Access to Finance
Financing an innovation hub includes three key elements:
- The income that a hub generates from its customers. For more information click here.
- The costs of the hubs (equipment, staff, infrastructure, materials). For more information check the information under Business Plan here.
- Using different funding sources to fill-in the gap between the generated income and costs. For more information click here.
In order to address these three elements, an innovation hub needs:
- An overview of potential funding sources and understanding on how to approach them.
- Insights in the mindset of possible customers and their ability and willingness to pay for services
A digital innovation hub may offer different activities and services to generate its revenues. The services may be related to objectives such as community building, (collaborative) R&D, skills and education, mentoring, testing and validation, incubator/accelerator support, visioning & strategy development, technical support on scale-up. Each of these objectives and the associated services attracts different types of customers (SMEs, start-ups, corporate) and involves different funding mechanisms.
The services and funding mechanisms of DIHs are also dependent on the nature of the hub. Public innovation Hubs have a broader societal mission and this is reflected in their funding mechanism – using government financing. Public innovation hubs often connect research and business and offer access to technological infrastructure to SMEs. They act as spider in the web of creating a dynamic ecosystem and operate based on semi-open partnerships in which other partners can join.
Private innovation hubs are more market oriented and commercial activities are often the core service for these hubs. They usually operate on a semi-closed structure, in which partnerships are already established and new members may be included if the need arises.