FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The IMPACT EdTech project is a start-up incubator-accelerator helping European SME digital education innovators to bring innovative digital education solutions into the market. With funding from the H2020 programme of the European Commission, the project will particularly focus on developing new solutions that can contribute to extending personalised, inclusive educational models and/or support the development of the skills relevant in today’s world. In addition to these, solutions which facilitate remote and mobile learning aimed at ensuring educational continuity for school education or general users during periods of severe educational disruption will also be supported by the project.

The IMPACT EdTech consortium is led by European Schoolnet and brings together three experienced partners with complementary expertise:

  • European Schoolnet (EUN) is the network of 34 European Ministries of Education, providing Future Classroom Lab validation methodology for new ICT solutions for school education.
  • FundingBox Accelerator (FBA) manages the open calls and cascade funding. FundingBox is the European leader in managing Financial Support to Third Parties (cascade funding) and provides tools for community creation, to help innovators meet, interact and collaborate to build growth connections.
  • ISDI is the recognised European accelerator, helping Entrepreneurs, Enterprises & Institutions in their transformation to become competitive in the Digital Era.

IMPACT EdTech will address solutions in the following categories: (A) School EdTech solutions; (B) EdTech solutions for any age group and/or level of education.

(A) School EdTech solutions
Strand A aims to support solutions which demonstrate a clear vision for the pedagogical use of ICT aimed at transforming education models at the level of formal (school-based) compulsory education, from early childhood up to secondary general and vocational education (commonly referred to as K12), notwithstanding that their potential application may reach other target users and educational markets. The solutions selected must serve to make education more inclusive, support personalised learning or support skills development of children and/or teachers. Solutions aiming at supporting schools in ensuring the pedagogical continuity with pupils through online education will also be considered under this strand.

(B) EdTech solutions for any age group and/or level of education
Strand B targets content-based solutions open to any age group and level of education. Strand B is looking for solutions that can disrupt the current EdTech market patterns and break the barriers to any learners through emerging technologies. Strand B solutions will be tackling the three IMPACT EdTech challenges (inclusive education, personalised learning or skills development) addressing any type of learners through formal and/or informal education outside the early childhood up to secondary general/vocational education systems. Learning solutions (B2C or B2B) which facilitate remote and mobile learning will also be considered.

First of all, because you have the possibility to receive up to €195,300equity free funding!

But it is not just about the money!

If you are one of the up to 28 applicants shortlisted, you will be invited to the IMPACT EdTech Pitch Training & Jury Day (online). During this two-day event you will be trained in improving your presentation and get the chance to pitch your solution to a jury of experts.
Then you might be one of the up to 15 contenders selected to participate in the IMPACT EdTech 4 months Incubation Phase, led by the key world class professionals and entrepreneurs, which will include:

  • Individual Mentoring Services from business and educational mentors
  • Digital learning & education consultancy services
  • 4-days business bootcamp
  • Full access to EdTech resources to develop your Minimum Viable Product.

If further selected for the next stage, you will participate in a 5 months Acceleration Phase, during which you will:

  • Participate in a 3-day bootcamp
  • Get visibility to relevant investors and potential partners
  • Receive systematic 1-1 biz and education mentoring services

It means that the party which distributes the funding will not own any shares of your Company.

No, the development should be done by your technical team. You should demonstrate in your application that your team is capable to develop the solution.

A good example for STRAND A could be: a research team from a university department is exploring how to increase the socioemotional skills of children with autism by using AI mechanisms. They have developed a digital personal assistant; having already a prototype, which has been tested to be used for clinical therapies, but its potential is much bigger. This digital personal assistant could also be used as ‘teaching assistant’ in classrooms, to improve interaction with children with autism.
The research team has IP rights to continue developing and commercialise this technology. They are confident on the technical quality of their prototype as well as their technical capabilities, and can make all the technical improvements required to obtain an MVP.


For STRAND B an example could be: A start-up is working to integrate Affective Neuroscience and Artificial Intelligence elements and develop an adaptive learning platform based on:
– Measurement of physiological information monitoring the autonomic nervous system to obtain the emotional state of the user based on physiological information;
– Face recognition system, to identify the user and to recognize emotions in learning activities in real time;
– Machine learning algorithms to classify and analyse the resulting data and give personalized insights.

