Main funding opportunities

Improving SMEs' access to finance and markets

The Single Market Programme aims to improve SMEs’ access to finance and markets. The programme is managed by the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).

SMEs supporting the EU's energy, transport and digital networks

SMEs are also eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which finances projects related to energy, transport and ICT. The CEF strands are managed by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) and the European Health and Digital Executive Agency (HaDEA).

SMEs in the field of research and innovation

The EU's principal funding programme for research is Horizon Europe, the successor of Horizon 2020. It supports research projects in numerous fields, carried out by organisations or individuals.

SMEs in the European regions

EU Cohesion policy aims to reduce disparities in wealth between Europe’s regions. It focuses on investing in regions, cities and the real economy to stimulate growth and jobs. It addresses climate change and dependence on energy imports, and reduces poverty and social exclusion.

Supporting SMEs is a key priority of cohesion policy. Each EU country is responsible for managing cohesion funding on its own territory.

Supporting SMEs in the agriculture sector

The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) makes funding available to small companies through:

Other funding opportunities for SMEs

  • The European Commission provides grants to support projects or organisations which further the interests of the EU. SMEs and other interested parties can apply by responding to calls for proposals under the EU funding programmes. It also uses public contracts to buy goods and services. The providers are selected through calls for tender.
  • Support for entrepreneurs and businesses is available through a wide range of EU programmes, via local financial institutions. The “Access to finance” portal helps find EU financing for projects such as loans, guarantees, equity funding and many others.
  • The Microfinance Facility of the Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) helps the SME sector by providing loans of up to €25,000 to individuals for setting up or developing a small business.
  • The European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) provides support to SMEs to help them improve their competitiveness, for example through training.
  • The European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) enables SMEs to benefit from higher levels of support as the vast majority of firms in fisheries and aquaculture are SMEs.
  • the LIFE programme for climate action, managed by CINEA, helps companies bring their green products, technologies, services and processes to the market by financing the so-called close-to-market projects
  • Funding opportunities in the field of development