Funding for startups early phase amid Covid-19

Published by Oslo Business Region, 27 May 2020

There are two main funding opportunities for startups in the early phase. Here you can find the summary and recommendations of the Market declaration form by Innovation Norway and Region Research Fund by Oslo and Viken Region

Innovation Norway


Innovation Norway is supporting up to 150 000 NOK with 100% funding and 0% equity requirements. The market declaration funding supports costs that are invoiced and paid after application is registered. Examples of cost they support in this phase are related to activities such as: increasing competence or network relevant for the project; activities that make you understand your market and customer; build MVP; and initial tests and demonstrate your product.

Target group
If you are starting up a new company and you are in an early phase and it is important to understand your market, discover market needs and develop the first MVP to start a close dialog with your market. Initial/early phase Norwegian business registered ENK or AS company (under 3 years is prioritised), with a high degree of innovation, unique business model or technology and international potential.

Project time is normally between 3-6 months. Remember that you cannot apply for other Innovation Norway’s funding projects at the same time. So make sure that your market declaration phase is realistic in terms of time, activities and costs.

How to make a great application

  • Compare yourself to other alternatives and competitors. What is new and why is it important to solve the problem?,
  • Be visionary and describe what are the future possibilities if your idea is commercialised internationally,
  • Describe your team’s experience and capacity to scale the company.

For more information, access Innovation Norway website and login to create your application.

Region research funds


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

Other things to consider

If you are starting technical development that is complex and will be a big part of your cost this year you should look at Skattefunn as well. We recommend early phase companies to ensure the market’s need first. Start to explore the market and develop simple mockup/mvp before skattefunn. For information about the next phase see the article about funding opportunities in the commercialisation phase.

Other suggestion is to attend the webinar on fundings by Innovation Norway (in Norwegian). If you have a concept with great innovation and growth potential you can also apply to get a mentor here.

Secure that you get the right network and support through your venture. Connect to incubators and accelerators and investors with focus on early stage startups and that have the specialty and knowledge for your industry.