Founded in 1977, CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial) is a Spanish government entity that manages the innovation and technological development of Spanish companies, both nationally and internationally.
The objective is to promote and develop innovation and technology through funding applications made by entrepreneurs who can demonstrate and present an innovative development project. It is important to mention from the outset that these processes are highly competitive and receive a large number of applicants. In this article, we will share our tips for success with this funding assistance.
What is CDTI?
CDTI, which stands for “Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico y la Innovación” (Center for Technological Development and Innovation), is a public institution that is part of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Its main mission is to boost the competitiveness of companies by strengthening both their productivity and quality through strategic investments.
The fundamental purpose of CDTI is to support various facets that contribute to technological and business progress in Spain. This includes:
- Evaluating the technical and economic aspects to grant grants or partially reimbursable assistance for R&D projects of companies in order to promote innovation.
- Promoting Spain’s participation in international technological cooperation programs.
- Supporting the transfer of business technology to developing countries and fostering technological innovation in developed nations.
- Implementing policies that support the creation and consolidation of technology-based companies.
What types of innovation are there?
CDTI’s main goal is to provide various forms of financing to startups and technology-based companies. Innovation is defined as the process of introducing new ideas, methods, or concepts. The three types of innovation include:
Product Innovation: This type of innovation involves improving a product to add value to customers and provide the company with a competitive advantage. A prominent example would be Amazon’s Kindle e-reader, which offers an alternative to physical books.
Process Innovation: It refers to the development of more efficient methods to perform tasks, increasing productivity and reducing costs and waste. Notable examples include lean manufacturing or continuous improvement approaches like the Japanese Kaizen philosophy.
Service Innovation: This type of innovation focuses on improving the customer experience when interacting with offered services. It strengthens customer relationships and facilitates process automation through technological solutions. Companies like Cabify are examples of this approach.
By understanding these three concepts, we can appreciate how CDTI is dedicated to providing various forms of financing to startups and technology-based companies.
What types of CDTI funding are available?
CDTI is a comprehensive program, but we will delve into three main opportunities and what they entail. It is important to understand the key characteristics of each of them when deciding where to submit your application.
If you live in Spain, you have probably heard of this grant. It is possibly the most competitive of the three we will discuss today.
This is a non-negotiable requirement based on the initiative’s goal of promoting young and innovative companies. It is also necessary to be a resident in Spain and have an eligible budget of at least 175,000 euros. In the case of Neotec, companies can access up to 325,000 euros or 85% of the total project budget.
This initiative aims to promote and strengthen the creation of technology-based companies in Spain and has strict evaluation criteria. Therefore, it is important to demonstrate a passion for research, development, innovation, and technology when submitting the application. Another key factor to consider for this grant is that your company must be in operation for more than 6 months but less than 3 years at the time applications close.
Specialized R&D projects with a demonstrable budget of at least 175,000 euros have a potential funding opportunity. This initiative aims to promote employment through the creation of business development hubs. Therefore, this initiative tends to be more suitable for established projects that have a higher growth and hiring capacity.
The key difference in this case is that the initiative includes the usual funding plus a soft loan that entrepreneurs must carefully consider when contemplating this option.
This initiative and fund are different from the two mentioned above. Its aim is to create an environment where science, technology, and innovation thrive in Spain through registered technology centers, including academic institutions
The idea is to create a network of creativity and innovation around these centers, although it is important to mention that these centers are specially selected. Projects are competitive and must demonstrate exceptional quality and offer something innovative that provides tangible benefits in an educational and business environment.
Top tips a CFO can give you
- Be clear that you have a real R&D project that offers a specific Unique Selling Proposition (USP). As we have mentioned in our pitching guides, presenting your idea and why it is worth investing in is absolutely essential, and the same applies to any of these government funds.
- Ensure that the project is organic and can be executed within the framework of an existing company or startup that is growing. We cannot stress enough that projects should not be created simply with the intention of obtaining CDTI funding, as this will be analyzed in the application stages. Keep in mind, once again, that these application rounds are highly competitive, and real and viable ideas take precedence.
- Seek the assistance of a consultant. It is important to remember that these funds are government-funded and, therefore, like in any country, they require a significant amount of bureaucratic procedures and paperwork to apply for and be considered. CDTI applications differ from those you might make to private funds and must go through a rigorous process of justifying the use of public funds in a highly competitive environment.
As we have seen, this organization plays a fundamental role in technological development and innovation in Europe, contributing to keeping us at the forefront of progress. Although it may initially seem like a complex process, it is important to remember that you only need to follow these five steps to determine if you can access this assistance: first, gather information about your project; second, clearly define your objectives; third, calculate how much capital will be needed; fourth, establish the estimated timeframe for results; and finally, select an appropriate financing method through CDTI.
Knowing when to seek help is important, as most applicants would greatly benefit and possibly achieve higher success rates if they had the assistance of an advisor or consultant.
At The Startup CFO, we have a deep understanding of how CDTI works and can guide you through the process, sharing our passion for entrepreneurship, innovation, and celebrating the success of entrepreneurs who want to make a difference. Are you interested in this type of public funding and don’t know where to start? Let’s work together on this! We help you boost your business and make it grow!