Commission supports innovative SMEs with €117 million in new grants
Brussels, 9 January 2015
Over 275 innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are on track to receive a total of €117 million in new grants from Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme. These are the latest results of calls under the new €3 billion SME Instrument, launched under Horizon 2020 to help innovative small firms get ideas from the lab to the market and help generate growth and jobs for Europe. This new funding brings the total amount from the SME Instrument so far destined for innovative companies to €125 million.
€108 million for innovation activities and business plans (Phase 2)
The European Commission has selected 78 SMEs from 18 countries to each receive a grant of up to €2.5 million (€5 million for health projects) to finance innovation activities and the development of their business plans. The companies will also be entitled to benefit from up to 12 days of business coaching.
The Commission received 580 project proposals involving 785 SMEs by the first cut-off date of Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument programme Phase 2 (9 October 2014). Evaluation by independent experts showed that 132 of the proposals met the evaluation standard. 45.5% have been selected for funding.
UK companies have been particularly successful in this call, with 10 participants on track to receive over €17 million. They are closely followed by France, the Netherlands and Spain, which actually has the biggest number of single beneficiaries (12).
For a detailed breakdown of the number of beneficiaries in Phase 2 of the SME instrument per country, please see this table.
€9 million for feasibility studies (Phase 1)
Another 199 SMEs from 25 countries, involved in 178 new projects, have been selected in the latest round of under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument. For each project, the participants will receive €50,000 to finance feasibility studies. They can also request up to three days of business coaching.
For this phase, the Commission received 1,944 proposals by the second cut-off date of Phase 1 on 24 September 2014. 237 received an evaluation score above the application threshold and 75% have been selected for funding.
Together with the first selection round earlier this year, Spanish SMEs have been particularly successful in Phase 1 with 71 beneficiaries in total accepted for funding, followed by firms from Italy (58) and the UK (46).
Since the launch of the programme on 1st January 2014, 333 projects involving 361 SMEs have been selected for EU grants under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument, totalling €16.7 million. Together with Phase 2 funding, this amounts to almost €125 million so far from the SME Instrument on track to support innovative companies.
For a detailed breakdown of the number of beneficiaries in Phase 1 of the SME instrument per country, please see this table.
With a budget of nearly €80 billion over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme and envisages record funding for SMEs. At least 20%, or nearly €9 billion from Horizon 2020's 'leadership in industrial technologies' and 'societal challenge' pillars, is expected to benefit SMEs directly in the form of grants, including via the SME Instrument.
Through the SME Instrument, the European Union wants to finance the most innovative small companies with a high growth potential. The Instrument is worth around €3 billion over seven years and offers fast and simple grants for business innovation feasibility studies (Phase 1) and demonstration projects (Phase 2). Investment-mature concepts can, in addition, benefit from business development advice and other support services (Phase 3).
The application process is easy but only the very best projects can expect to receive funding. Eligible topics are set out in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme on ‘Innovation in SMEs’. SMEs from EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020 can apply. In 2014 and 2015 more than 1,300 projects will be supported under the SME Instrument.
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