Register for the 'Supporting clean energy innovations in regions' session at the European Week of Regions and Cities
The 'Supporting clean energy innovations in regions' session, organised by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation in partnership with the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, will take place on 10 October 2018, during the European Week of Regions and Cities.
The session will bring together the applicants behind those Horizon 2020 project proposals that received the “Seal of Excellence” quality label. They will meet with experts from regional and local authorities to discuss funding opportunities, including the existing possibilities or boundaries for synergies between different sources of funding at European and national/regional level. The holders of Seal of Excellence from Horizon 2020 are SMEs and applicants of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions. Although their projects were of high quality, they could not get funding due to lack of sufficient resources under Horizon 2020.
The registration is open until 28 September 2018.
Innovative Enterprise Vienna: Apply for a matchmaking event with investors
The European Commission together with the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council is organising the 'Innovative Enterprise Vienna 2018' event on 21-22 November 2018 in the 'Austria Center Vienna'.
The conference will focus on access to finance for innovative enterprises and Small Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), and will host parallel finance pitching sessions. It will bring together high level policy makers, financial intermediaries, and representatives of R&I and business communities. The Access4SMEs network of Horizon 2020 National Contact Points (NCP) for SMEs will organise a dedicated pitching session, a matchmaking event with investors on 22 November. Seal of Excellence holders (SoE) are invited to register as soon as possible at the EuroQuity platform. The 28 selected SoE companies will be invited to take the floor at the pitching session, and the 8 most promising scale-ups will come with their current investor to find investors for the next round of funding (series B).
Have your say: Short survey on possible IP support for 'Seal of Excellence' SMEs
Intellectual property can improve competitiveness of enterprises, even if it's a very small enterprise. It may help find financing for innovative ideas or ask for a higher price for innovative products and services. As a SME, you may find it expensive to protect what is yours. That is why the European Commission is developing tools and services to support innovative SMEs in the area of intellectual property and help you benefit from your intangible assets.
The European Commission is launching a survey to see if 'Seal of Excellence' SMEs would find access to an intellectual property pre-diagnostic service beneficial. To give us your feedback, please take a few minutes and participate in a short survey before 10 September.
Thank you in advance for your contribution to the development of EU policies.
Funding available for Seal of Excellence holders in Slovakia
The Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic (MoE SR) has launched a call for SMEs that have received at least 12 points in the SME Instrument of Horizon 2020 and have not yet received funding from the European Commission. For the first time, Slovak SMEs have a chance to receive a flat rate of €50.000 to prepare a feasibility study and to prepare a proposal for Phase 2 of the SME Instrument.
The MoE SR has recently announced several calls for applications for a non-repayable financial contribution aimed at supporting the involvement of SMEs in EU programs, namely:
Call OPVaI-MH/DP/2018/3.2.1-18, aimed at supporting the involvement of SMEs outside the Bratislava Region in the EU programmes (750.000 EUR)
Call OPVaI-MH/DP/2018/4.1.1-19, aimed at supporting the involvement of SMEs in the Bratislava region in the EU programmes (500.000 EUR)
Links for the calls (in Slovak only)
Join the 'Access4SMEs – Seal of Excellence' platform to find investors
The recently launched 'Access4SMEs – Seal of Excellence' online community on the EuroQuity.com platform is gathering high-potential companies with project proposals that received the Seal of Excellence, offering them opportunities to find European investors. The free platform offers online pitching sessions, thematic business webinars and events, finding business opportunities and boosting companies' reputation and visibility.
Moreover, Seal of Excellence holders will have possibility to reach out to European business angels networks, venture capitalists, corporate investors and new business partners across Europe.
Boost visibility and find funding for your project: Publish it on the EIPP
The European Commission's Investment Project Portal (EIPP) has been established as part of the Juncker’s investment Plan to promote investment projects, investment possibilities in the European Union and to enable projects to reach potential investors worldwide.
By registering on the Portal your project will be visible to a growing network of international investors, including the EIB, the World Bank, the European Business Angels Network and the European Startup Network which can directly contact you. You will also be invited to the e-pitching sessions and to matchmaking events with investors. The submission is done online by uploading your SoE certificate, is now free of charge and can be submitted in all EU official languages.
