Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

Innovation in SMEs

Horizon 2020 actively supports SMEs by providing both direct financial support, and indirect support to increase their innovation capacity. 'Innovation in SMEs' aims at creating a bridge between the core of the framework programme - support to research, development and innovation projects - and the creation of a favourable ecosystem for SME innovation and growth.

The objective of ‘Innovation in SMEs’ is to optimise the Research, Development & Innovation environment for SMEs, including through the establishment and facilitation of a range of support services, with the aim of strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs and creating value on the market and/or into society, thus underpinning the Europe2020 strategy for smart, inclusive and sustainable growth.

'Innovation in SMEs' includes actions which provide mostly intermediated support to SMEs. These actions take the form of tailored services and projects (innovation management capacity building, IPR management, etc…), networking and mobilisation actions for innovation service providers and policymakers (i.e. exchange of experience between national innovation agencies); moreover, Horizon 2020 provides direct support to the Enterprise Europe Network, a key player in improving SMEs' access to funding opportunities, for instance by providing brokerage services to SMEs looking for a coach under the European Innovation Council (EIC) SME instrument. 'Innovation in SMEs' funds additional activities intended to support entrepreneurship, internationalisation, and improving access to markets (through the COSME programme).

Furthermore, this challenge supports the second EUREKA/Eurostars Joint Programme Initiative (2014-2020), that provides funding for market-oriented transnational collaborative R&D projects, spearheaded by R&D performing SMEs established in any of the 36 EUREKA Member-States that participate to Eurostars. Eurostars pools together national resources, with the aim of strengthening integration and synchronization of national research programmes contributing to the achievement of a European Research Area.

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