Horizon 2020
The EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation

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Access to risk finance

Under the 'Industrial Leadership' pillar, this specific objective will help companies and other types of organisation engaged in research and innovation (R&I) to gain easier access, via financial instruments, to loans, guarantees, counter-guarantees and hybrid, mezzanine and equity finance.

The concrete goal is to support and facilitate access to sources of debt and equity financing by innovative companies of all sizes and also by research centres and universities, public-private partnerships, special-purpose companies or projects, and joint ventures.

Particular support is required for innovative SMEs (and in some sectors, microenterprises), especially in the start-up phase or after diversifying into new markets. The availability of early-stage and growth-stage equity finance for innovative firms also needs improvement, with better access to finance a must for the concept and proof-of-concept stage of the innovation process. For commercial-scale, first-of-a-kind demonstration plants and their market uptake and wider deployment, a more predictable and stable supply of risk capital is needed: this is a key factor in attracting the public and private input necessary for commercialisation to happen. The availability of debt finance for R&I infrastructures also needs enhancing.


InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators is the name under which the EU promotes a range of debt and equity products and advisory services in order to effectively give a boost to the availability of finance for research and innovation activities in Europe.

InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators consists of a range of tailored products – from guarantees for intermediaries that lend to SMEs to direct loans to enterprises - helping support the smallest to the largest R&I projects in the EU and countries associated to Horizon 2020, the new EU research programme for 2014-20.

InnovFin - EU Finance for Innovators triggered EUR 16.5 billion of investments into Europe's future in 2014-2015

The European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is widening the opportunities for finance for innovation support both under its Infrastructure & Innovation and SME windows. The products under EFSI will be implemented by the European Investment Bank group; more information is available here. In addition, discover what EFSI can mean for research and innovation in Europe by reviewing the presentations at the workshop 'EFSI Boosts Innovation!' of 26 October 2015.

The InnovFin products will also operate in conjunction with those of EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME).

Financial institutions

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) play an important role, as entrusted entities, in implementing each financial instrument facility on behalf of and in partnership with the European Commission.

The European Investment Bank provides loans to medium to larger companies, or guarantees to banks lending to them. It also provides a range of technical assistance and advisory services, in order to help project promoters to make research, development and innovation bankable. In addition, two thematic finance products were launched in 2015, for the support of combating infectious diseases and high-risk energy demonstration projects.

The European Investment Fund provides guarantees to banks lending to small and medium-sized firms and invests in venture capital funds providing start-ups and fast-growing firms with equity.



18/12/2015 - 13:45
European Investment Bank, Luxembourg,

At the "Financing the Circular Economy" conference on 10 December, Wolfgang Burtscher (Deputy Director-General of DG Research and Innovation) signed an amendment to the InnovFin Delegation Agreement that helps circular economy projects and businesses secure funding and supports the realisation of EU climate goals.

Read more

31/03/2015 - 02:00

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Czech Republic will get easier access to risk capital thanks to the new EU-backed loan guarantee facilities under the Horizon 2020 programmes. Two deals signed today by European Investment Fund (EIF) with Komerční banka and Česká spořitelna will allow both Czech banks to enter into new loan agreements with SMEs as well as Small Mid-caps for a total of CZK 6950 million(over €250 million) over the next two years. Read more

Featured Projects

03/07/2014 - 12:55

The Andasol solar power station is Europe's first parabolic trough solar power facility. Andasol will supply environmentally friendly solar power to about 500,000 residents in Spain. The new plant will cut carbon emissions in the region by 450,000t per annum compared with conventional coal-fired power plants. Read more

28/05/2014 - 02:00

Ernesto Morgado SA is the oldest rice-milling company in Portugal. In recent years it has begun to invest heavily in R&D in order to expand its product range. Located in the rice-growing Mondego Valley, Ernesto Morgado has been a player in rice milling since it was set up in 1920. It now employs 55 people. Read more

12/03/2014 - 13:41

The scientific community has expressed an increased need for radiation sources capable of producing ultrashort pulses, with extreme brightness and coherence. Read more


01/04/2015 - 13:30

For three decades, the EU Framework Programmes have been funding breakthroughs across Europe. RTD’s Horizon Magazine looks at the people and events that have helped shape European research policy, taking you behind the scenes during the pivotal moments from the last 30 years of research funding. These articles have been brought together into a special Horizon supplement to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Framework Programmes. Read more

Press Release

13/10/2015 - 18:51

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation said: "Research and innovation are the engines of Europe's progress and vital to addressing today's new pressing challenges like immigration, climate change, clean energy and healthy societies. Over the next two years, €16 billion from Horizon 2020 will support Europe's top scientific efforts, making the difference to citizens' lives." Read more

08/04/2015 - 18:50

Researchers, businesses and innovators from Ukraine will now be able to fully participate in Horizon 2020, the European Union's research and innovation funding programme, on equal terms with EU Member States and other associated countries. Read more

18/07/2014 - 16:51

The European Commission and the European Investment Bank Group (EIB) launched a new generation of EU financial instruments and advisory services to help innovative firms access finance more easily. Read more