Navigation path

eu calender
What's in it for me?
Europe in the UK
The commissioners
EP in the UK
UK SMEs earmarked for EU grants to help them innovate
E-mail this pageE-mail this pagePrintPrint

Published on 24-07-14

Twenty six UK small firms will receive €50,000 (£40,000) each to finance feasibility studies to develop their innovation strategy, as well as benefit from up to three days of business coaching. The SMEs were selected by the European Commission in the first round of grants allocated from the new €3 billion (£2.4bn) SME Instrument, launched under Horizon 2020 to help small firms innovate. Only Spain exceeded the UK's success with 39 projects chosen.

    UK SMEs earmarked for EU grants to help them innovate

    The SME Instrument offers fast and simple grants for business innovation studies (phase 1) and demonstration projects (phase2).  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’. Applications can be submitted at any time but are evaluated four times each year.

    Today's results concern applications received by the first cut-off for phase 1 grants on 18 June 2014. The next cut-off dates for evaluation are 24 September 2014 for phase 1 and 9 October for phase 2.

    Successful applicants will be formally notified in August by the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) which manages the programme.

    Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "The response to the new SME Instrument is encouraging. There is clearly demand out there for this kind of support. We hope many of the business plans being financed will mature to become real products and services, generating growth and jobs for our economies. We want the champions of innovation to grow!" 

    In total, there were 2,666 applications for the first grants, from which 155 SMEs from 21 countries (EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020) were selected.

    Around 645 projects (under Phase 1 and 2) should be funded in 2014, rising to 670 in 2015.


    With a budget of nearly €80 billion (£64bn) over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme and foresees record funding for SMEs. At least 20%, or nearly €9 billion (£7.2bn) from Horizon 2020's 'leadership in industrial technologies' and 'societal challenge' pillars is expected to benefit SMEs directly in the form of grants, including the SME Instrument.

    In addition, the European Commission and European Investment Bank Group are joining forces to encourage banks and other financial intermediaries to lend or provide equity to innovation-driven companies through InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators (IP/14/670). Other companies can find access to finance under COSME (IP/14/851).

    Related Links

    Last update: 25/07/2014  |Top