These technologies have been successfully tested to monitor, emotionally and cognitively, a group of students. Next step is to incorporate them in a gamified learning platform for programming that can be used at home by workers needing upskilling.

  • Start-ups/SMEs consisting of teams of at least two persons with complementary business and technical capabilities will be eligible for the IMPACT EdTech Programme. An SME will be considered as such if it complies with the European Commission’s Recommendation 2003/361/EC. As a summary, the criteria defining an SME are:
    • Headcount in Annual Work Unit (AWU) less than 250;
    • Annual turnover less or equal to €50 million OR annual balance sheet total less or equal to €43 million.

Note that the figures of partners and linked enterprises should also be considered as stated in the SME user guide. For detailed information check EU recommendation: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/business-friendly-environment/sme-definition_en.

  • Start-ups/SMEs legally established in the following countries will be eligible for the IMPACT EdTech Programme:
    • EU member states and their overseas territories
    • H2020 associated countries
    • UK – under special circumstances described in point 5)
  • Teams of at least two individuals with complementary business and technical capabilities can also submit their applications, but they will be required to establish a company (legal person) in any of the European Union member countries or an H2020 associated country before the start of the Incubation programme. In this case, individuals will be required to provide a written commitment stating they will establish a legally registered company during the Sub-Grant Agreement.
  • Moreover, to be eligible, your proposal must fully comply with the eligibility criteria indicated in Section 3 of the ‘Guide for Applicants’.

Yes, in conformity with the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement , the UK and persons or entities established in the UK continue to be eligible to receive Union funds under actions carried out in direct, indirect or shared management, which implement Union programmes and activities committed under the MFF 2014-2020 until the closure of those Union programmes and activities. When restrictions apply, these will be clearly specified in the call for proposals.

No, only individual start-ups/SMEs are eligible for the IMPACT EdTech Programme.

Yes, EdTech technologies proposed by the start-ups/SMEs entering the project are placed at least in TRL5 (Technology readiness level). The IMPACT EdTech Incubation Programme will help you to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that will be tested and validated in real operational conditions, thus reaching TRL7 (demonstration in operational environments) or higher by the end of the programme. This does not preclude the acceptance of projects based on learning technologies already demonstrated in operational environments (TRL7) that may need to improve or refine their current solutions, aiming at system-level demonstration via short-cycle experimentation (TRL9). Any solution already placed above TRL 7 at application stage would not be in line with the objectives of the programme, since Stage 1 aims at supporting the beneficiaries in the further development of their MVP.

TRL or Technology readiness levels are a type of measurement system used to assess the maturity level of a particular technology. Each technology project is evaluated against the parameters for each technology level and is then assigned a TRL rating based on the projects progress. There are nine technology readiness levels. TRL 1 is the lowest and TRL 9 is the highest.

The TRLs in Europe are as follows:

TRL 1 – Basic principles observed
TRL 2 – Technology concept formulated
TRL 3 – Experimental proof of concept
TRL 4 – Technology validated in lab
TRL 5 – Technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
TRL 6 – Technology demonstrated in relevant environment (industrially relevant environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
TRL 7 – System prototype demonstration in operational environment
TRL 8 – System complete and qualified
TRL 9 – Actual system proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies; or in space)

The EdTech technologies proposed by the start-ups/SMEs entering the project are placed at least in TRL5. The IMPACT EdTech Incubation Programme will help them to develop a Minimum Viable Product that will be tested and validated in real operational conditions, thus reaching TRL7 (demonstration in operational environments) or higher by the end of the programme. This does not preclude the acceptance of projects based on learning technologies already emonstrated in operational environments (TRL7) that may need to improve or refine their current solutions, aiming at system-level demonstration via short-cycle experimentation (TRL9). The IMPACT EdTech programme we offer would not be relevant for solutions that are already above TRL 7 when applying.

