Founded in 1977, CDTI stands for Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial (Centre for Technical and Industrial Development) and is a Spanish governmental entity which manages the innovation and technological development of Spanish companies both nationally and internationally. The goal is to foster and develop innovation and technology through applications for funding made by budding entrepreneurs who can demonstrate and present an innovative development project. It’s important to mention from the outset that these processes are highly competitive and receive high numbers of applicants. The official website for information about all of the initiatives we’ll explain today is cdti.es and is available in English and all of Spain’s official languages.
What are the types of CDTI funding available?
CDTI is a broad scheme, but we are going to delve into three principal opportunities and what they consist of. It’s important to understand the key features of each one when it comes to making your decision about where to apply.
If you live in Spain, the chances are you may have already heard about this grant. It is possibly the most highly competitive of the three we’re going to talk you through today.
This initiative aims to promote and enhance the creation of technology-based companies in Spain and has a strict evaluation criterion. Therefore, it’s important to be able to demonstrate a passion for research, development, innovation and technology when it comes to applying. Another key factor when considering this grant is that your company must have been running for more than 6 months but less than 3 years of operation at the time that applications are closed.
This is a non-negotiable requirement based on the initiative’s goal of fostering young and innovative companies. It’s also necessary to be a resident of Spain and have an eligible budget of at least €175.000. In the case of Neotec, companies can access up to €325.000 or 85% of the project’s total budget.
Larger R&D specialist projects (Proyectos de I+D in Spanish) have a potential opportunity for funding when there is a demonstrable budget of at least 175.000€. This initiative aims to enhance employment by creating business development hubs. Therefore, this initiative tends to be more suited to already established projects which have a higher growth and hiring capacity. The key difference here is that the initiative includes the usual funding plus a soft loan which entrepreneurs need to bear in mind carefully when considering this option.
This initiative and fund is different to the two mentioned above. Its aim is to create an environment in which science, technology and innovation thrive in Spain through registered technology centres, including academic institutions. The idea here is to create a network of creativity and innovation based around these centres, although it’s important to mention that these centres are specially selected, and projects are competitive and need to feature outstanding quality and offer something innovative that provides tangible benefits in an educational and business environment.
The Startup CFO’s top tips
- Be clear that you have a real R&D project which offers a specific USP. As we’ve mentioned in our guides to pitching, presenting your idea and why it’s worth investing in is absolutely essential and it’s the same for any of these government funds.
- Ensure that the project is organic and is something that can be executed within the framework of an existing company or startup that’s currently growing. We can’t emphasise enough that projects should not be created simply with the intention of being awarded a CDTI, as this will be analysed at the application stages. Bear in mind once again that these application rounds are highly competitive, and real, workable ideas receive priority status.
- Seek help from a consultant. It’s important to remember that these funds are government based and therefore, as in any country, require a large amount of paperwork and bureaucratic steps in order to apply and be considered. CDTI applications are different from applications you might have made to private funds and must go through a rigorous process of justification for use of public funds in a highly competitive environment.
- There is no shame in asking for help and most applicants would benefit greatly and possibly achieve greater rates of success if they had the help of an advisor or consultant. At The Startup CFO, we are expertly familiar with how the CDTI works and can guide you through the process, sharing our passion for creation, innovation and celebrating the success of entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.
We hope we’ve been able to transmit essential information in the form of a key overview about these government-funded initiatives. As always, feel free to get in touch with The Startup CFO for a more in-depth conversation about the different options available regarding the public funding.