Interview with Dr. Vijay K Verma, Executive Director
How would you describe your work and how did you get started in this field?
I worked in the renewable energy and environmental field for more than 15 years. Although I was employed by different companies I was always responsible for funding and financing, mainly public funding. During this time I met a lot of “super genius” people, technical experts and scientists but many of them lacked business skills. I’ve seen a lot of brilliant ideas die because the inventor either did not have business skills or funding. And so my initiative was to create a structure to support these innovative geniuses by helping them to build successful businesses from their ideas.
A large part of what we do is to search for the most suitable funding for Startups, SME and other companies. We prepare applications for funding grants, financial planning, business plan for our clients and we also train/prepare them for the interview. Once the funding is granted we also support them in project management and help them in the preparation of the mid-term report as well as the final report. This means we take a large load of the administrative work from our clients so that they can focus on their own business.
Do you also give support in finding funds other than public fundings?
As well as support for public grants we have access to around 1000 angel investors from the DACH region and with these relationships we find the right investors for our clients. As well as that, another service we recently started is within the structure of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, called the EIC Accelerator Pilot which was published recently. Via this funding scheme, a Startup/SME can receive upto 2.5 Mio Euro as grant and upto 15 Mio Euro as investment.
Could you please specify your target group or groups?
Our target groups are the technical or the research oriented Start-ups, where we start working on the funding side from the very early stage of the Start-up until they reach the size of SME. When it comes to investment we also have a number of bigger companies as clients. I would say around 60 to 80 percent of our clients are Start-ups or rather small companies, but when it comes to European Commission Funding we also have bigger companies as clients.
Do you have a specific non-target group?
Certainly. If somebody wants to open a shop, a restaurant or something similar they do not fit in our target group because we are an innovation driven company. There needs to be an innovative part in the business because this is the target of the funding we bring to our clients.
Do you also give support in the field of innovation, i.e. how innovation happens?
Of course. Funding and financing is one part of our business. Another one is business consulting and there we cover topics like “how to innovate” and “how to define a degree of innovation” and we also have a training program for this which we provide in-house.
We are also very active in “Renewable Energy and Environmental Engineering Consulting” where we have clients from many EU member countries. We do a lot of desktop research work in this area.
What are the challenges in your work environment, in your profession?
One of the biggest challenges is to find employees who meet our criteria because they need
a very special understanding or experience in technological terms of almost everything as well as a key sense for business. So people who have a combination of a technical degree and a business degree are our first choice as employees. Another challenge is that we always need to be creative and have to think one step ahead of our clients. We are very good at that and many times we have been able to develop business scenarios that were significantly larger than our clients expectations. This makes our clients very happy but usually requires some changes to their internal structure and business strategy.
Why did you ask Business Campus Ehrenhausen to be a cooperation partner?
I was looking to expand to Kärnten and so I started asking people who are very well known
in the start-up ecosystem and as it happened almost every second person gave very good reference to BCE, and suggested that I get in touch with you. I am really very happy that we came to an agreement and that we are partners.
Die Kooperation mit der Dhara-Solutions GmbH ist ein weitere Baustein in der Strategie des Businesscampus Ehrenhausen, innovatives Unternehmertum in Kärnten zu fördern.