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Exploring the key elements of a Business Plan and Exploitation Strategy in Horizon Europe Grant Proposals

As researchers, innovators, and organizations, we understand that securing funding for our projects can be a daunting task. Horizon Europe grants offer an excellent opportunity to bring our ideas to life and make a lasting impact on society. However, to stand out in the competitive landscape, it is crucial to have a well-developed business plan and exploitation strategy. In this blog, we will explore why these two elements are key to success in Horizon Europe grant proposals.

Key elements of a business plan

The Business Plan: Building a Solid Foundation for Success

The business plan is a required element of many Horizon Europe proposals, especially for Innovation Actions or other calls addressing higher Technology Readiness Levels. This should be developed with the rest of the project concept as it can help you articulate the objectives of your project, both from a technical and market perspective. Clearly outlining your goals and how you plan to achieve them demonstrates a strong understanding of the project's potential.

When it comes to crafting a compelling business plan for your Horizon Europe grant proposal, it's important to delve into the essential elements that will captivate evaluators and showcase the potential of your project. Let's take a closer look at these elements:

  1. Market Analysis: A thorough market analysis demonstrates your understanding of the target market's needs, competition, and potential customers. Identify the market trends, the size of the addressable market, and any existing gaps or opportunities. This analysis will highlight the market demand for your project and its potential impact.

  2. Value Proposition: The value proposition articulates how your project adds value to customers or end-users compared to existing alternatives. Clearly define the unique selling points and advantages of your solution, including any technological, economic, or social benefits. Show how your project meets the market's demands in a compelling way.

  3. Business Model: Your business model details how your project will generate revenue and sustain itself beyond the grant period. Identify the revenue streams, pricing strategies, and cost structure. Additionally, outline any partnerships or collaborations that will contribute to the commercialization and financial sustainability of your project.

  4. Marketing and Sales Strategy: This section lays out your plan for effectively promoting and selling your project's outcomes or products. Define your target customers, marketing channels, distribution strategies, and pricing approaches. Explain how you will reach your intended market and create awareness of your project's benefits.

  5. Risk Analysis and Mitigation: Recognize the risks that your project may face, whether they are technological, market-related, or external factors. Discuss strategies and contingency plans to mitigate these risks effectively. Show evaluators that you have taken a comprehensive approach to identify and address potential challenges.

  6. Financial Projections: Provide a detailed financial forecast that covers the grant period and beyond. Break down expected costs, revenues, and funding sources. Present this information in a clear and easily understandable format, demonstrating the financial viability and long-term sustainability of your project.

Remember, crafting a business plan that speaks to the evaluators requires a balance of clarity, feasibility, and market appeal. Ensure that each element of your plan is well-researched, backed by evidence, and aligned with the objectives of Horizon Europe. By diligently addressing these key elements, your business plan will stand out as a robust and persuasive document, increasing your chances of securing the funding you need for your ground-breaking project.

The Exploitation Strategy: Getting Your Innovations into the World

While the business plan focuses on the internal aspects of your project, the exploitation strategy addresses how you intend to bring your ideas to the market and maximize their impact. Here are key aspects to be included in your proposal:

  1. Demonstrating value and impact: A robust exploitation strategy showcases the potential societal, economic, or environmental impact of your project. Clearly outlining how you plan to exploit and disseminate project results ensures that your innovations reach the intended stakeholders and maximize their benefits.

  2. Intellectual Property (IP) management: Horizon Europe grants place emphasis on protecting and managing intellectual property. Your exploitation strategy should outline how you plan to protect and commercialize your IP, whether through patents, licensing agreements, or other forms of IP management.

  3. Scaling up and market deployment: If your project involves the development of a new technology, product, or service, the exploitation strategy demonstrates how you plan to bring it to market. This includes identifying potential partners, customers, and stakeholders, as well as outlining the steps needed to reach market readiness.

  4. Knowledge transfer and collaboration: Horizon Europe encourages collaboration and knowledge exchange. Your exploitation strategy should highlight how you plan to engage with relevant stakeholders, such as industry partners, policy-makers, and the research community, to foster broader uptake and usage of your project's outcomes.

Tips for Success

To ensure your business plan and exploitation strategy are strong and convincing, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Start early: Developing a business plan and exploitation strategy can take time and require input from various stakeholders. Start the process early in the proposal development phase to allocate enough time for thorough research and analysis.

  2. Collaborate with experts: Seek advice from professionals experienced in business planning, IP management, and commercialization strategies. Engaging experts can provide valuable insights and increase the credibility of your proposal.

  3. Tailor to Horizon Europe objectives: Ensure your business plan and exploitation strategy align with Horizon Europe's goals and objectives. Highlight how your project contributes to the program's priorities and addresses societal challenges.

  4. Use clear and concise language: Remember that evaluators may not be experts in your field, so use language that is accessible and avoids unnecessary jargon. Clearly communicate the relevance, potential impact, and economic viability of your project.

In conclusion, a well-developed business plan and exploitation strategy greatly enhance the chances of success in Horizon Europe grant proposals. They provide evaluators with a clear understanding of your project's objectives, market potential, and long-term sustainability. By following the tips outlined above, you can confidently navigate the complex terrain of grant applications and increase your chances of securing funding for your innovative projects.

How Linq Can Help

Linq Consulting & Management specializes in all areas of creating and managing successful proposals and projects, including developing and drafting business plans and exploitation strategies. Our team of expert researchers, writers, and project managers can help with all aspects of proposals as well as dissemination, communication, & exploitation management after successfully being awarded grant funding.

Get in touch with us today, if you or your organisation would like to secure available funding within Horizon Europe or other funding programs. Contact us at 


Be sure to follow us on X (Twitter) @linq-consulting and connect with us on LinkedIn as well.


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