TEKES-NATIF Joint Call for Global Business Creation

Opportunities for innovation and business collaboration between Finnish and Vietnamese companies are immense given the rapid growth and development of the Vietnamese economy in recent years, the long history of good collaboration between the two countries and the vast markets (ASEAN and EU) they together represent. Vietnam offers exciting opportunities in several business fields for Finnish companies. Vietnamese companies can, on the other hand, find excellent partners in Finnish companies for acquiring specific skills and knowledge and for scaling their ventures internationally.

Finnish and Vietnamese public innovation funding agencies have recently come together to support creation of strong Finnish-Vietnamese partnerships aimed at global business creation.  The Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) as the primary funding partners are announcing a Joint Call for companies. IPP2 has been assigned to provide procedural support for the Joint Call. Funding will be available for joint business creation projects with an internationally relevant problem-solving perspective. Funding will be granted to individual company participants of eligible Joint Project Plans according to the funding principles of the financing partners identified by the company applicants.

In this page you can find all relevant information and documents regarding Tekes-Natif Joint Call. An eligible joint proposal has at minimum one Finnish and one Vietnamese business entity as a co-lead-partner. There can be partners also from other countries, but only Finnish and Vietnamese businesses will be funded from this call (Note: Vietnamese enterprises who have not had Finnish partner can request Natif and Tekes to help for partner searching and matching and vice versa).  Applicants need to write a Joint Project Plan together with their partners following the instructions in this document.

Instruction for Vietnamese applicants:
1. Before applying, please contact IPP if you need contacts in Finland or support in finding funding for your project
2. Applicants send a funding application and required appendices to the Vietnamese funding organisation that they are seeking funding from (Natif or other)
3. Vietnamese Lead Partner sends Joint Project Plan (download the template here) to IPP via email grants@ipp.vn and registers the consortium on  IPP Digital ePlatform, an online, secure co-working space

Frequently Asked Questions Page 

The NEW Deadline of the call is 16th January 2017.


1. About the Joint Call

The Vietnamese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) have signed a cooperation agreement between the two countries. The cooperation is expected to support and promote joint research, development and innovation in enterprises and science institutions between Vietnam and Finland in the upcoming years. In the Joint Call, National Technology Innovation Fund (NATIF) is assigned to represent MOST.

Within the context of the continuing the success of Vietnam – Finland Innovation Partnership Program, Phase 2 (IPP), the two governments have created funding mechanisms through which companies may seek support for joint Vietnamese-Finnish research and development and innovation (R&D&I) projects and other activities intended to generate new or expanded research and technology-based partnerships and business between the two countries and globally.

IPP has been assigned to provide procedural support for the Joint Call, covering the management of evaluation of Joint Project Plans and also facilitation for partner search and the search for alternative funding sources for both Finnish and Vietnamese and possible third country counterparts.

In a Joint Project Plan, each participating company identifies their preferred financier. The financiers identified will make independent funding decisions. All the jointly approved Joint Project Plans, for which all participating companies receive a positive funding decision, are funded.

Timeline for implementation:

  • 8.7.2016-: Call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) on Tekes and MOST websites
    • matchmaking of potential applicants in Finland and Vietnam
  • 15.10.2016: Publication of the Joint Call on Tekes, NATIF and IPP websites
    • companies may still submit EoI’s to receive matchmaking services
    • sending an EoI is no prerequisite for submitting a Joint Proposal
  • 15.12.2016 (Now extended to 16.01.2017): Close the Joint Call. Deadline for the submission of:
    • Joint Project Plans to IPP
    • Participant company funding applications to Tekes, NATIF and/or other preferred financiers
  • 15.2.2017: Deadline for independent evaluation in Vietnam, Finland and third countries (if any)
    • Evaluation of Joint Project Plans by IPP
    • Evaluation of Company applications and Joint Project Plans by Tekes, NATIF and/or other preferred financiers
  • 15.3.2017: Deadline for funding decisions by Tekes, NATIF and/or other financiers
  • March-April 2017: Contracting according to the procedures of the engaged financiers
  • Reporting according to guidelines of the engaged financiers
  • Every three-months: Quarterly joint project checkpoint reports submitted to the engaged financiers for each Joint Project Plan

2. Objectives

The key objectives are to:

  • Accelerate ambitious SMEs interested in finding world-class partners and investing for growth
  • Facilitate the formation of strategic partnerships Finnish and Vietnamese companies
  • Spark global business creation out of ambitious Finnish-Vietnamese led innovation and business partnerships
  • Solve and respond to real challenges with proven innovative solutions that may be scaled internationally, for example, to demonstrate tested and proven Finnish solutions to solve tangible problems with demand in Vietnam and the broader SEA region.