Funding available for Seal of Excellence holders in Poland
Seal of Excellence holders for Phase 1 based in Poland can now apply for co-funding from Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. The same categories of costs are considered eligible as in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 1. There will be only eligibility assessment and no content evaluation, as the previous evaluation by the European Commission will be taken into account.
The grant of 210.000 PLN is intended to support the further development of the business plan and related feasibility activities. Deadline for application is 5 June 2018.
- The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (in Polish)
10 Seal of Excellence companies selected to pitch online to investors
BPI France, a public investment bank that supports entrepreneurs, is organising an online pitch for 10 Seal of Excellence companies selected from about 500 Seal SMEs. The event takes place on Wednesday 25 October at 5pm CET. Each company will be given 5 minutes for their pitch. The solicited investment ranges from €750.000 to €4.5m and topics include IT, energy storage, smart building, transport and digital health. Would you like to have a chance to pitch to investors in the future? Join the Access4SMEs online community now.
Register now for guaranteed participation in Startup Olé 2018
The second 'Seal of Excellence Companies Meetup' is taking place from 17 to 19 April 2018 at Startup Olé in Salamanca, Spain. Our partners at Startup Olé are offering automatically confirmed access to the startup fair, catered networking and a pitching session exclusively held for Seal of Excellence SMEs. We are also organising a Seal of Excellence workshop where you can find out the latest developed support actions. The participation cost of €66 covers 2-day catering for 2 people. Please confirm your participation via the registration form mentioning SoE in the 'recommended by' field before October 31st for guaranteed access.
Open call for SME Instrument Phase 1 Seal holders in Italian Lombardia Region
The Region of Lombardy renewed its scheme for SME Instrument Phase 1 Seal of Excellence holders who were awarded between the September 2016 and September 2017 cut-off. SMEs can apply under the regional R&I Call Innodriver (Misura B), submitting the same Horizon 2020 SME Instrument proposal, the Seal certificate and the Evaluation Summary Report provided by the European Commission.
New call for applications for Slovenian MSCA Seal of Excellence holders
The Slovenian Research Agency invites national research institutions that had participated in the MSCA-IF-2016 call evaluation procedure and acquired a score of 85% or more to apply for co-funding of their projects. The Slovenian call foresees a co-financing of 6 research projects, starting from 1 January 2018. Using its own funds, the Agency will support the leading researchers of the selected projects for a period of two years.
- More information (The deadline for submission of applications is 16 October 2017)
Amsterdam Matchmaking event for Seal of Excellence SMEs in Sustainable Urban Mobility
27 September 2017, CapitalFest will bring together top-notch founders, investors and corporates in Amsterdam. Register now to be selected for 1:1 matchmaking with international investors and attend invite-only break-out sessions organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport, with representatives from BMW Startup Garage, Mastercard and Rotterdam Mobility Lab as well as public authorities. A limited number of 50% discount tickets are available for Seal of Excellence holders. Please contact Linda van Duivenbode for more information.
New Call for Applications for SME Instrument Phase 2 Seal of Excellence holders in Slovenia
Seal of Excellence holders for Phase 2 based in Slovenia can now apply for co-funding by executive agency Spirit. The same categories of costs are considered eligible as in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2. There will be no re-evaluation as only previous assessment by the European Commission will be taken into account. First deadline for submission is at the end of this month (29 September 2017), with two more calls closing 12 September 2018 and 12 September 2019.
- More information (in Slovenian)
Open call for MSCA Seal of Excellence holders in the Czech Republic
The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic has published a new call for proposals for Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowships Seal of Excellence holders (2015 & 2016; European Fellowships only). The call supports 'International Mobility of researchers' i.e. researchers going from the Czech Republic to foreign research organisations and vice versa researchers from foreign research organisations coming to the Czech Republic. Applicants can be of any nationality and need to apply through their home (outgoing) or host (incoming) institution before 1 December 2017.
