Funding for startups in commercialization phase amid Covid-19

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Published by Oslo Business Region, 27 May 2020

This page gathers information and guidelines for startups on funding in the commercialisation phase. We are closely working with Innovation Norway, Investinor, the City of Oslo and The Research Council of Norway to continuously update information and give startups funding advice.


Investinor can match the investment of other qualified and leading investors in a range between 2,5 MNOK - 10 MNOK. Investinor will be active in the development of the company.

Target group
Investinor invests in experienced business teams with unique technology and business models. Plus, with great international potential. If your company has a great market potential, a competent team and unique technology/business model, this might be for you.

Check out Investinor page here.

Region research fund

One project can get funding between 200 000 - 350 000 NOK that equals 70% support degree. This means that 30% of the project you need to finance with equity. The first fund round is 15-16 MNOK. Second round after summer is 20 MNOK. The project length is between 2-6 months.

The money can be used to cover costs on clarifying if the innovation project in the main phase includes research challenges or if it is mainly development work. The project must define research challenges or development needs, also establish collaboration with a competence network and other collaboration partners who can help into the project.

Target group
Small and medium companies and public sector with research based innovation combined with solving some of the regional and/or societal challenges. The company needs to apply in their municipality. You need to look at the categories for the announcement, which include: Climate, environment, energy, health, care, education, technology and city/region development.

How to make a great application

- Clearly show the societal value,
- How is your company creating value in public and private sector,
- Great quality of the project and precise explanation,
- Show the high potential for further development of the project .

Apply for Oslo and for Viken

The research council of Norway

The research council of Norway (Forskningsrådet) supports research and innovation activities with the goal of creating new knowledge. The council has increased the financial support with additional 250 MNOK.

Target group
Companies that need research and development for new or improved products, services or production processes. Both small and bigger businesses. The company needs to be registered in Norway and have its business here. See below the two types of applications:

a) Innovation project for business. (IP-N Innovation project): Business with great and unique ideas about new products, services or solutions which leads R&D project with comprehensive research. The innovation project should give a significant contribution to renewal and increased value creation for new knowledge and new available solutions.

Amount: 2 000 000 - 16 000 000 NOK
Period: 24-48 monthsFunding degree: 26-80%

The innovation project requires a minimum one project partner. This can be a business partner or a R&D institution (check all requirements for the partner). The research results are owned by the innovation project owner. The costs that can be supported are indirect or directly to the research project such as salary for R&D, purchases from R&D institutions, equipment and other project costs.

Apply here

b) Ph.D project for business (Nærings-ph.d:doktorgradsprosjekt i næringslivet): This project is between a business and educational institution. The business is the one who applies. The project is focusing on a research question relevant for the business. It is required that the company has minimum 2 people 100% hired, including one PhD candidate signed up to the project. It needs to be a new project and cannot support an ongoing PhD. The business is responsible for funding of the project and needs a project manager putting time into the project. The educational institution is reliable for the quality of the research.

Amount: Covering salary costs of PhD. candidate, project manager, R&D costs, other costs such as guidance, equipment, operating costs.
Period: 36 months (within 3-4 years)
Funding degree: 50% of the project.

How to make a great application
- Check announcements at Forskningsrådets webpages,
- Focus on innovation, marked need, great R&D methods and partners,
- Show why the research for new information is important, How is this information valuable,
- How can the research have societal and sustainable effects? Make this explicit,
- The R&D partners are very important (who, why them, what they do).
- Look at projects that have been accepted before ("prosjetbanken" on Check if the research that would be valuable to your company is already in another project or research that already exists.

Apply here


Skattefunn is financially supporting 19% of tax deductions for documented research and development costs. 19% of your R&D cost you get back through reduction of taxes or get the funding paid as funds. This is an option for all industries. Skattefunn can be combined with other grants.

Target group
All Norwegian tax registered companies from all industries with specific projects for innovative development (new, better products, services or production processes) with a technological development process. The company doesn't need to be in a tax paying situation.

How to make a great application

- Have a clear focus on the technical development and explain why this development is complex
- Structure the technical activities and show a clear timeline for completion
- Remember that the project you are applying for is a time limited development project and cannot be a standard operation activity for the long run.
- Tax discoveries only cover the costs of technical development. This does not include other commercial costs. Make sure that the technical challenges and activities are well described.
- Clearly state how the development project gives your company a commercial value in the industry and sets you apart from its competitors

Applications are evaluated continuously. Apply as soon as possible to get a fast answer on your project. Latest date for getting a project and funding of costs within the same year is 1 September. Apply here.

Innovation Norway

See the different funding opportunities below:

1- Commercialisation phase 1

Innovation Norway is supporting up to 750 000 NOK and maximum 75% of the commercialisation phase 1 project. This means that you need to have 25% private funding/equity. You can fund development of your product/service, design, IPR, testing and collaboration with pilot customers. Additionally development together with the market is possible to fund, but not sales activities.