  • Start-up/SME established in an eligible country before the start of the Incubation programme.
  • The company has at least two team members combining business and technical capabilities. At least one working full-time on the project.
  • The company has at least an early prototype/mock-up of the proposed solution that has been already tested in lab conditions and controlled environments, from TRL 5 to TRL 7 (max).
  • Focus on IMPACT EdTech prioritized challenges (personalised learning; inclusive education; skills development) or solutions facilitating remote and mobile learning
  • The application must be submitted in English.
  • Only one proposal per start-up/SME can be submitted. If more than one proposal per applicant is identified, only the first proposal which has been submitted in order of time will be evaluated.
  • Applicants shall not have any potential conflict of interest with the selection process. All cases of potential conflict of interest will be assessed on a case by case basis. Conflict of interest can occur when there are circumstances that might affect objective evaluation of the proposal, as defined in the H2020 and EC regulations. Consortium partners, their affiliated entities, employees and permanent collaborators cannot take part in the IMPACT EdTech incubation and acceleration programme.

For the full list of eligibility criteria please review Section 3 of our Guide for Applicants.

In principle, you can participate in the IMPACT EdTech Programme. However, this kind of partnership, e.g. business partnership or more specifically crossed share capital participations with a large company should not breach EC RECOMMENDATION of 6 May 2003 concerning the definition of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (notified under document number C (2003) 1422) (2003/361/EC).

IMPACT EdTech is looking for start-ups/SMEs to address one or more of the following challenges faced by the educational systems, that can be tackled by digital technology:

  • Inclusive education, targeting specific underserved or vulnerable groups (socially disadvantaged persons, immigrants or minority groups, special educational needs students or other groups), address early school leavers or support the improvement of educational attainment for all.
  • Personalised learning, (based e.g. on Artificial Intelligence (AI), learning analytics, and other technologies) with a focus on supporting new, research-based pedagogical approaches for in-classroom education and encouraging life-long learning.
  • Skills development of children, teachers and other types of learners with a focus on, but not limited to, the development of STEM, Computational Thinking and 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication.

In addition, solutions which facilitate remote and mobile learning aimed at ensuring educational continuity for school education or general users during periods of severe educational disruption will also be considered.

Inside the online application form there is a specific field for attachments (e.g. video) to present your product.

It would be recommended to apply as a start-up/SME in the constitution process because only start-ups/SMEs participating on their own are eligible to receive funds.
For this reason, if you have already incorporated your company and you only need the registration number, you can apply. We will ask you to provide us with the documentation proving you are a start-up/SME, once the evaluation process is finished and before starting the incubation programme.

No, according to the IMPACT EdTech Open Call eligibility criteria, only one proposal per start-up/SME can be submitted. If more than one proposal per start-up/SME is identified by the IMPACT EdTech team, only the first proposal which has been submitted in order of time will be evaluated.

Yes, as long as the programmes do not overlap or incur in double funding. Nonetheless, if you are selected, you will have to sign a Declaration confirming that you will not take part in any new acceleration Programme until the end of the EdTech Programme.

You can apply for the call through the following link: https://impactedtech.fundingbox.com/

It must be clear in the application that the company’s team is able to execute the core tasks of the project, and that any use of subcontractors should be limited to services that are external to these core tasks.

Your subsidiary in Spain should be an SME with a registered Spanish “CIF” number to
be eligible.

Yes, it is possible, as far as you own the IPR rights, as stated in section 3.6 of the Guide
for Applicants.

We suggest you to choose considering what type of pilot plan for your PoC. The Strand
A and Strand B provide different piloting resources. Strand A entails PoC with schools
and teachers co-creation whilst Strand B entails PoC with Go-to-market testing services,
Block chain-based technological testing environments, and Digital Missions. More
details please refer to Guide for Applicants, Page 30 – 31.
Only one application per SME is eligible.

We are looking for innovation solutions related with digital technology. We’d expect
you to justify the connection between the innovation and digital technologies.

The focus will be on both aspects. We expect the solution to be innovative and have
market potential.

Currently the participation of UK is eligible, as indicated in section 3.2 of the Guide for
Applicants.
If a company has signed the Sub Grant Agreement and it changes its place of
registration during the programme, it will still be eligible, as long as it only entails a
change in the statutes of the company and not the whole identity of the company.

No, the project doesn’t have to achieve all the challenges, you should choose one.

