Funding otherwise nothing
The Pôle Mer Méditerranée is judiciously exploring fund raising options from public, private, regional, national and European funding sources to lead to the successful achievement of projects recognized.
Projects recognized by the Competitivity centre must be innovative and collaborative efforts, involving at least two companies and one research laboratory or training body; moreover, they must have short-term, mid-term or long-term economic goals.
Their operational implementation is therefore essentially based on the co-funding which will be granted to them.
The Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI)
The Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI), is the one-stop funding shop set up by the State, reserved for projects approved by the Competitivity Centres. Steered by the General Directorate for Enterprises (DGE) of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment and the DIACT, this fund is endowed by the different associated ministries. In 2006, its funding resources reached 193 M€.
Two calls for projects are launched annually. The projects must have been recognized by one of the Competitivity Centres and include a letter of support from the given Centre. Firstly, the projects are pre-selected by the Single Inter-ministerial Fund, then examined by the Centre Funders’ Committee, which brings together the State, the Engineering and Animation Team of the Pôle, and especially local authorities which determine their degree of involvement. Finally, the DGE publishes the list of projects which are approved for co-financing. In general, the State expects local authorities to contribute for one euro for every two euros that it allocates.
SMEs (as per Brussel’s definition) can be financed in the amount of 45%, EPICs at 40%, Groups at 30% and laboratories at 100% of their additional costs.
The National Research Agency (ANR)
The National Research Agency (ANR) constitutes a major source of co-funding for projects supported by the Pôle Mer Méditerranée.
The ANR proceeds by thematic calls for projects, in general during the first semester of the calendar year. Following review, selected projects are granted that corresponds in general to 50% of the budget.
Moreover, if they were recognized by their Competitivity Centre, the projects can benefit from additional funding in the amount of around 9% which is intended to reinforce the involvement of research actors in the Competitivity Centres.
The Agency for Industrial Innovation (AII)
The Agency for Industrial Innovation (AII) is dedicated to major projects in the amount of 15 to 20 million euros, and even up to several hundreds of million euros. These projects are supported by Groups that constitute consortiums.
This assistance is granted in the form of a repayable advance, or a grant with a ceiling of 50%.
Regarding the Pôle Mer, the only project being currently evaluated by the AII is the Capaseaty project, presented by DCNS.
On 1st January 2008, the AII merged with OSEO, and aid terms and conditions are not yet known.
The BPIFRANCE structure is especially intended for funding innovation in SMEs.
SME’s definition is broader than that of Brussels.
Assistance is granted in the form of advance, repayable at a zero interest rate, calculated in terms of projected sales.Additional grants may be attributed to projects recognized by a Competitivity Centre, subject to the project holder being located in the R&D area of the Pôle which has been validated by the Council of State (Conseil d’Etat).
The Regional Council
The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon Region, in the framework of its Regional Economic Development Programme (SRDE), set up a Call for «Finalized Research» Projects, especially earmarked for Competitivity Centres’ projects.
Only SMEs and research laboratories can benefit from the relevant additional funding.
Departments and some Agglomeration Communities which support the Pôle Mer, provide co-financing for projects which have been pre-selected by the State in the framework of Calls for Projects of the Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI).
The forthcoming creation of a Ventury Capital Fund for the maritime sector shall enable capital-development undertakings with SMEs/SMIs of Competitivity Centres, and broadly with the maritime sector. This future fund will be managed by the ACE Management Company. The Pôle Mer Méditerranée has already submitted a dozen applications for some of its SME members, seeking to increase their equity capital to support their development programme.