The European Commission will invest a total of €86 million coming from new Horizon 2020 grants in 236 innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 31 countries. These are the latest results of calls under the €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 in Europe. This latest round brings the total number of companies funded by the SME Instrument so far to 2116, with more than € 694,8 million in EU grants.
€77.7 million for innovation activities and business plans (Phase 2)
Out of the €86 million, €77.7 million will be given to 58 highly innovative SMEs from 16 countries under Phase 2 of the scheme – in which SMEs will further develop their submitted proposal in Phase 1 of the scheme through innovation activities. Each project, 48 in total, will receive between €0.5 and €2.5 million (€5 million for health projects) to bring their product from pilot-phase to the market. They can also ask for up to 12 days of free business coaching.
The European Commission received 961 proposals under Phase 2 by the cut-off date of 14 April 2016.
UK companies have been particularly successful in this call with 13 projects. They are closely followed by Spain (11), and Italy (9). Most of the projects funded will be in the area of ICT (9) and transport (9) followed by low-carbon energy systems (8).
Since the launch of the programme on 1st January 2014, 373 projects involving 464 SMEs have been selected for EU grants under Phase 2 of the SME Instrument, totalling more than €619.5 million.
€8.3 million for feasibility studies (Phase 1)
Another 166 projects involving 178 SMEs from 28 countries have been selected in the latest round of under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument. Each project will receive €50,000 to finance feasibility studies for new products that can disrupt the market. They can also request up to three days of free business coaching. The SMEs will receive €8.3 million in total for this cut-off.
The European Commission received 1975 proposals under Phase 1 for the 3 May 2016 cut- off.
Spain ranks first, with 32 projects selected for funding, followed by Britain (23) and Italy (22). Most projects will be funded in the area of ICT (30) followed by transport (22) and low-carbon energy systems (22).
Since the launch of the programme on 1st January 2014, 1652 SMEs have been selected under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument and shared almost € 75.3 million.
With a budget of €77 billion over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the biggest 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).
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. The next cut-off is 07 September 2016 for Phase 1 and 13 October 2016 for Phase 2.