You should choose the Strand which you think best apply to your solution. You should also check the Section 6.1 “Divergent Pilot Pathways” of the Guide for Applicants, as the pilot pathways differ according to the Strand chosen.

Applicants will have to take into account that they should not take part in another Incubation / Acceleration programme, or other innovation programme that include mentoring and services while participating in the IMPACT EdTech programme.

If it fits one of the 3 IMPACT EdTech challenges it could be a solution for strand B.

The TRL, which should be between 5 and 7, regards the solution you apply for, not the start-up.

Your solution should be new and original, and should not already exist on the market.

Yes, it can be a mock-up. For us it is an early prototype of the mock-up that you have already tested in a lab condition and control environment but you need still a validation in operational and educational environment.

No, it is not possible to apply as a no-profit organization; the project is dedicated to Start-ups/SMEs consisting of teams of at least two persons with complementary business and technical capabilities. It is possible though to apply as a team of two people and establish the company once you will be selected. Please check our Guide for Applicants, section 3.1 Types of applicants page 12 for more specific information.

We estimate an average time of 4 hours for filling in your application via the official submission form.

We encourage you to keep your proposal focused on the requested information keeping in mind the challenges and topics targeted by this first Open Call. Note that character limitations have been established in each section of the online application form.
We strongly encourage you to start the submission process well before the deadline to avoid last minute situations.

The ‘Guide for Applicants’ is the main reference document for the 1st IMPACT EdTech Open Call. It provides detailed information about the requirements of the evaluation and selection process, and the Incubation / Acceleration Programme offered by the project.

Additionally, an Open Call Helpdesk service is available to clear up any doubts you may have relating to the application process (eligibility rules, application form information requests, etc). You can access the Helpdesk via the Open Call Community Spaces available here: https://fundingbox.com/c/community-Impact-edtech. Finally, a Technical Helpdesk service (info@fundingbox.com) is also available if you encounter any technical problem when filling in the application form.

The deadline for the first call is 30 June 2020 at 13:00 (CEST). No applications will be accepted after this deadline.

No, the proposals will only be evaluated after the 30th of June when the Open Call will
end but until that date you will be able to go back and modify your proposal, even if
you have already submitted your proposal.

After an internal eligibility check, two external experts will be assigned to assess each of the proposals. The experts will score each award criterion on a scale from 0 to 5. The following criteria will be taken into account for the evaluation of your submission:

EXCELLENCE:

  • Ambition: Applicants have to demonstrate to what extent the proposed EdTech solution is beyond the State of the Art and describe the innovative approach behind it (e.g. ground-breaking objectives, novel concepts and approaches, new products, services or business and organisational models).
  • Innovation: Applicants should provide information about the level of innovation within their market and about the degree of differentiation that this solution will bring.
  • Soundness of the approach: Applicants must explain the pedagogical approach underlying their solutions and how it relates with challenges of current educational models.

IMPACT:

  • Market opportunity: Applicants have to demonstrate a clear idea of what they want to do and whether the new/improved solution has market potential, e.g. because it solves a problem for a specific target customer.
  • Competition: Applicants have to provide information about the degree of competition for their particular solution and if the idea is disruptive and breaks the market, i.e. the solution to be brought to market can be clearly differentiated from the competition.
  • Commercial Strategy and Scalability: The applicants have to demonstrate the level of scalability of the new/improved solution and the extent to which their solution can be commercialised to solve a structural problem in a specific sector/process/etc.

IMPLEMENTATION:

  • Team: Applicants have to demonstrate their management and leadership qualities, their ability to take a concept from idea to market, their capacity to carry through their ideas and understand the dynamics of the market they are trying to tap into. The team (minimum two people) should be a balanced and cross-functional team, with a strong background and skill base. At least one team member should have a more business-oriented background and at least one team member a technical background. At least one of the team members should have full time dedication to the project.
  • Resources: Applicants have to demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of the resources assigned in order to get the objectives/deliverables proposed. One important aspect is that applicants make clear in the proposal that the idea can be developed using their technical solutions. They have to demonstrate have to show awareness of the potential Personal Data Management issues related to the implementation of their solutions (either in pilots or in full operations) and that they have the capacity to address them.