Target group
Startup companies in early phase of commercialisation. This funding is for companies with high degree of innovation and high potential for international value creation. So the project needs to be scalable, and there are risks involved that Innovation Norway can reduce the funding. You need to have a solution that requires technical development over some time before you are able to have paying customers. Norwegian established AS company younger than 5 years old (priority for under 3 years.

How to make a great application

- Show the clear potential for growth and why your company is innovative on a global level,
- Describe the complexity of the development and why Innovation Norway is important for this project to succeed,
- Explain what makes your company unique in terms of business model and technology.
- Highlight expertise in the team and professional board.
- Show why the financial support of Innovation Norway is essential for success of the project. Show both the potencial and the risks involved to commercialization.

Apply here

2- Commercialisation phase 2

Maximum 750 000 NOK with a support degree up to 75%, meaning that your company needs minimum 25% covered though equity.

Target group
Startups with high innovation and growth potential internationally that have started the development and preferably already applied for commercialisation phase 1. If your product is finished and you are in a selling phase startup, this loan fits you best.

Apply here

3- Startup loan

Maximum 2 400 000 NOK in loan. Support degree is up to 75%. Your company needs 25% equity (600 000 NOK) and guarantee for the risk of 10% the loan (240 000 NOK). The loan is without interest in 2,5 years, after that an interest of 4,2% p.a. After four years the loan needs to be paid back fully. The loan is paid out parallel to the equity. Requires no payment defaults/marks for company, guarantee or other important person. Which activities you want to fund is flexible in a loan.

If you have already received a loan, then you can apply for an increased amount in total 2 400 000 NOK. This requires a new application and acceptance.

Target group
Startup loan is for startups with high innovation and international growth potential that have the last part of development left or having its first paying customers. Startup loans are great when your company needs a higher degree of funding, you have investors on board and are able to pay back after 4 years. The phase is the last part of commercialisation and when the company is starting to grow. The company needs to be younger than 5 years and able to document a willingness to pay in the market.

How to make a great application

- Describe explicitly why your company/solution is innovative by comparing with competitors and other alternative solutions existing today.
- Make a good plan for scaling the business,
- Show that your company has great investors onboard,
- Make clear how your company will make money and how you are capable to pay the money back in four years.

Apply here

Pre study

In advance of an innovation project or innovation contract it is often needed a pre study. The goal is to clarify important prerequisites for the project. The purpose of the study is to provide answers to the relevant questions such as technical, organizational and market matters prior to the start of a main project. Conducting a SWOT analysis on risk factors and opportunities. The results of the pre study provide a basis for deciding if an innovation project or innovation contract is applicable. Pre-study cannot fund development costs.

The pre-study can be financed from Innovation Norway up to 1 000 000 NOK. The support degree is 70%. Costs used, for example, knowledge base for new solutions, networking and market understanding to find the right partners and pilot customers and form agreements for collaboration. Activities such as insight into customer needs, willingness to pay, market strategy and technical conditions can be funded. Also clarifications of investment needs for the main project and planes for intellectual property rights. Specifically show what is needed to clarify in the application.

Apply here:

5- Innovation contract

Innovation Norway can support between 20-80% depending on combination of grants and loan. The innovation contract funds are supporting testing, strategy, development and implementation. The pilot customers needs dedicating resources into the project.

Target group
SMEs in all stages of growth can get an innovation contract with pilot customers. The company needs to have an international potential and the project has to be focused on commercialisation, scaling and growth. The collaboration with the customer is crucial for commercial success and the co-development between the parties is essential. The innovation contract project needs to have commercial value beyond the pilot customer in the project. The pilot customers can be Norwegian or international, and need to contribute with resources. They need to contribute a minimum 20% of the total project costs. This contribution can be time and financial resources. Time is especially important to test, share knowledge, define needs and specifications etc.

How to make a great application
Describe exactly why this pilot customers are essential for the development and how they can give unique access to international networks, strategic partners and new competence.

Apply here

6-Extra ordinary innovation grants 2020

Funding degree between 20-80% depending on company size and what activities to fund. It can be a combination of grants and loan. These funds need to be complementary to their own funding. So here you apply for the full project and the costs that are not covered, and Innovation Norway will guide your project. Remember that all funds are based on real costs and needs and it must be documented.

Funding cost related to:

Strategy development (funding of consultant) (up to 50% support)
Innovation activities
R&D activities (up to 45% support degree)
Investments of equipment (up to 20% support degree)
Implementing of new production and organisation methods (up to 50% support degree)

The innovation project needs to develop or enhance a new product, process or service. Activities related to succeeding with development or implementation of new solutions can be financed. No ordinary operating costs. This support cannot fund already existing activities that are fully or partly are completed.

Target group
Small and medium companies in all industries in Norway with high innovation and growth potential. The company needs to have an innovation project with national and preferably international potential. The projects are focused on environment and societal challenges and the innovation needs to have high reward.

Questions? Send a message to Oslo Business Region's financial advisor