From this base the call for proposals is open to projects particularly under the following challenge-based themes:

  1. Health related food safety or water solutions
  2. Waste treatment solutions
  3. ICT solutions for education and innovation training.

Promising proposals outside of the above mentioned themes are also to be considered for funding.


3. The procedure for the applicants and eligibility

The joint project should have two lead companies; one from Vietnam and one from Finland and the project duration should be at maximum 2 years. There may be additional partners from Vietnam, Finland and third countries. Consortia by SMEs that comprise entire supply chains and include suppliers and end-users/customers committed for a strategic partnership will be favored.

There is no limit to the number of consortium members and partners are also welcome from third countries to expand the project’s international reach, global potential and impact. For companies not registered in Vietnam or Finland no grant funding will be available by Tekes or NATIF, but IPP may be consulted for support to explore global funding resources.

  • The Vietnamese and Finnish applicants shall together prepare a Joint Project Plan as well as company specific project plans including real collaboration, milestones and clearly defined roles for each partner. The Joint Project Plan shall be annexed within the companies own funding applications to their preferred financiers. The Vietnamese lead partner is responsible for sending the Joint Project Plan to IPP.
  • Identify an eligible lead from Vietnam and Finland respectively, responsible for leading the joint project and consortium, executing the Joint Project Plan in all relevant jurisdictions, and officially submitting the application for funding in their country to their preferred respective implementing agency, for example, NATIF in Vietnam and Tekes in Finland. Both the Vietnamese and Finnish partners of a Joint Project Plan must submit their company specific applications to their preferred financiers. Applications sent to financiers only in Vietnam or Finland are not valid.
  • Demonstrate the joint Vietnamese-Finnish project team’s capacity to manage the proposed project;
  • Articulate clear commercial goals, and associated commercialization strategies;
  • The project should demonstrate the contribution of the participants from both countries and the project must be balanced between participants and significant to both partners.
  • The project partners should agree in advance on the IP rights and on the commercialization strategy of the product or process: A draft of collaboration agreement (such as a Letter of Intent) is required.

For Finnish applicants:

Tekes will only finance company projects in this call. Research collaboration with academic or other institutions can be included as services purchased by company that receives Tekes’ funding. Special emphasis will be on SMEs.

Finnish applicants shall make their applications following Tekes’ normal guidelines and using Tekes’ online services and include a joint project plan and a description of how they will handle their own funding part.

  • Eligible applicants will be R&D&I performing Finnish registered companies, which operate in Finland.
  • The results of the projects shall contribute to the Finnish economy. The participants must have prerequisites for profitable business.
  • The applicants should not have unpaid taxes or disturbances in payments.
  • For large companies the Tekes’ special requirements for large companies’ funding are being followed.
  • The participants must fully fill in the application form so that it can be evaluated equally with the other participants’ applications.

For Vietnamese applicants:

NATIF will only finance company projects in this call and only enterprises will be eligible for financing by alterative financiers and/or financiers from third countries (if any) also.

Vietnamese applicants shall make their applications following NATIF’s or other relevant guidelines and annex the Joint Project Plan and a description of how they will handle their own funding part. The Joint Project Plan shall be sent to IPP by the Vietnamese lead company by the deadline.

  • Eligible applicants will be R&D&I performing Vietnam-registered companies, which operate in Vietnam.
  • The results of the projects shall contribute to the Vietnamese economy. The participants must have prerequisites for profitable business.
  • The applicants should not have unpaid taxes or disturbances in payments. The Vietnamese applicants must submit a signed auditor’s report to verify this.
  • The participants must fully fill in the application form so that it can be evaluated equally with the other participants’ applications.

In Vietnam, the completed application form and required annexes are sent directly to the organization that the applicant is applying funding from. Applicants may contact IPP to explore potential alternative sources of public or private funding in Vietnam.

The Joint Project Plan is sent through the IPP email/online service by the Vietnamese lead partner. All the Joint Project Plans shall be submitted in English language, the dominant language of the Joint Call, with a Vietnamese translation.

4. Evaluation and selection of the projects

All applications will be handled strictly confidentially.

The joint projects must meet the requirements of the funding organizations identified in the Joint Project Plans. In the Finnish part of the project, the general funding terms of Tekes will be applied, and in the Vietnamese part of the project, the general funding terms of NATIF will be applied. In case other financiers are engaged instead of Tekes and/or NATIF in a joint project plan, the general funding terms of such financiers will be applied instead.

All financiers identified in a Joint Project Plan will carry out an independent evaluation and choose eligible companies within their engaged Joint Projects Plans. The successful projects selected by all the financiers identified in a Joint Project Plan will be funded from the Joint Call.