Transversal criteria such as ‘Supporting Innovation’, ‘Equal Opportunities’ and ‘Social Impact’ (including gender equity) will also be considered by evaluators when assessing the proposals. In addition, each applicant must complete an Ethics Self-Assessment. The adequacy of the approach towards protection of personal data (GDPR compliance) and other ethics issues (rights of children and vulnerable groups, gender, diversity) will be evaluated and considered in the final assessment. Evaluators will provide their comments for both the transversal criteria and the ethics self-assessment, but these sections will not be scored by the evaluators.

The IMPACT EdTech selection process has been designed to be fair, fun and interesting for you. The selection process includes the following steps:

Proposals reception:
On receipt of each proposal, the system will send an Acknowledgment of receipt to the proposer. Late submissions won’t be accepted.

Phase 1: Eligibility Check
In order to be eligible for evaluation, applications will be checked for compliance with the eligibility criteria listed in Section 3 in the Guide for Applicants.

Phase 2: Experts Evaluation
The external evaluation will be conducted by independent evaluators. Each proposal will be evaluated by two external experts, appointed according to the specific characteristics of the project.

Phase 3: Consensus Meetings
The Evaluation panel will provide a list of pre-selected applicants to a Selection Committee.
After this assessment, the Selection Committee will decide the best proposals per challenge based on the external evaluation results and taking into account the selection criteria specified above. Please note that during this phase transversal criteria such as ‘Supporting Innovation’, ‘Equal Opportunities’ and ‘Social Impact’ will be considered in the final decision.

For more information about the evaluation process, consult the Guide for Applicants.

No, the score from your application has an effect to be selected for the JD but then it will be mainly your pitch presentation which will make the selection committee decide.

During the Jury Day, the ‘Selection Committee’ composed by the consortium members and three external advisors (with no voting rights) will undertake the final evaluation of the List of final beneficiaries.

IMPACT EdTech provides EU funds to companies to bring their digital learning innovative solutions to the market. If they progress until the end of the IMPACT EdTech incubation/acceleration cycle, companies have the chance of receiving up to €193,500 financial support including €30,000 for business, educational mentoring, training and acceleration services and €163,500 as a lump sum.

The IMPACT EdTech funding scheme is based on a series of payments against proving achieved milestones. This means there will be no advance payments, as payments will only be made upon receiving and validating the beneficiary’s previously agreed milestones.

The payment will be made as the following stages:

Stage 1: MVP Testing Stage: fixed lump sum of €85,300, including up to €10,000 of voucher-based business & educational expertise and specialized resources (granted to up to 21 start-ups/SMEs)

Stage 2: Proof-of-Market Stage: fixed lump sum of €110,000 per EdTech Trial, including up to €20,000 of voucher-based business & educational expertise and specialized resources (granted to up to 11 start-ups/SMEs)

The EdTech Trials selected will define at the beginning of the support programme, together with the mentors allocated, an ‘Individual Mentoring Plan (IMP)’. This document establishes the KPIs and Deliverables which will give an indication of the performance of selected beneficiaries when reviewing the milestones.
The milestones review will be carried out by the IMPACT EdTech ‘Mentoring Committee’ according to the following criteria.

  • Deliverables quality. To be scored by the Business and Educational Mentors based on the Deliverables established in the IMP
  • Business performance indicators. To be scored by the Business Mentors based on the KPIs established in the IMP
  • Technical (educational) performance indicators. To be scored by the Educational Mentors based on the KPIs established in the IMP
  • Deadline Compliance. To be scored by the Mentors
    Each criterion will be scored from 0 to 10 and the weight of each one of these criteria, in the final score, will be as follows:
  • Deliverable quality (30%).
  • Technical (educational) performance indicators (30%).
  • Business performance indicators (30%).
  • Deadline Compliance (10%).
    According with this final score:
  • Beneficiaries scoring above threshold (7 points) will successfully receive the next payment and be eligible to continue in the Programme.
  • Beneficiaries under threshold will be reviewed by the ‘Selection Committee’ who will take the final decision, taking into account all possible objective reasons for underperformance (i.e. external factors which might have influenced the beneficiaries’ performance). Those not passing this examination won’t receive the next payment and will be invited to leave the Programme.

