How can EU projects help your business? - AcrossLimits - Your EU Project Technology Partner

How can EU projects help your business?

As a consultancy specialising in supporting all types of organisations to tap into European opportunities for growth, development and internationalisation, we are often asked by potential clients: “Is it really worth it to invest my organisation’s limited resources into attempting to get an EU project?” 

This question comes against the background context of countless anecdotal horror stories of red tape, bureaucratic mazes, and far-away technocrats all seemingly set out to make it impossible for inexperienced organisations to access EU funding. If you do somehow get funding, these forces are set to make sure that you sacrifice your waking hours at the altar of paperwork for minimal reward. 

While we at AcrossLimits are proud and firm believers in the EU, its values, and its benefits, we are also not blind to its weaknesses. The stereotypes and stories are rooted in some degree of truth: it can be difficult to access EU funding, especially when you don’t know the first thing about where to start, and it is also no small feat to implement an EU project. At the same time, our experience has taught us that more often than not, these tales of EU projects causing significant difficulties and being a net loss for organisations arise from a fundamental misunderstanding as to the scope and purpose of EU projects. When there is a mis-match between what you want, and what the EU is able to give you, it is very likely that you will not have a positive experience with EU funding.

One of the things that differentiates us from other EU funding consultancies is that we are very clear in setting expectations for potential clients, and we have discouraged plenty of people in the past from looking towards EU funding as an option. As we like to say, the EU is not an ATM, nor is it a bank giving out loans! If you are looking at the EU as a cash cow and a source of funding to prop up your business, regardless of what your business actually does and what it offers to wider society, then trying to get an EU project should not be your avenue of choice. 

So to answer your question – whether it is worth it to implement an EU project – our answer is: it depends! Here are some things to consider: 


How can EU projects help my organisation? 

The EU operates a highly organised system by which it allocates public money to projects that address its policy goals – policies that are ultimately in place to improve the quality of life of EU citizens. In doing so, it provides organisations, be they public or private, profit or non-profit, with a number of opportunities to participate in the process. In financial terms, the EU will give funding to cover (not make profit of!) their involvement. 

That means that, if what you are doing as an organisation, or what you seek to do, aligns with one of these policy goals that the EU has dedicated funding towards, then you have the chance to apply for funding to implement your vision in a win-win scenario. 

To give a few tangible examples from projects that AcrossLimits is currently involved in: 

  • PATTERN is funding joint public-private research for the development of a Software-as-a-Service solution hosted on the Cloud, designed to enhance road infrastructure management practices. By integrating advanced technologies and leveraging joint expertise, PATTERN aims to optimise road infrastructure operations, improve traffic flow, and promote sustainable transportation practices. In the long term, this solution can be taken into further pilot situations and potentially go to market.
  • Women TechEU provides equity-free grants of EUR  75,000 and business support services for women-lead deep tech entrepreneurs , in the aim of addressing the deeply unequal playing field for women in the deep tech sectors. 
  • Venture Alliances is providing the opportunity for SMEs and researchers to be matched together and explore avenues for market collaboration, bringing together the technical and scientific knowledge of academics with the practical and industry know-how of entrepreneurs 

While you cannot profit off your involvement in an EU project during the project itself, there are countless examples across the EU where an EU-funded R&I project ultimately resulted in the development of a marketable product or service. Sometimes, the organisations involved even set up a separate business as a spin-off to take the research results to market. A Polish information point for EU funding collated this list of good practice examples from Poland which serves as an interesting read into the sort of research, growth and development EU projects have enabled in just one country. 

Moreover, because the very nature of most EU projects necessitates that you work in tandem with different organisations established in many different countries, seeking to develop and implement an EU project puts you in a position where you have to network and build international contacts. Establishing a network that stretches beyond your borders is invaluable for any type of organisaiton, allowing for a flow of information, tapping into new markets, and establishing grounds for future ventures and partnerships even beyond the confinements of an EU project. 


What must I give back to the EU? 

One of the core misunderstandings that leads to frustration with EU projects is the idea that EU projects are simply a one-way channel, the EU funneling cash to you as the recipient for you to do what you want and need with them. In reality, one needs to understand that the EU projects are a give and take between the consortium involved and the EU as the guardian and manager of a massive pool of public money. 

Because what you are being given is public money, you must be able to account for your spending and to prove that you have dedicated the resources and results you committed to in the funding proposal. This involves a heavy investment of time and patience, especially in your first project until you get to grips with things. While it can be frustrating as a project manager, as an EU citizen it is a peace of mind to know that there are rigorous systems in place to monitor public spending of money that comes out of our joint pockets, and weed out those with bad intentions. 


How can I know if I should go for it?

Reach out to our team! We are experienced in gauging your chances and likelihood of getting EU funding, and we will not shy away from telling you if EU projects are not likely to be worthwhile for your organisation, and we do not start charging for our services until we are reasonably sure that this is a path that you can take. You can contact our Head of Partnerships, Ms Senfer Usman, on [email protected] to set up a meeting.