Within the framework of Interreg Europe, the National Innovation Agency (ANI) organized its first Innova-FI Local Stakeholders Group Meeting (LSG) on 28 May. The purpose of this LSG meeting was to facilitate the learning process and disseminate the exchange of experience results to the stakeholders and the organizations that play an important role and are involved in the process of political construction and implementation of financial instruments.

Alexandre Almeida, Project Manager (ANI), took this opportunity to introduce this interregional project seeking to improve the design and implementation of financial instruments for innovation. Essentially, eight European organisations, led by the National Innovation Agency from Portugal, will work together to share experience, solutions, and good practices to develop the innovation landscape and improve the design and implementation of Financial Instruments to meet and serve the financing needs of innovative and RTDI-driven businesses in all the stages of their start-up and growth. Joint activities, such as a joint per learning, good practices identification and study visits will feed into the development of seven Regional Action Plans aimed at achieving a better alignment of Financial Instruments with other support measures. 

From this regional learning, it was noticeable that there is still some lack of knowledge by the final beneficiaries (companies/organisations) about the potential of this type of financing, as well as, on some of the typologies of instruments that are less used in Portugal. However, and considering the new trends, there was a clear interest in knowing more about how some financial instruments work, who are the current financial intermediaries in Portugal and how their process for selection and evaluation of final beneficiaries works. Overall, we can say it was a very dynamic meeting that contributed significantly to the process of diffusion and empowerment of key stakeholders.