Time for new life science player to take the lead in EU SME Support

After 15 years of hosting the EU Support Office, where Swedish life science companies can get support in their applications to the EU's various funding instruments, SwedenBIO has decided that it is time to pass on the baton. Since its inception in 2007, the aim of our involvement has been to increase the number of Swedish life science companies receiving EU funding.

Now, a decade and a half later, we can look back with pride on our work as a host organization for a very important function in the life science funding landscape. When the current program period expires at the end of June, SwedenBIO chooses not to participate in Vinnova’s call for the next program period. It is about the organization prioritizing its efforts where it makes the greatest difference to the life science ecosystem in Sweden and where we see that we have a critical role in bringing the industry together.

– As a national trade organization for life science, it has been natural for us to take the initiative and build up the business of support for life science companies. At the same time, the ecosystem has now developed so much that we see that there are many other life science-initiated actors who can shoulder this important mission in the future and then we can shift the focus to other needs,” says Helena Strigård, CEO of SwedenBIO.

SwedenBIO now encourages life science actors to get involved in the application process to ensure that the industry’s needs are captured in the future. Over the years, many people have contributed to building and developing the organization; Per Lindqvist, Mary Rose Hoya, Björn Kull, Maria Kaaman, Tuulikki Lindmark, Susanne Baltzer, Sara Gunnerås, and Björn Ursing have all been key players in this.

– Through EU SME Support, we have helped many companies in the sector to correctly position and formulate projects for funding. There have been many rewarding discussions about business models and market segments that have formed the basis for the applications,” says Björn Ursing, current program director for EUSO.

There is a great need for soft financing for small, research-intensive life science companies, according to a 2018 study conducted by SwedenBIO in partnership with the Regional Investment Promotion Agency and Business Sweden (1). One of the issues that will now be prioritized is to ensure that the Swedish government acts strategically in connection with the launch of new calls for proposals and financial instruments.

– We still have a role to play here to ensure that our authorities capture the needs of the industry and are proactive in their contacts with the European Commission,” Helena Strigård concludes.

(1) Bridging the gap – A survey based report on financing activities in the life science sector (SwedenBIO) https://swedenbio.se/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Bridging-the-gap-A-survey-based-report-on-financing-activities-in-the-Life-Sciences-sector.pdf