Here you can find questions and answers for our Nordic Test Lab for Scaling tender. The questions and answers are also published on Doffin.
1) Is the grant paid upfront or by realised cost?
The grant is paid by realized costs, i.e. the supplier is paid at the end of each phase/batch. The last 20 % of the total budget will, however, be paid after fully completed contract.
2) How many payment batches there are / year?
See ‘Appendix 1: Scope of the Assignment’ (paragraph 3) for the minimum requirement of the number of batches. Payments will follow each batch.
See also ‘Appendix 2: The Scaling Model’ on more detailed description of elements which should be included in the offer regarding the suggested Scaling Model.
3) Can the consortium have several grant beneficiaries?
The consortium rendering the procured services can consist of several separate organisations. The Supplier or the Supplier´s representative (if the Supplier is a consortium) will receive the payments from Nordic Innovation, and distributes them further.
4) How the VAT is expected to be budgeted and treated?
All pricing and budgeting should be based on net prices, i.e. without VAT.
5) Is the attached budget expected to be a cost budget or market pricing based budget (where NI Scaling grant is treated as an investment)? Are there any limitations to the commercial pricing of the services?
See ‘Appendix 1: Scope of the Assignment’ (paragraph 5) on the Business and Revenue model, including the potential limitations.
The Contract Price cannot be used for investments.
6) Can it be US based consortium - with people on the ground in Nordics? Does the ‘billing address’ need to be in the Nordics or can it be a foreign company?
It is important that the pilot is properly anchored and integrated in the Nordics, even if activities carried out during the pilot would take place outside the Nordics. This will be a relevant factor when evaluation the tenders in accordance with the award criteria “The Scaling Model”. Please note that rights of US entities are not protected by the European procurement legislation.
7) Before award of the contract, the Tenderer, to whom the contracting authority intends to award the contract, must provide documentation of the information stated in the ESPD, see sections III.1) and VI.3) of the contract notice and section 10.1 above.
=> What will be needed? How much time to gather?
See Tender specification section III.2.1. which states the following:
The Tenderer shall enclose in its tender an ESPD as preliminary documentation:
1) that the Tenderer is not subject to any of the grounds for exclusion, see below and section VI.3 of the contract notice, and 2) that the Tenderer complies with the minimum suitability requirements in respect of economic and financial capacity, see section III.1.2 of the contract notice.
See the contracting authority's guide to the ESPD.
For groups of operators (e.g. a consortium), a separate ESPD must be submitted for each participating operator.
If the Tenderer relies on the capacity of other entities, an ESPD must be submitted for each of the entities on which the Tenderer relies. Furthermore, declaration of commitments from such entities cf. Annex A to these Tender Specifications shall be included in the offer.
Here is a short guide to filling out the ESPD:
a) Enter: https://ec.europa.eu/tools/espd
b) Choose «I am an economic operator»
c) Choose «Import ESPD»
d) Upload the file «espd-request.xml» which is part of the procurement documents
e) Pick your country of business registration
f) Fill out all of the information in parts II, III, IV, V, VI
g) After completion of part VI, please choose «export to file»
h) Save the file «espd-response.xml»
i) Remember to attach the file as a part of your tender!
8) I see that the deadline is now 09.03.2017 so has it been extended from the earlier 01.03.2017?
Yes, the deadline has been extended to 09.03.2017 at 16:00 CET.
NB: The deadline has now been postponed to 13.03.2017 at 16:00 CET!
9) Is the grant to be used by the growth companies themselves or by the organizations (business accelerators) supporting them to grow and develop their businesses, or a mix?
We at Nordic Innovation want to buy a service described in more detail in the tender documents. The financial compensation is directed to the development and implementation of the service (i.e. the pilot) but in developing such a service please pay also attention to the criterion on the exit strategy / business model of the service.
10) Is this something for us or is this program indirectly aimed at traditional organization such as Connect, Stockholm Innovation and other incubators etc or is it open also for new innovative ways to support growth companies?
