The early FIT loan is awarded, in principle, while the company accelerates its commercial development, typically 12 to 36 months after its registration in the official commercial registry. This award is linked to the development of added-value activities (development of the product, industrialization, operations, etc.) in the canton of Vaud, the product having already obtained a commercial market validation.
The project must be set up in collaboration with or emanate from a Swiss-French institute or university (i.e. EPFL, HES, HEIG-VD, Unil, CHUV…).
FIT provides early loans of three hundred thousand (CHF 300,000.-) to five hundred thousand (CHF 500,000) Swiss francs, provided that private investors fund the project for at least an equivalent amount. It is a question of logical matching: for one franc of capital investment, the FIT grants one franc, up until a maximum of CHF 500,000. The loans are without personal guarantee but with a base interest of 5%, to which another 5% is added at the start of the reimbursement.
The loans last 8 years; the company must therefore have the capacity to support the debt burden on short and medium term, as well as the capacity to reimburse which is done after the third year.
The Early loans are accompanied by a selection committee/entity that is in charge of the preparation, the follow-up and the overseeing of the demands for loans up until the presentation of the project in front of the FIT committee. This selection entity is provided by the company Virgo Ventures.
In 2017, 8 Early loans were granted by the FIT, adding up to a total amount of 3.9 million Swiss francs.