ROCKET funds and stimulates innovative SMEs from Germany and the Netherlands into jointly designing products based on developments in Key Enabling Technologies.
The "ROCKET - Regional Collaboration on Key Enabling Technologies (KETs)" project is the engine to bring comprehensive economic competencies on KETs in the German-Dutch border area together, to build and to deploy a measurable and future-oriented economic development.
The processes for project submissions would often be too bureaucratic, intransparent, and time consuming. ROCKET is designed to overcome these barriers. A consortium of permanent core partners facilitates application forms and processes for SMEs to be funded and acquire SMEs to participate in sub-projects. SMEs receive grants up to 300.000 € for their innovation projects with a duration of around 2.5 - 3 years (funding rate 60%). Due to the core partners the application process for SMEs is facilitated and thus, more attractive for SMEs.
The Dutch-German collaboration is a requirement of the projects, the core-partners have excellent contacts on both sides of the border to also assists SMEs in finding partners across the border. The funded SME innovation sub-projects are further stimulated through effective knowledge dissemination throughout the networks of each partner.
This results in 11 innovation projects, 7 feasibility studies, and over 40 new products based on KETs in healthcare, manufacturing and energy. All the while, providing both answers to global challenges and growth impulses across the whole border region.

Resources needed

Budget 9,994,868.76 €

Evidence of success

Number of SME having received funding for cross-border projects: 92
Number of SMEs having receive non-financial support (advise, networks, etc.): 31
Private investments supporting funding for SME Projects: 2.105.362,00 €
Number of SMEs working together with research institutions: 37

Funded SME project "Super-Surf" won Econonmy Award by the Dutch-German Chamber of Commerce in 2019.

Difficulties encountered

Transparancy, trust and frequent communication is the most important issue in all aspects of a program.

Potential for learning or transfer

The consortium is made up of core partners with a strong network in their particular region and/or technical sector, such as Clusters or regional business development agencies. These core partners are very close to the SME's in their network. The core partners deal with the main bureacratic issues and generate forms "as simple and unbureauractic as possible" for the SMEs to apply for funding for their cross-border innovation project or feasibility study and elaborated their own process of project approval within the consortium (and external experts tendered by the consortium) in line with the Programme rules. Moreover, they offer the SMEs technical assistance in filling out these forms and function as their first contact points for information or questions. Since the SMEs trust the core partners (because they regularly work and have worked with them in the cluster etc.) they can attract the SMEs more easily to engage in these CBC innovation projects.

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Main institution
Oost NL
Gelderland, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
April 2016
End Date


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