We are looking for new innovative ways to support growth companies. However, please read carefully the appendix 3 (The Team and Organization) and award criteria.
11) In the tender specifications documents for the Nordic test lab for Scaling is listed (on page 5) that the Target group for the pilot are growth companies that have "demonstrated progress to date (i.e. be revenue generating)". However, this excludes a large group of potential growth companies as most life science / biotech companies are not generating revenue during their initial growth phases. Will it be acceptable to demonstrate progress by other means, i.e. amount of capital raised, growth in employment etc. or does the participating companies has to have revenue?
Yes, it is acceptable to demonstrate progress by other means. Revenue is merely an example of how progress may be documented.
12) I would like to point out, that it is not possible for a Danish company to register at Doffin.no as a Norwegian company registration number is required. Hence it is not possible to monitor any changes to the tender materials.
As the foreign suppliers don’t have a Norwegian organisation number, they may fill out N/A or a made-up number (i.e. 999 999 999) in the relevant field, if they wish to register in Doffin.
All changes will be however, published also at TED: http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:34637-2017:TEXT:EN:HTML.
The simplest way to follow potential changes is through Nordic Innovation web pages: http://nordicinnovation.org/en-GB/projects/lighthouse-projects/nordic-partnership-for-entrepreneurship-and-financing/a-nordic-test-lab-for-scaling/. We publish all the potential changes there.
If you have any other questions related to Doffin, you may also call their customer service: +47 23 96 09 01.
13) Several references are made to a publication from Technopolis regarding the mapping of internationalisation in the Nordic Countries. I cannot find it however on the Technopolis website. Would it be possible to get an electronic copy of the report through you?
The document was made for Nordic Innovation’s internal use to prepare for this tender. However, you can find the summary of the main findings in appendix 1.1 (last chapter “Nordic response”).
14) I am interested in that opportunity, but is it an opportunity for Senior Advisor/ manager who run his own business or works as hired out-sourced manager for another instance.
Please have a look at tender documents at for more information about the criteria: https://kgv.doffin.no/ctm/Supplier/Documents/Folder/151060.
15) What would Nordic Scaling Lab be / look like after the pilot ie in 2020 from Nordic Innovation’s perspective?
Our vision is that the Nordic region will be a leading region in the world for high-growth entrepreneurship.
16) Who (Nordic Innovation, partners etc) would own the IPR (provided service modules and Scaling Program) created by the service provider / consortium of providers?
All intellectual property rights related to the Nordic brand, including the logo of the Buyer, will continue to be owned by the Nordic institutions even after the pilot. Upon termination of the Contract the Supplier shall immediately cease all use of the Nordic brand owned by the Buyer. Please see item 20 in the contract.
17) How do you see the selection and attraction of mid-size, mature startups to participate. When targeting companies of 20 – 50 million NOK in revenue which are the ones most uniquely needing scalability - There are a limited number of companies in each industry that would qualify and often the leadership team / founders may resist investing the time and resources needed to fully participate in and benefit from the program.
The attraction and selection of the target-group companies is indeed vital for the success of the pilot and is as such one of the award criteria. It is assessed to which extent it is secured through branding and in the selection process that the right companies in the target group (i.e. ‘the best-of-the-best in the Nordics’) are identified and selected. It is important that the first batch include companies who can act as role models and draw attention to the pilot.
18) What were the learnings of Nordic Independent Living Challenge program, which engaged a service provider consortium and cross-Nordic stakeholders (Innovation Actors and Capital Cities) to support startup growth.
There are a lot of learnings from the Independent Living Challenge and start-ups, SME’s and cities all have in each of the phases in the competition had beneficial output and Nordic added value of participating in the program.
19) Regarding the ‘Goals and Sub-Goals’ Section and ‘Measures of success’ (parts ii-vi): Is it realistic to deliver the measurables in 4-6 month work period? (Note: A & B funding round times vary from 12-18 months and Partner deals follow the same time frame, and jobs created are often linked to successful Funding/Partner/Customer deals).
