Navigation path

Page navigation

 Funding opportunities

Additional tools

  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text

Looking for Europe's next innovation leader

Horizon 2020's SME Instrument

Are you a highly innovative, ambitious and passionate small- or medium-sized business with global ambitions? Are you looking for excellent business resources and mentorship - and substantial funding wouldn’t hurt either?

As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission is hand-picking potentially disruptive businesses to invest and support as part of the SME Instrument. Your business could receive up to €2.5 million in funding, and world-class business support and mentorship.

Who should apply?

We are looking for high growth, highly innovative SMEs [Check the EU definition of SME] with global ambitions that want to disrupt the established value networks and existing markets. You should be driven, actively investing in innovation, and looking to grow. You should have been established for a while – but not at a start-up stage.

It's a good sign if your company is based in an innovation hub, has received grants or venture capital funding, received innovation-related tax benefits, or won an innovation prize in the last 2 years.

Phases

The instrument will take place in three phases, with the aim of transforming disruptive ideas into concrete, innovative solutions with a European and global impact.

SMEs are recommended to apply for Phase 1, but may also apply for subsequent phases depending on the progress of their proposals:

Phase 1. Concept & Feasibility Assessment

Idea to concept (6 months)

Phase 1 logoThe European Union will provide €50 000 in funding, and carry out a feasibility study to verify the viability of the proposed disruptive innovation or concept.

The SME will draft an initial business proposal (around 10 pages).

 

 

Phase 2. Demonstration, Market Replication, R&D

Concept to Market-Maturity (1-2 years)

Phase 2 logoAssisted by the EU, the SME will further develop its proposal through innovation activities, such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up, and miniaturisation. It will also draft a more developed business plan (around 30 pages).

Proposals will be based on a business plan developed on phase 1 or otherwise. The EU aims to contribute between €0.5 million and €2.5 million.

 

Phase 3. Commercialisation

Prepare for Market Launch

Phase 3 logoSMEs will receive extensive support, training, mentorship and facilitating access to risk finance as the project is further polished into a marketable product.

Additional support and networking opportunities will be provided by Enterprise Europe Network (EEN).

The EU will not provide additional direct funding in this phase.

 

Themes

In 2014 and 2015 the SME Instrument will sponsor SMEs operating within 13 themes:

  • High risk ICT innovation
  • Nanotech, or other advanced tech for manufacturing and materials
  • Space research and development
  • Clinical research for the validation of diagnostics devices and biomarkers
  • Sustainable food production and processing
  • Blue growth
  • Low carbon energy systems
  • Greener and more integrated transport
  • Eco-innovation and sustainable raw material supply
  • Urban critical infrastructure
  • Biotechnology-based industrial processes
  • Mobile e-government applications (2015 only)
  • SME business model innovation (2015 only)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call overview

The estimated number of projects to be funded and overall budget is indicated below each call identifier.

Themes

Call id 2014

Call id 2015

  Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 1 Phase 2
High risk ICT innovation ICT-37-2014-1
90 projects
€4.5m
ICT-37-2014
~26 projects
€40m
ICT-37-2015-1
90 projects
€4.5m
ICT-37-2015
~26 projects
€40m
Nanotech, or other advanced tech for manufacturing and materials NMP-25-2014-1
43 projects
€2.2m
NMP-25-2014
~13 projects
€19m
NMP-25-2015-1.
47 projects
€2.4m
NMP-25-2015
14 projects
€21m
Space research and development Space-SME-2014-1
17 projects
€0.8m
Space-SME-2014-2
~5 projects
€7.5m
Space-SME-2015-1
18 projects
€0.9m
Space-SME-2015-2
~13 projects
€7.7m
Diagnostics devices and biomarkers PHC-12-2014-1
132 projects
€6.6m
PHC-12-2014
~38 projects
€53m
PHC-12-2015-1
90 projects
€4.5m
PHC-12-2015
~26 projects
€40m
Sustainable food production and processing SFS-08-2014-1
18 projects
€0.9m
SFS-08-2014
~5 projects
€8m
SFS-08-2015-1
18 projects
€1.7m
SFS-08-2015
~10 projects
€15m
Seas and oceans (Blue growth) BG-12-2014-1
6 projects
€0.3m
BG-12-2014
1-2 projects
€2.6m
BG-12-2015-1
10 projects
€0.5m
BG-12-2015
2-3 projects
€4m
Low carbon energy systems SIE-01-2014-1
67 projects
€3.4m
SIE-01-2014
~20 projects
€29m
SIE-01-2015-1
74 projects
€3.7m
SIE-01-2015
~22 projects
€31m
Greener and more integrated transport

IT-1-2014-1
72 projects
€3.6m

IT-1-2014
~21 projects
€32m
IT-1-2015-1
78 projects
€3.9m
IT-1-2015
23 projects
€34m
Eco-innovation and sustainable raw material supply SC5-20-2014-1
~34 projects
€1.7m
SC5-20-2014
~10 projects
€15m
SC5-20-2015-1
38 projects
€1.9m
SC5-20-2015
~11 projects
€17m
Urban critical infrastructure DRS-17-2014-1
14 projects
€0.7m
DRS-17-2014
4 projects
€6m
DRS-17-2015-1
14 projects
€0.7m
DRS-17-2015
~4 projects
€6.5m
Biotechnology-based industrial processes BIOTEC-5a-2014-1
8 projects
€0.4m
BIOTEC-5a-2014
~2 projects
€3.3m
BIOTEC-5b-2015-1
5 projects
€0.2m
BIOTEC-5b-2015
1 project
€2m
Mobile e-government applications - - INSO-9-2015-1
8 projects
€0.4m
INSO-9-2015
~2 projects
€3.5m
SME business model innovation - - INSO-10-2015-1
22 projects
€1.1m
INSO-10-2015
~6 projects
€9m
TOTAL ~500 projects ~145 projects ~510 projects ~160 projects
€25.1m €215.4m €29m €230.7m

Deadlines for all themes

The calls for proposals are continuously open but there are several cut-off dates per year: 18/06/2014
24/09/2014
17/12/2014
09/10/2014
17/12/2014
18/03/2015
17/06/2015
17/09/2015
16/12/2015
18/03/2015
17/06/2015
17/09/2015
16/12/2015

 

 

Need help?

Participant portal

Before submitting your proposal, you can discover and test the submission system and read our guide:

 

 

Disclaimer

The content of this page is for information purposes only. The relevant legal instruments and the text of the call shall take precedence over the information contained in this page. The European Commission or EASME does not accept responsibility for any use made of the information contained therein.

24/07/2014: SME Instrument: 6 lessons learnt from the first evaluation

24/07/2014: SME instrument statistics for the first cut-off date of phase 1 released

26/06/2014: Infographic: Horizon 2020's SME Instrument in a nutshell

19/06/2014: SME instrument celebrates first great success after first cut-off date

Call for expression of interest - Business coaches

Setting up of a list of experts for coaching activities in connection with the SME Instrument

The coaching support will focus on developing organizational capabilities to equip the beneficiaries with the necessary skills to ensure commercial growth based on the company’s SME Instrument project.

The role of the business coaches is to provide business coaching and leadership development support to companies.

Please read carefully the text of call for expression of interest before applying.