and 43 artists across three Open Calls for applications, distributing a total amount of €2.5 million. 

It has recently announced its first accelerator and residency programmes Open Call. Startups and artists can now apply for equity-free funding of up to €80,000 to tackle misinformation about COVID-19 using data.