Metrics presented in Appendix 1.2. are solely examples. The winning Tenderer is responsible for finalising the metrics in cooperation with Nordic Innovation. The metrics should consist of both quantitative data as well as qualitative (survey).
20) Regarding the ‘The Test Areas’ Section: What do you mean with this sentence “The revenue model to be developed for the Pilot must be based on the success of the participating companies, and the selection process of the companies must be based on competition”?
The sustainability of the scaling model i.e. how activities will become sustainable after the end of the pilot period is one of the award criteria (see item 11.1 in the tender conditions). It is an advantage if the model is based mainly or entirely on the success of the activity, i.e. success of the participating companies. This is how Nordic Innovation may measure the result of the scaling model.
Regarding the selection process: Recent studies have demonstrated that successful entrepreneurial ecosystems, especially those focusing on growth entrepreneurship are highly competitive and based on selection by market. Accordingly, public funds should encourage this and not crowd out market selection and should put more emphasis on quality over quantity, and selectively support only the best instead of providing support to a large number of actors.
The companies who wish to participate shall compete for a spot in the model, through different selection criteria, see. Appendix 1, item 2.
21) Nordic Scaling Platform (3 questions)
a) What is the Nordic Scaling Platform and does it exist today?
In addition to Nordic Scaling Lab, Nordic Innovation will also establish Nordic Scaling Platform which allows relevant Nordic actors to share knowledge on scale-ups and high-growth entrepreneurship. The Nordic Scaling platform will consist of five public sector actors responsible for the public scaling and/or internationalization programmes in the Nordic countries, complemented with five private sector stakeholders. The Platform members will be announced before the contract signature during Spring 2017.
b) Do you have corporate partners in place with concrete commitments and resources for the entire contract period? Who are those partners and what is their concrete offering to the Scaling Pilot in terms of resources (Human & Capital), and what are synergic activities/programs they have directly linked to Scaling of SMEs?
The Platform members will be announced before the contract signature. The Platforms members are asked to commit themselves to attend in total six meetings during 2017 – 2018. They provide their human resources in an advisory role. They will not provide any capital resources to the pilot.
It must be noted that Nordic Innovation has the sole responsibility for the Nordic Scaling Platform. The collaboration between the winning tenderer and the Nordic Scaling Platform is described in more detail in ‘Appendix 1- Scope of the Assignment’ (paragraph 6).
The private actor members present stakeholders like serial entrepreneurs, VCs and large corporations and thus do not necessarily have programmes/activities directly linked to Scaling of SMEs.
c) Do you have real concrete participation secured from governmental players (such as Vinnova, Tekes, Innovasjon Norge, Innovation Centre Denmark) with concrete commitments and resources during the entire contract period? Who are those partners and what is their concrete offering to the Scaling Pilot in terms of resources (Human & Capital), and what are synergic activities/programs they have directly linked to Scaling of SMEs?
Please see the answer to the question 21 b above. The role of the public Platform members is similar to those of the private members.
22) Budget & Payments (3 questions)
a) Is it so that there is no pre-payment to kick off the process and the separate batches?
Yes, that is correct.
b) Is there an opportunity make re-allocations to the budget during the program to maximize the impact per batch?
No. Maximum value of the Contract is 14 million NOK excluding VAT. The tenderers have the possibility to have additional revenue streams if deemed necessary.
c) Is currency (EUR/NOK) fluctuation risk covered 100% by service provider (it can be 20% range during 2 years)?
Yes, that is correct.
23) What is a minimum/maximum length of each batch?
The tenderers are asked to provide a description of concrete activities and batches including the number and duration of each batch during the two-year pilot period.
24) We have a question to the Ceiling Amounts per phase of the contract period. It is indicated in the tender that a ceiling amount is available for each of the phases in the diagram on page 2 of Appendix 4. However, no ceiling amounts per phase are indicated. Can you elaborate on, whether a ceiling amount is specified by Nordic Innovation beforehand, or if it's up to the Tenderes to set these amounts?
The Tenderers are asked to set the ceiling amounts themselves.