The Technology Innovation Guiding Fund – the fourth funding pillar – is a new category of funds exclusively oriented to start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Similarly to National Key R&D Programmes (third funding pillar), it emerged from a structural re-organisation, re-classification and merging of previously existing national funds from different government departments.
It consists of three main funds, which are in turn organised into several sub-funds or funds-of-funds (FOFs). These invest in innovative start-ups and SMEs in priority and strategic areas through venture capital (VC) funds, private equity, and risk compensations, and according to market mechanisms. The aim is to stimulate the transfer, capitalisation and commercialisation of scientific technology results.