To harmonize the evaluation process, common evaluation criteria will be used by all financiers. The evaluation is based on the points listed in the instructions for writing a Joint Project Plan. Special emphasis will be on:

  • Clear commercial potential of the solution (proven market + tested solution)
  • An Innovative shared idea around a new offering or business model
  • Credible partners and partnership (requiring people as bridge of trust)
  • Relevance of the recognized problem and the proposed solution
  • Novelty, quality and innovativeness of the project plan
  • Impact of funding through utilization of the results (intended business or other type of utilization, impact on renewal and competitiveness of businesses)
  • Technology, innovation or know-how to be developed
  • Feasibility of the project plan
  • Resources to be used
  • Cooperation to be developed or utilized; value addition.
  • Benefit created to the Finnish and Vietnamese partners
  • Impact on economic, societal and environmental wellbeing factors for both countries

The major steps in the evaluation and decision making process are:

Step 1: Administrative and Eligibility Check (separately by each identified financier)

  1. Checking if the application came in time and it has the needed content.
  2. Checking the main requirements related to the applicant.
  3. Qualitative feasibility assessment to check if the project plan and targets are realistic to achieve and matching to the call’s scope

Step 2: Independent Evaluation of Joint Project Plans (separately by each identified financier)

The evaluation includes parallel evaluation of proposals and checking the financial and legal issues:

  1. Evaluation of Joint Project Plans (IPP as coordinator; Tekes, NATIF and others as financiers)
    1. The nominated evaluation teams will evaluate the eligible joint project plans based on the evaluation criteria.
  2. Financial and Legal Check
    1. The nominated evaluation teams will conduct the checking of financial and legal details to conclude if the project plan is financially feasible and if the project and its owners have any potential legal issues.

Step 3: Joint Evaluation and Decision Making (Joint decision)

The results of the independent evaluation work are discussed among the financing bodies. Authorized management of the funding organizations engaged in each Joint Project Plan will come to a final decision of which joint projects to fund.

5. The Grant, eligible costs and reimbursement

Funding details in Vietnam:

The funding in Vietnam is subject to terms and conditions of each engaged financier.

NATIF as the primary financing partner in this call can award grants covering up to 30% of the total costs of the Vietnamese company’s part of the joint project. At the beginning of the project, up to 30% of the approved grant can be paid in advance. The rest of the grant will be reimbursed upon the completion of project’s milestones.  Eligible costs that NATIF accepts are the following: Salaries, wages and personnel costs for implementing the approved activities of the project; Overheads; Travel expenses; R&D costs; Conferences and workshops; Costs of materials and supplies; Machinery and equipment purchases (limited); rental of equipment and services.

See detailed funding terms and conditions of NATIF from this link.



Funding details in Finland:

Successful projects will be funded by Tekes in Finland. On the Finnish part of the project, company projects will be funded by Tekes according to funding terms of Tekes and the BEAM programme.


6. Intellectual property

The participants of funded joint project shall agree upon the ownership, access rights and exploitation of the intellectual property generated during the cooperation. The agreements shall be made in writing. Guidelines of the funding organizations should be followed when making the agreements.

7. Contracting

Each funding agency contracts their selected companies according to their established processes within the agreed timeline.

8. Reporting

In addition to normal reporting guidelines of the funding partners, Vietnamese lead participants submit quarterly checkpoint reports on the progress of the joint project to NATIF. Finnish lead participants report to Tekes. In case other financiers are engaged instead of Tekes and/or NATIF in a funded joint project, the quarterly checkpoint reporting will be to such financiers instead.

9. Application deadline and Guidelines for writing a Joint Project Plan


Further information

Useful information about Tekes’ funding principles

How to apply for Tekes’ funding (in English): http://www.tekes.fi/en/online/

Model of the electrical Tekes application: http://www.tekes.fi/globalassets/global/rahoitus/application_company.pdf

All materials needed for applying are available on: TEKES, NATIF and IPP website


In Finland In Vietnam

Ms. Kati Lahtinen

BEAM programme – Tekes
Mobile: +358 50 5577 725
Email: kati.lahtinen@tekes.fi


Mr. Phan Hong Son

Management Board – NATIF

Mobile: +84 962288525

Email: phson@most.gov.vn

Mr. Minh Lam
Programme ManagerBEAM Programme- TekesMobile:. +358 50 5577 743
Email: minh.lam@tekes.fi

Vietnam-Finland Innovation Partnership Programme (IPP)


A) Application related matters


Ms. Silja Leinonen, Innovation Adviser

Email: silja.leinonen@ipp.vn


Ms. Trang Nguyen, Business Development Expert

Email: trang.nguyen@ipp.vn


B) Project Plan, Partner and Finance matters

Mr. Marko Seppa, Entrepreneur in Residence

Mobile: +84 123 327 1447

Email: marko@ipp.vn