- More information (in Czech)
Attend the Seal of Excellence workshop at Startup Olé 27 April
If you are attending Startup Olé in Salamanca between 25 and 27 April this week, make sure to come say hi to the Seal of Excellence team! We have a booth at the Startup Fair and are organising a workshop from 11h to 14h on Thursday 27 April in Sala Menor. In the workshop we will address opportunities for Seal of Excellence holders, present an upcoming scheme for Seal of Excellence holders in Junta de Castilla y León and give you a chance to share your Seal of Excellence experience with us, investors and other SMEs.
Commission awards the Seal of Excellence to 2300 researchers
The Commission has today awarded, for the first time, Seal of Excellence certificates to more than 2 300 researchers in recognition of their high-quality research proposals under the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Actions. These are being awarded to all researchers whose MSCA Individual Fellowship proposals in 2016 had a score of 85% or above but could not be funded due to the highly-competitive nature of the MSCA programme.
Funding available for Seal of Excellence holders in Asturias
SMEs who received the Seal of Excellence for Phase 1 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and are based in the Spanish Region of Asturias can now apply for a regional grant. The grant will partially finance the requested budget but no more than €50 000 euros. The ceiling for the co-financing rate on eligible expenditure is 75%. Applications are open until 2 May 2017
National scheme for SME Instrument - phase 1 holders in the Czech Republic
First call for SME Instrument - phase 1 Seal of Excellence holders from the Czech Republic to apply for funding. The Technology agency of the Czech Republic will finance projects in the frame of the GAMA programme with a maximum of 55% of the total costs. Seal of Excellence holders from the 2016 cut-off dates and the first 2017 cut-off date are eligible. The call closes on 2 May 2017.
Present your Seal of Excellence experience at Start Up Olé in Salamanca, Spain
Are you a Seal of Excellence SME that managed to get alternative funding (i.e. private, national, regional, etc.) with your Seal of Excellence certificate? We are looking for three Seal of Excellence SMEs, either Phase 1 or Phase 2, that would like to share their positive experience and tips to find funding with other Seal of Excellence holders.
Are you a Seal of Excellence SME that would like to attend Start Up Olé and have an opportunity to pitch to investors, network and present your business? We also have limited FREE spaces available for Seal of Excellence holders who wish to participate in the Start Up Fair and represent their business with a booth. Start Up Olé is taking place in Salamanca, Spain on 26 & 27 April 2017.
Funding available for Seal of Excellence holders in Italian Marche Region
SMEs who received the Seal of Excellence for Phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and are based in the Italian Marche Region can now apply for a regional grant. The project needs to be in line with the regional Smart Specialisation strategy, has to start 30 days after the funding request and the duration should not exceed 24 months in total. Applications open on 2 May 2017 at 9am.
Win an award for 'Smart Specialisation for SME Innovation' in the 2017 RegioStars Awards
Seal of Excellence holders are invited to apply for the 'Smart Specialisation for SME Innovation' category in the 2017 RegioStars Awards. RegioStars Awards identify good practices in regional development and are given to original, attractive and innovative projects that inspire other regions. Submit your project with the endorsement of the responsible Managing Authority or let your regional or local Managing Authority know that you wish to participate. Deadline for applications: 10 April 2017.
Commission Staff Working Document on the application of State Aid Rules to schemes supporting the Seal of Excellence
This note explains the General Block Exemption Regulation in relation to public support schemes for projects that received the Seal of Excellence. It is particularly interesting for ESI Funds managing authorities, members of the Expert Group on ESIF (EGESIF) and other public national and regional funding bodies.
New Call for Proposals for Seal of Excellence holders in Slovenia
SME Instrument Phase 1 Seal of Excellence holders located in Slovenia can now apply for a €35,000 lump sum to co-finance their feasibility study. At least 30 feasibility studies should be co-financed. The first round for applications closes in a little over a week (13 January 2017), followed by three more deadlines: 15 May 2017, 2018 and 2019.
More information (in Slovenian):
Financial aid for Seal of Excellence holders from Madrid
The Community of Madrid is granting financial aid for Seal of Excellence holders from Phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. Monobeneficiary Seal of Excellence holders who did not yet receive funding in the regional priority areas i.e. nanotechnology, advanced materials, industrial and space technologies; health, biotechnology, water and agri-food; energy, environment and transport (including aeronautics) and ICT. This aid is funded by the ESI Funds and will be available until funds run out.
