Boosting the potential of small businesses in the areas of climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
Innovative SMEs have been recognised as being able to become the engine of the green economy and to facilitate the transition to a resource efficient, climate-smart circular economy. They can play an important role in helping the EU to exit from the economic crises and in job creation. The potential of commercialising innovative solutions from SMEs is however hindered by several barriers including the absence of the proof of concept, the difficulty to access risk finance, the lack of prototyping, insufficient scale-up studies, etc. Growth therefore needs to be stimulated by increasing the levels of innovation in SMEs, covering their different innovation needs over the whole innovation cycle. Innovative SMEs should be supported and guided to reach and accelerate their full green growth potential. This topic is targeted at all types of eco-innovative SMEs in all areas addressing the climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials challenge – including but not restricted to the 2016-2017 strategic priorities of systemic eco-innovation and circular economy, nature-based solutions, climate services, sustainable supply of raw materials, harnessing GEOSS Earth observation data, cultural heritage for sustainable growth, and water – focusing on SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise. All kinds of promising ideas, products, processes, services and business models, notably across sectors and disciplines, for commercialisation both in a business-to-business and a business-to-customer context, are welcome. The SME instrument consists of three phases, including a coaching and mentoring service for beneficiaries. Participants can apply to phase 1 or directly to phase 2.