Detailed information on the payment conditions is included in the Guide for Applicants (Section 6.4).

Yes, your solution is UNIQUE and so are your training needs. The IMPACT EdTech team will help you identify your needs and those of your team, providing the necessary tools and training to ensure the experience is of maximum benefit for your project. Some sessions, such as the pitch training and bootcamps (but not limited to these) will be mandatory for all selected start-ups/SMEs in order to continue in the programme.

At the end of the acceleration stage, a limited number of start-ups/SMEs will be awarded with the ‘Best-in-Class’ status. The ‘Best-in-Class’ EdTech Trials will receive the following benefits:

  • EUN will invite ‘Best-in-Class’ EdTech Trials to benefit from a Future Classroom Lab partner’s status at no cost for one year. This would give the providers access to a community of educational actors with which they could network, collaborate and exchange.
  • Piloted solutions from Strand A that include MVPs which require minimum training for teachers (Type A.1.), will be assessed and potentially incorporated in EUN training courses.
  • Best in-Class projects from Strand B may also be considered, in case they are relevant (for example, solutions improving extra-curricular support or engagement of school students).
  • EUN will advise and support non-piloted solutions from Strand A that include MVPs which require either the deployment of hardware in schools, intensive training for teachers (Type A.2), to implement real environment pilots in case providers have acquired external funding.
  • ISDI will open ‘Best-in-Class’ EdTech Trials the possibility to be evaluated for seed investment by ISDI BA Fund.
  • ISDI will award ‘Best-in-Class’ EdTech Trials from any Strand with a set of Premium services from leading IT companies that will support them in further development and deployment of their solutions (for example: Hosting from Amazon Web Services, Marketing Tools from Marketo, SendGrid or HubSpot, and other Premium online Legal or Recruiting Services, Online Payment services, etc).

As explained p.9 of the Guide for Applicants, for each Stage the grant is composed of two parts:

  • a fixed amount of equity-free funding;
  • a maximum amount (up to) to be used in vouchers, according to the needs of the project

For sake of simplicity and transparency, the Financial Support will be paid against specific Deliverables (which will be included in the ‘Individual Mentoring Plan’ annexed to the FSTP Agreement) and based on the results of the Interim Reviews. The payments will be done once the deliverables are approved by the ‘Mentoring Committee’. Therefore, if you withdraw prematurely, you will only receive the funding corresponding to the deliverables that you have produced. The payment conditions are explained p. 33 of the Guide for Applicants.

The grant is paid in the form of lump sum, no supporting documents are requested, although participants should keep documentation for their own purposes (eg. fiscal duties).

In the event of the business entity being 100% owned by one of the two team members, the other team member must be formally linked to the Company, through a commission contract, service contract or an employment contract.

The ownership of all IPR created by the Beneficiaries, via the IMPACT EdTech funding, will remain with them. Results are owned by the Party that generates them. An agreement will introduce provisions concerning joint ownership of the results of the sub-granted projects. It will be assessed and negotiated case by case.
“Results”: outputs created during the incubation/acceleration IMPACT EdTech programme;”Provisions”: legal framework, agreement; “Sub-granted projects”: selected and funded projects of this Open Call.


It might happen that a result of the project would be jointly owned with one or several consortium partners, it is exceptional but possible. The conditions of such joint ownership have to be agreed by all parties involved.

The activities are related to the Strand you will choose. In general, we are rigid. We
suggest you consider carefully while you are choosing your strand. However, there will
be a certain flexibility to analyse case by case if there is a significant need.

Start-ups/SMEs will benefit from weekly mentoring services, as follows:
– Business mentoring, 1h session 1 time per week (alternating follow-up and
specialised mentors)
– Educational mentoring 2h session every two weeks
There is average at least 2 mentoring sessions (1h/session) per week for a up to 9
months programme. We guarantee a high level of dedication and engagement from
carefully selected and matched mentors. Our mentor satisfaction rate has been always
above 9 out 10 in other programmes. However, it is hard to provide a standardised
calculated timeframe for mentorship from the mentor perspective.

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