Pre-competitive cooperation projects & financing

Pre-competitive cooperation projects & financing

Open innovation environment

An open innovation environment for applications of O&M innovations is created within the OWIC. Through this model, the knowledge generated will be made accessible and available to all parties participating in the project for relevant developments.

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This will strike a balance between development potential and the business interests of the regional SMEs involved. Thus, they will benefit from invested time, resources and high-quality expertise, and on the other hand from the acceleration in innovation resulting from open interaction and knowledge sharing.

From the applicable instruments such as innovation workshops and matchmaking days, but also from the many one-on-one consultations with SMEs and other parties, thoughts, ideas and early low Technology Readiness Level (TRL) projects are forged into concrete project proposals and project collaborations that have the potential to grow into pre-competitive cooperation projects. The projects have a scope that can be broad and integral or specialist.


In order to actively involve SMEs in pre-competitive cooperation projects, OWIC will co-finance a number of these projects. We distinguish two categories of pre-competitive cooperation projects:

  • Idea phase (size max. € 5,000): projects aimed at elaborating and refining an idea and testing the most important assumptions to determine whether further elaboration offers added value;
  • Testing phase (size max. € 15,000) aimed at the feasibility of the idea, possibly followed by the design of a pilot project. These projects fall under Proof of Concept

In both categories of pre-competitive cooperation projects, SMEs can also make use of fiscal schemes such as the WBSO. After positive completion of an assessment phase project, the SME can make use of, for example, the VIA (SNN), MIT (RVO) and Top Sector Wind at Sea/Energy schemes (RVO). More information about this scheme can be found here.

Financing beyond the development phase

In the OWIC, innovative SMEs may encounter financing problems in the development phase, as a precursor to 'Valley of Death', the most critical phase before a product is embraced in the market. For that reason, financial expertise is also brought in within OWIC to guide and advise (SME) companies in this phase regarding financing issues. This includes support from Economic Board Groningen, NOM, banks, venture capitalists, subsidy consultancies, Energy Venture Lab, and TCNN.

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