Cascade Funding
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Cascade Funding

Cascade funding, or also known as Third Party Financial Support, is a mechanism of the European Commission to distribute smaller amounts of public funds in a more agile way, in order to support specific aspects such as the incorporation of new technologies, promotion of start-ups, promotion of pioneering sectors, etc.

The main objective of this funding method is to simplify administrative procedures with applicant entities, mostly SMEs and start-ups, thus allowing some EU-funded projects to issue, in turn, open calls for further funding. In other words, cascade funding is a simplified public funding opportunity designed to facilitate a greater capillarity of EC funds and actions, facilitating the participation of SMEs and start-ups, since for them participating in a European project means dealing with a large amount of bureaucracy.

How does cascade funding help SMEs and Start Ups?

This mechanism offers start ups and micro-SMEs funds ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 euros; and offers them the possibility of establishing relationships and being able to work side by side with other companies (many of them industries of great weight and importance at European level), technology centres and universities. To participate, no prior guarantee or collateral is required; the evaluation times are shorter, as is the bureaucratic and administrative management itself, and the reporting is simpler since it is based in most cases on work performance.

Cascade funding are grants that are managed and paid by the beneficiaries of the European project that supports them. This means that funding decisions are no longer the responsibility of the European Commission, but of the project leaders or coordinators. They are the ones who open the calls for proposals to attract potential beneficiaries, in particular start-ups and SMEs.

Regarding the sectors that can benefit, the vast majority of these cascade grants cover digital areas, particularly around Industry 4.0, data, embedded systems, but they are also being extended to blockchain or energy saving technologies. However, funding can be allocated to different types of specific activities, from studies, to experiments, pilots, developments, etc.

800 M€

Under Horizon 2020 in Cascade Funding


Projects we are involved with


Organisations supported by Zabala Innovation


Dissemination through support programmes


  • 1. Calls for proposals

    Horizon 2020 has allocated almost €800 million in Cascade Funding calls.

  • 2. SMEs and Start-ups

    Horizon 2020 has allocated almost €800 million in Cascade Funding calls.

  • 3. Simple procedure

    Unlike other procedures in European funding programmes, it is easier to participate.

  • 4. Success

    As these calls are less well known than regular calls, the chances of success of proposals increase.

  • 5. European innovation

    It is the gateway to the European innovation ecosystem.

Blanca Rodríguez

“All companies looking for funding, and willing to take the next step to launch or consolidate their products and services on the market, can find an opportunity here.”

Blanca Rodríguez

European Projects Manager


European Commission

Horizon Europe

It's not about the sector, it's the about project

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Our projects

We lead leading European projects and studies in different sectors, such as smart cities, energy and environment, ICT, biotechnology and open innovation. Our goal is to innovate and to create new paths within the European innovation ecosystem.