- Portal del ciudadano (in Spanish)
Business Support Opportunity for Seal of Excellence Holders
Young Seal of Excellence start-ups are invited to apply for the German Climate-KIC accelerator to receive support for developing their business. The Seal of Excellence standard would be favoured in the applicant review process as it indicates the high quality level. The start-ups should have a commercially viable and scalable business model with a clear and demonstrable climate impact. Support is provided to high-tech, young start-ups in the fields of renewable energy, resource and energy efficiency, mobility or other green sectors. They should be looking to test their business model, find their first customers and get investment ready.
Application deadline is 6 February 2017. The programme starts in April 2017.
The Seal of Excellence now also for Teaming Phase 2 and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
On 23 November Carlos Moedas, the Commissioner for Research & Innovation, announced the expansion of the Seal of Excellence to Teaming Phase 2 in Horizon 2020. More good news was announced during the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) by Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport. MSCA proposals which passed the quality threshold and missed out on funding, will now also receive the Seal of Excellence certificate! This quality label will assist these proposals in the path to finding alternative funding.
Opportunities for Seal of Excellence Phase 2 proposals in Regione Piemonte with ERDF Regional Programme (Structural Funds)
Regione Piemonte published a call for proposals which includes among others funding for Seal of Excellence SME Instrument Phase 2 proposals. The call is launched in the framework of the Regional Operational Programme co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and supports experimental development and industrial research projects submitted by companies associated to the Piedmont Innovation Clusters.
More information (in Italian)
New series of workshops for Polish Seal of Excellence holders, apply now!
The Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) is organising a series of workshops in November and December 2016 for Polish Seal of Excellence holders who submitted to Phase I of the SME Instrument. This scheme is developed under the Policy Lab which is a part of the inno_LAB project, recently launched in the partnership with the Polish Ministry of Economic Development.
More information & Applications: Ms. Dorota Fraczek or call: +48 22 4328350
Call for applications: 30.000€ voucher scheme for Seal of Excellence holders in Lombardy
The Region of Lombardy issued a call for granting 30.000€ vouchers to those SMEs who received the Seal of excellence under Phase I of the SME Instrument. These SMEs are encouraged to apply under the regional Research & Innovation Call 2016 (i.e. Bando Ricerca e Innovazione 2016 – Misura C), submitting the same SME Instrument - Horizon 2020 proposal, and the Seal of Excellence and Evaluation Summary Report provided by the European Commission. The proposal will not be re-evaluated but will have to comply with the criteria set in the call. The voucher is granted to develop the business plan and prepare to submit to Phase 2.
More information (in Italian)
Save the date! Business to Investors event for Seal of Excellence holders in Lombardy
Seal of excellence holders from Lombardy have the opportunity to pitch their projects to potential investors, find partners, participate in workshops and bring their innovations to market. The event is free of charge and takes place on 21 November at the headquarters of the Lombardy region in Milan, Italy.
More information & registration firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 02 60744549/521
'Seal of Excellence' one year on: over 3000 SMEs benefit
Since its launch in October 2015, more than 3000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) received the Seal of Excellence, the EU's quality label marking first-class innovative ideas worthy of investment. The initiative was announced exactly a year ago by Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, and Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, at the European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels.
First steps of Seal implementation in Germany
The European Investment Fund states that the Seal of Excellence proofs SMEs to be innovative. It also qualifies them as a potential beneficiary for InnovFin-supported financing products. This means that companies with the Commission's Seal of Excellence can apply for the InnovFin SME guarantee Facility. The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility will be set up by eligible local banks, leasing companies, guarantee institutions, etc. which are selected after the launch of a Call for Expression of Interest. Once selected by the EIF, these local partners act as financial intermediaries.
New Seal of Excellence working group by French Clusters to support SMEs
The French Association of Innovative Clusters (AFPC) recently launched a working group on the Seal of Excellence. The AFPC represents the interests of more than 50 clusters and their members to French and European authorities. The Seal of Excellence working group will investigate alternative funding possibilities for their SME members, help them navigate the funding landscape and stay involved in European projects. Afterwards, the French working group will be happy to share its findings and create exchanges with other European intermediary bodies interested in the implementation of the Seal of Excellence.
