I-NOV competition: how to apply and win in 2024?

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The I-NOV competition is financed by the France 2030 plan, which aims to stimulate innovation among French startups and SMEs. It's an opportunity for the French government to identify and Fund promising projects with the economic potential to compete for markets in the world's largest economies.

I-NOV in 2024: a national innovation competition?

This national competition is a call for projects that identifies and finances promising projects from French companies, to propel them onto the world stage. It offers ambitious entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to advance their projects with the support of the French government.

Wave 13 over

For its 13ᵉ wave in 2024, the competition was open until April 2, 2024, with an allocation of resources several million euros to support projects aligned with the country's economic and technological goals. Companies had been able to submit projects in various key areas such as digital, healthcare, transport, and renewable energies.

Wave 14 imminent

A 14th wave is scheduled for summer 2024. The closing date is scheduled for late September or early October.

If you're interested in this wave, don't hesitate to contact us now. We'll let you know as soon as we're notified.

The role of BpiFrance

The I-NOV competition, managed by BpiFrance, offers an online platform for submitting and evaluating projects. In collaboration with organizations such asADEME, they ensure a fair and responsible evaluation of proposals. They provide financial backing for innovative startups and SMEs, offering technical and strategic support, thus contributing to the objectives of the France 2030 plan.

Who can apply?

The I-NOV competition is aimed at French startups and SMEs wishing to develop innovative projects. Companies must be registered in France, meet EU SME criteria, be in good tax and social standing, and not be in difficulty.

What projects are you looking for?

The I-NOV competition aims to Fund Projects that stand out for their innovative nature and their potential to have a positive impact on the French economy.

As previously mentioned, the themes of the projects sought for the 14ᵉ wave are not yet known.

However, as an indication, for the 13th wave, these projects had to be aligned with one of the four priority themes for the country's future development:

1. Digital: Projects that push the boundaries of digital technology, including but not limited to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and big data.

2. Health: Innovations in the medical field, including new diagnostic technologies, revolutionary treatments and digital health solutions.

3. Sustainable transport, mobility, cities and buildings: solutions to improve the sustainability and efficiency of urban infrastructures and means of transport.

4. Energy, resources and natural environments: Projects aimed at optimizing the use of natural resources and promoting renewable energies.

As a general rule, projects in all waves must have a total cost of between €1 million and €5 million, and an expected completion time of between 12 and 36 months. They are generally evaluated on their innovation, technological feasibility, and ability to generate tangible economic benefits, while respecting strict environmental sustainability criteria.

What are the selection criteria?

For the I-NOV competition, projects are evaluated according to criteria aligned with the France 2030 plan:

1. Innovation and added value: New features or significant improvements over existing products.

2. Economic impact: The potential to generate economic spin-offs, such as job creation or increased sales.

3. Capacity of the promoter: Organizational and financial ability to carry out the project with the planned resources.

4. Environmental performance: Positive contribution to the environment, with sustainable practices that minimize negative impacts.

What kind of financing is involved?

The funding available through the I-NOV competition is structured to provide substantial support for promising innovations. Selected projects can benefit from financial assistance of up to 45% of total project costs, made up of grants andrepayable advances.

The distribution of funding is designed to effectively support companies in their development and innovation phase:

  • 75% of financial support is awarded in the form of grants, providing direct and immediate support for projects.
  • The remaining 25% are offered in the form ofrepayable advances, meaning that repayment is conditional on the commercial success of the project developed.

This financing structure aims to reduce the financial risk for innovative SMEs and startups, while enabling the government to recycle part of the funds to support new projects in the future.

Steps for participating and obtaining I-NOV

Preparing your application

To respond to this call for projects, start by preparing your application file by following the steps below:

1. Online registration: Register on the dedicated Bpifrance platform.

2. Compilation of required documents: Complete the detailed project plan, which clearly outlines objectives, implementation strategies and expected results. In addition, you must provide evidence of your financial and organizational capacity to carry out your project.

3. Compliance with format criteria: It is imperative that you present the documents according to the specifications required by Bpifrance.

4. Review and validation: Before submission, we recommend that you review the application to ensure that it is complete and that the information provided is clear. Particular attention should be paid to the clarity of the presentation of the project's innovations and economic and environmental impacts.

Filling the impact grid

Fill in the impact grid and attach it to your application to present your expected positive economic and environmental effects. Here are the steps:

1. Impact identification: Identify the major economic and environmental impacts, including jobs created and improvements in energy efficiency.

2. Quantify benefits: Estimate each impact using realistic data to show the scale of the expected benefits.

3. Detailed description: Explain how each impact will be achieved through the project. Be specific to demonstrate the correlation between activities and results.

4. Data sources: Support your claims with reliable sources or similar case studies to increase credibility.

5. Revision and validation: Review the grid before submitting to ensure clarity and accuracy.

By carefully completing the grid, you demonstrate the effectiveness of your project and your commitment to the objectives of the I-NOV competition.

Oral / Jury

The evaluation process for the I-NOV competition requires a presentation to a jury. The jury is made up ofindependent experts, as well as specialists from Bpifrance and ADEME. Their role is to review shortlisted projects and make informed decisions on their potential and alignment with the competition's objectives.

Each shortlisted project is presented at an audition session. Project leaders present their ideas and answer questions. These sessions enable the jury to understand the technical and strategic aspects of the proposals.

The jury evaluates projects according to a number of criteria. These include innovation, economic impact, implementation capacity, and contribution to environmental sustainability. This rigorous evaluation ensures that only the most deserving projects aligned with national priorities are selected for funding.

After the hearings, the jury deliberates and makes recommendations for each project. Final decisions are made on the basis of these recommendations, ensuring a fair and transparent selection process.

Key dates

The 14th wave of the i-Nov Innovation Contest will open in the summer of 2024, with a closing date scheduled for late September, early October.

The I-PHD, I-LAB, I-NOV, I-DEMO continuum

The I-NOV competition is not limited to a single call for projects. It is part of a continuum of innovation competitions, including I-PHD, I-LAB and I-DEMO. These three other competitions, like I-NOV, are managed by Bpifrance and ADEME.

  • I-PHD aims to encourage entrepreneurship among doctoral students and young PhDs by enabling them to develop an entrepreneurial project based on their doctoral research.
  • I-LAB aims to support the creation of technology startups in France by offering financial support and tailored coaching to the winners.
  • I-DEMO, finally, is intended to Fund the demonstration and technological validation of innovative solutions.

Dynergie, the firm that provides expert support to help you become an I-NOV prizewinner

For over 20 years, we have been helping companies to finance their innovations. Our experts can guide you through the entire I-NOV participation process to maximize your chances of success.

Over the past 2 years, we have supported more than 15 prize-winners, obtaining amounts ranging from €500k to €2M. You can find a detailed case study of the Walterre company among our client references.

Hugo Charbonnier

Division Manager funding innovation - Partner

For the past 10 years, I have been accompanying and advising innovative companies in the strategic and financial development of their innovations: identification of development axes, participation in the construction of the business plan, participation in the construction of financial forecasts, definition of the best financing strategy, construction of financing files (CIR, CII, JEI, Bpifrance, Digital Innovation Competition, PIA...). My technical knowledge in various fields such as e-education, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Big Data, Automatic Language Processing, etc. is essential to effectively promote the innovative nature of projects to funding agencies.

Need help?

Our innovation experts are here to help you.

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