Project name CE-Connector - Building knowledge and linkages among Business Angels and Public across territorial ecosystems to close the financial gap for innovative start-ups
Objective Objective 1.1
Priority Innovation and knowledge development
Aim General objective of the project is to upscale territorial ecosystems for small-scale financing of innovation towards the fully functional Angel Co-investment Fund (ACIF) with aim to close the financial gap between 3Fs (founders, family, friends) and VC (Venture Capital) investment.

Specific objectives:
• to increase the number of territorial business angels and raise their investing competence
• to address the current high growth SME finance gap, which is identified at the scale of investment from 100.000 euro to 1.000.0000 per round for single Start-up investment
• to ensure the shift towards sustainable full-scale operation of CE-Connectors after the project closure
Results Aside of the obligatory WP0, WP Management and WP Communication, there will be 4 Technical WPs:

TWP1 Ecosystem Building (m1-m36) focusing on the i) quantity of the Business Angels in territory; ii) quality of BAs (knowledge & experiences) – upscaling towards Lead Angels in co-funding deals; iii) trans-regional co-funding.

TWP2 Development of CE-Connector ACIFs; (m1-m12) It will consist of:
• Development of ACIF tools (operation, investment methodology etc)
• Upscaling of knowledge of policy partners and some ecosystems partners
• Establishment of CE-Connector network
• Development of the Action plan

TWP3 Pilot operation of the CE-Connector ACIF network (m12-26) Pilot operation of CE-Connectors ACIFs (each ACIF should realize 3 investments rounds with 3 different SMEs, while at least 1 investment should involve trans-regional Business Angel group on syndicate.

TWP4 Towards sustainable CE-Connector ACIFs (m27-m36) it will focus on two dimensional sustainable activities:
• Up-scale of ACIFs to full scale ACIFs by involvement of public financial sources (from public partner or more probably from territorial public investment bank or from EIF)
• Ensuring of the funds for Technical operation (running costs of ACIFs) using PPP principle (BAs, their networks, Public administration partners)
Cost The overall project budget vis planned to be around 2.2 million of EUR (depends on the size of partnership)
Duration 36 months
Partners involved
Partners requested • Ecosystem partner, preferably with experiences from equity financing. Partners should be able to prove management abilities of co-funds in later stage. As the type, they can be: innovation center, regional development agency, association etc.
• Public partner (National / regional Public administration) with developed supportive infrastructure to offer 25% investment through voucher scheme.
• Business Angel network (as ASP) – organization bringing together Business Angel at regional or national level. Also EBAN should be valuable ASP member. Their role is to ensure the best possible synergies with the ecosystem of the Business Angels in the territory.
Innovation ACIFs, in general, they are constrained by the supply of investable businesses. CE-Connector overcomes it by operating at inter-regional scale across a wide range of sectors (2 KETs based on the RIS3 for each territory) to ensure that sufficient numbers of viable investible businesses can be found.

Creating the possibility to realize pan-territorially investing (Dittmer et al., 2014) by creating trans-regional Business Angels groups or syndicates. This i) further boosts availability of finances of the scale from 100 TEUR to 1000 TEUR (1) and ii) supports the development of knowledge among the Business angels ecosystems thanks to joint cooperation and trans-regional exchange of experience inside ad-hoc syndicates or groups.

Building the knowledge and linkages among fragmented Business Angels ecosystems and also linkages with Public partners in territorial innovation ecosystems. The aim is to i) upscale knowledge of both these helices and ii)build the new linkages with source of public funding to turn to fully operative ACIF at the end of the project.
Follow up of This project is not the follow-up project. However it capitalizes lessons learned from: InoPlace project (funded under Central OP 2007-2013), NGS and Accelerator projects (Interreg Danube) as it’s addressing the common need identified by young innovators and also should provide complementary structure to structures created by NGS and Accelerator in participating territories
It also contributes to the various EU level strategies and initiatives such Start-up Europe, or the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan COM/2012/795.
Follow up fundings