Seal of Excellence holders from Czech Republic's South Moravian region invited to apply to SME Instrument Brno programme
Brno City Municipality invites Seal of Excellence holders who submitted to Phase 1 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument and who are located in the Czech Republic's South Moravian region, to apply the SME Instrument Brno programme. Successful applicants will receive a grant of €50,000 in addition to business coaching. This will help them develop feasibility studies and create a market validation plan.
Welcome to our newly revamped website
Our website received a facelift! We made it easier for you to navigate so you can quickly find what you are looking for. Information on the Seal of Excellence has been reshuffled into four different categories and is tailored to both recipients of the Seal as well as authorities looking to fund awarded projects. On the testimonials page you can read stories from our frontrunners that have implemented Seal-friendly support schemes in their regions or Member States. We are always looking for success stories and 'seal' friendly schemes to promote, let us know and you might get featured on the website! You can also engage on Twitter by using the #sealofexcellence.
Opportunity for Seal of Excellence holders to present project to potential investors
Startup Olé, co-organised by the European Commission, connects tech/digital talent with corporates, investors, accelerators, universities and media from all over Europe. Activities include a startup fair, panel sessions, pitches, an accelerator assembly, matchmaking events and networking opportunities. You can apply now to take part in the European pitch session. If you are selected you will also have the opportunity to participate in the Startup Fair and present your projects to investors, potential customers and public.
Startup Olé takes place on 7 & 8 September 2016 in Salamanca, Spain
Apply to present your SME/startup
More information & registration
Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs published call to co-fund Seal of Excellence Phase 2 proposals with ESIF (Structural Funds)
The Italian Ministry of Economic Affairs published a call for proposals last week which includes among others funding for Seal of Excellence SME Instrument Phase 2 proposals. The funding is reserved to SME Instrument proposals which have received the Seal of Excellence, i.e. a quality label awarded to project proposals submitted for funding under Horizon 2020, which succeeded in passing all the stringent selection and award criteria but could not be funded under the available Call budget. The current call will only fund the proposals submitted to Phase 2 of the SME Instrument. Eligible proposals are the ones which have been submitted by SMEs located in less developed regions (Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia e Sicilia) and regions in transition (Abruzzo, Molise e Sardegna). The call is launched in the framework of the Operational Programme Competitiveness which is co-funded by the European Structural and Investments Funds (ESIF).
Seal of Excellence implementation continues in Spain
HorizontePYME's evaluation of proposals submitted for the call in May 2016 is almost finished. The preliminary results will be published by the end of this month (July 2016). 136 Seal of Excellence proposals in Phase I have already been supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.
Hungarian calls for proposals for Seal of Excellence holders
The Hungarian National Research, Development and Innovation Office aim at supporting Seal of Excellence awarded proposals submitted to the first phase of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument.
French innovation advisors believe in the Seal of Excellence
The French 'Association des Conseils en Innovation', representing 70 advisors committed to enhance innovation, is organising a large conference devoted to the implementation of regional innovation strategies and the Seal of Excellence initiative. It will encourage policymakers to actively implement the Seal of Excellence initiative with full support of consultant organisations who can play a major role in supporting regions and cities from a European perspective. Sharing experiences between numerous public and private partners acting in French regions and cities is therefore welcomed. The conference is organised in cooperation with the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region and will take place in Lyon on the 28th of June.
Presentations of the conference (in French)
More info & Programme (in French)
Successful 3rd meeting of the 'Seal' community of practice in Brussels
On Monday 23rd of May the Seal of Excellence Community of Practice met for the third time in Brussels. 35 participants from thirteen Member States and two Horizon2020 Associated countries European countries (representing national and regional level) exchanged experiences, discussed the current state of play, implementation modalities and put forward ideas for the future development of the Seal of Excellence together with the Commission (i.e. DG RTD, DG REGIO and DG COMP).
A number of countries and regions already put funding schemes in place to support 'seal' proposals and other new support schemes will follow soon.
It was also announced that the Seal of Excellence website will soon be revamped to better help ‘seal’ proposals and ‘funding bodies’ to find each other, and the #sealofexcellence was promoted to further build presence in the Twittersphere.