Future Food Innovation (FFI) was initiated by CDR with the aim to increase the number of innovative SMEs within the food industry.
FFI connects companies, knowledge, funding and competencies, and has a main focus on open radical innovation and development of qualitative differentiated products. The background for this initiative was the challenge of increasing the level of innovation in the food sector. Therefore, FFI works for more cooperation between companies, and between companies and knowledge institutions. Companies within the food area are offered individual sparring and feedback regarding their innovation challenges and growth ambitions, and they are offered guidance about collaboration partners, knowledge institutions, contacts, funding, competencies etc. They can also apply to FFI for funding either for innovation or growth projects, and will be facilitated during the project. FFI is managed by a consortium of seven Danish knowledge institutions, a university and a cluster organisation. The science park, Agro Business Park, is lead partner. The project is financed by CDR, The European Regional Fund and participating companies.
FFI was established as a broad consortium of existing knowledge institutions – built on the philosophy that we regionally, as well as nationally, already had a large number of knowledge actors and didn't need more actors, but rather closer collaboration between them. There was a need to create easier access for the companies to relevant knowledge institutions and actors, in order to obtain more innovative and growth based companies within the food sector.
CDR: 2,8 mio. €. EU Regional Fund: 4,0 mio. €. Companies co-financing: 4,3 mio. €. Knowledge institutions co-financing: 0,5 mio. €.
Evidence of success
FFI is in contact with and screens 350 SMEs regarding innovation collaboration. 88 applications for innovation projects (each application consists of minimum 3 SME's + 1 knowledge institution), 35 projects get funding, resulting in 20 new innovative SMEs. FFI is in contact with and screens 75 SMEs regarding growth plans. 40 applications for growth plan projects, 20 SMEs get funding, resulting in 20 growth plans. This effect will be 20% job growth in 20 SMEs 2-5 years after the project ends.
Potential for learning or transfer
FFI is well documented and the activities could – with the right set-up regarding consortium and team – be used and implemented by other regions /organizations. It is important though to state that there is no manual for the work done by FFI – as the initiative is based on an individual approach to each company within the frame of activities approved within the European Regional Fund that co-finances the initiative.
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