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EU helps SMEs innovate with dual-use technologies

See how a Danish drone company expanded their product offering with the help of the European Commission in a new video. Thanks to the Horizon 2020 programme, this SME was able to move beyond the military market and offer their products to a civilian market too, making them a dual-use company.

date:  13/10/2017

Danish SME (small and medium-sized enterprise), Sky-Watch, was able to create new applications of drones for consumers using  IoT (Internet of Things) technology.

Dual-use technologies are innovations from the defence industry that are repurposed and simultaneously made available to other markets, or vice versa. The EU is committed to supporting developments in this field. To this end, a publication on successful EU funded SMEs in dual use technology was released in September (available in 7 languages).

SMEs working in dual-use can get access to finance from the EU in several ways. The new video on EU SMEs in dual use technology, also includes information on the EU financing tools available.

The Chief Business Development Officer of Sky-Watch, Michael Messerschmidt, outlines the benefits of such tools, “Getting EU funding enables you both to get funding for high-risk projects which you cannot get funded through capital investments. It also gets you a European network, which can help to open markets, get new partnerships outside your normal partners”.


The 3 main relevant EU funding instruments are:

  • Horizon 2020 for funding the civil application of projects with dual-use potential
  • ESIF for technology transfers, prototyping, innovation uptake, and other steps that help a business diversify or migrate from one sector to another
  • COSME for cooperation between clusters and building partnerships

The Commission is improving stakeholder cooperation and access to EU funding in the dual-use area through the European Network of Defence-related Regions. Launched in 2016, the network brings together regional authorities, clusters and business. They share best practices in building dual-use strategies and accessing EU funds.

More information  
Defence-related SMEs
European Network of Defence-related Regions
Access to finance