Innova-FI Italian partner, Friuli Innovazione, during November organized a double round of consultation with regional stakeholders: the representatives of the ERDF ROP managing authority, the regional service devoted to facilitating companies’ access to finance, local business angels’ networks, banks and financial intermediaries plus the university and other relevant business support organizations have been gathered at the same (virtual) table to discuss financial instruments in support of innovation fitting the local context and needs.

The aim of the Local Stakeholders Group meetings number 4 and 5 was to identify a maximum of three feasible actions to be included in the Regional Action Plan in preparation. The measures analyzed were identified both thanks to the research conducted by the University of Udine and to the project peer learning process, implemented during past Exchanges of Experience organized by Innova-FI.

The LSG discussed three possible financial instruments to be implemented: one aiming at facilitating the access to risk capital, the other aiming at facilitating buy-out/exit operations, the last aiming at creating a lending-based or equity-based public crowdfunding platform as an option to meet the needs of Friuli Venezia Giulia startups. The latter was directly connected with peer learning, as it is inspired by the Lithuanian financial instrument Avieté, presented during the third Exchange of Experience.

The dialogue with the local stakeholders fitted into the timeframe of the Regional Smart Specialization Strategy renovation process and with the development of the ROP for the period 2021-2027. The S3 review includes an entrepreneurial discovery process, which involves the stakeholders in thematic discussions. By June 2021, Friuli Venezia Giulia administration is called to approve the new S3 for the 2021-2017 programming period, therefore the moment is particularly favourable to provide a fresh insight about using EU structural funds to activate new financial instruments aside from the traditional granting process.