Business Plan∗

During this step, a first thought is transformed in an idea. The objective is to explore the possibilities and get the support from lower management to be able to make the decision to create a first sketch of the initiative and engage with potential partners.

Exploring interest

The second step is to actually engage with core potential partners and discuss the possibilities of the initiative and cooperation. This must lead to a project plan for the development of a business plan.

Building the core consortium

After approval from higher management, a full assessment of the field is to be conducted, including the innovation ecosystem and the linkages to economic and societal challenges. All stakeholders and their interest are to be identified.

Scanning the field and Ecosystem Assessment

A conceptual draft of the business plan is presented and discussed with the priority stakeholders. Additional partners are identified, as well as potential investors/ funding agencies. The business model is assessed and the outcomes are integrated into a draft business plan.

Stakeholder consultation

After a commitment from higher management to pursue full development of the proposal, an in-depth assessment of the initiative will be conducted, including the development of an investment plan (including the discussions with internal and external financiers).

Converging to the final business plan

The final business plan is then discussed with the internal higher management and external financers. Based on these discussions, final commitment is given and the go for the actual initiation of the initiative can be given.

Getting final commitment

These 6 steps are to provide a systematic overview and aims at helping to get the process more clear.

But the actual situation will call for adjustments of these steps and they must be seen as open for discussion.

Final business plan

One of the essential elements needed for the development of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) is the formulation of a business plan. The business plan provides an overview of the goals and plans of the DIH and shows the commitment of the partners and stakeholders. The business plan is crucial for getting funding from external investors but also for the internal management of the partners.

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is usually a document that sets a mid-term view on the overall business development of the initiative. It can be seen as an underlying view on business that provides a framework on which other proposals for specific services and co-funding can be achieved.

For the successful development of a business plan, a holistic approach needs to be undertaken. The business plan should integrate a number of elements, including the connection of the DIH to the economy and society as well as to the interests of the targeted stakeholders in order to showcase the added value of the hub.

A business plan provides a clarity of the mission, vision, strategy, and overall organization of the hub. Next to giving information on the different services and activities provided by the DIH, the business plan also addresses elements such as related costs, possible incomes options and market evaluation. The business plan also gives information on the potential financing gap, ways to co-fund it and viability of the initiative.

How to develop a business plan?

The interactive tool shows the six steps towards developing a business plan for an innovation hub. These steps provide a systematic overview which aims at clarifying the process of writing a business plan. The tool follows all steps from ‘exploring interest’ to writing a ‘final business plan’.

∗The information related to Business Plans has contributed from two EU projects: XS2I4MS and EU-GREAT!