Did you know that…? 15 facts about the SME Instrument

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15 Facts about the SME Instrument - statistics two first years of Horizon 2020's

Did you know that almost half of the companies applying to the SME Instrument are micro-sized enterprises, that most companies apply for ICT and that Ireland is the most efficient country in getting its proposals funded?

As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission is selecting potentially disruptive businesses to support with the SME Instrument. Small and medium-sized enterprises with a strong growth potential and the ambition to become world-market leaders can receive up to € 2.5 million to fast-track their innovations on the market.

The programme has been running for more than two years now and first results are becoming  clear. So how has the SME Instrument kicked-off? Who are the companies that have been selected? Here are a few facts about the programme.

Since its launch in 2014 the SME Instrument has invested more than € 790 million in over 2000 companies from 36 countries. The programme has attracted more than 20.000 applications and almost 9 out of 10 candidates applied for EU-funding for the first time. This popularity among complete newcomers to EU-funding shows that the programme fulfils a need to support innovation in small companies.

Competition is tough as the success rate is 8% for Phase 1 and 6% for Phase 2. But once they get there, businesses can receive from € 50.000 up to € 2.5 million to finance 70% of their project. In addition, every euro invested is smart money – funded companies get 3 days of business innovation coaching under Phase 1 and 12 days under Phase 2.

So who are these companies that constitute the elite of small business innovation in Europe? Almost a third of the selected companies are start-ups, meaning that they are younger than 3 years. Manufacturing is the most common activity for the businesses and the ICT sector counts the biggest number of applicants and selected companies. 11% of the companies are backed by accelerators and 12% are spin-offs by academia. Spain and Italy count the most selected projects.

What about the results? A first sketch shows that selected companies have attracted 3 times more private investment than before participating to the programme. They have gathered a total of € 692 million in private equity and report benefitting from faster access to markets.

Would you like to test your knowledge about the SME Instrument? Here's a little quiz:

1. Which countries have the most selected projects after Spain and Italy?

2. How many are in the Venture Radar of top 10% growing companies?

3. How much money will the SME Instrument invest in total until 2020?

Check the answers in our factsheet or read the full Report on Catalysing European Innovation during the two first years of the SME Instrument.

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  • Professor Panay... | Thu, 10/11/2016 - 18:10
    Funding Rate

    You cannot consider your program successful if you invest in less than 10% of the proposals submitted. This is the outcome of either rationing of many projects and creating an elite and not a wealthy business environment that promotes EU market competition and/or many bad proposals which means that you should focus on supporting the development of good business proposals. Both reasons means that your program is not successful and efficient unless your goal is to create unequal and limited development of business opportunity!!!

  • Santiago | Fri, 11/11/2016 - 10:30
    I do not agree with your

    I do not agree with your comment. The program is amied at funding excellence in innovation and only the best projects should be financed, otherwise we would be funding not so well prepared business ideas that will more likely turn unsuccesful.
    Only 10% of projects are funded because there are 10 times more applicants than resources available. I do not think that there is an aim of creating any elite. Take into consideration that a high percentage of the proposals do not pass the thresholds. Only about a 30% get above it, if I am not wrong. This means that in fact a 33% of good projects are funded. Hopefully there was enough budget to fund 100% of projects above the threshold, but sadly it is not the case. However, there are additional regional grants for all those projects that have passed the threshold but not received money. Ask your NCP and learn about the Seal of Excellence.

    Best regards,

  • David Willets | Tue, 29/11/2016 - 21:08

    You cannot consider your program successful if you invest in less than 10% of the proposals submitted. https://www.netpal.co.uk/factory/other-models/unlock-alcatel-phone/

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