Fund title: Horizon 2020: innovation in SMEs
Focus of fund/fund aims:
To support early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises and improve innovation capacity
Horizon 2020 actively supports small businesses by providing direct financial support to innovative SMEs and indirect support to increase their innovation capacity.
The ‘SME instrument’
SMEs are encouraged to participate across the whole Horizon 2020 (research & innovation) programme. They can engage in collaborative projects as part of a consortium but there is also a new dedicated SME instrument designed specifically for innovative smaller companies.
The SME instrument targets highly innovative SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech and research-driven or non-research conducting, social or service companies. It provides easy access with simple rules and procedures.
Support is provided in three different stages covering the whole innovation cycle. Successful completion of one stage will allow an SME to move on to the next:
Phase 1: Concept and feasibility assessment – lump sum up to €50,000
Phase 2: R&D, demonstration – reimbursement up to 70% €0.5-2.5m
Phase 3: Commercialisation – no direct funding but facilitated access to debt and equity financial instruments as well as other support
A comprehensive package of support is available through Enterprise Europe Network South West to help businesses access the Horizon 2020 programme, including the SME instrument.
Innovation support to SMEs
For 2016/17, Horizon 2020 will fund innovation support to SMEs through specific activities, including:
- cluster-facilitated projects for new industrial value chains
- European SME innovation associate
- improving access to advanced manufacturing technologies for clean production
- creating an online ‘challenge platform’ to facilitate social innovation
- peer learning of innovation agencies
- analysis of innovating SMEs to better understand innovation support requirements
- better access to industrial technologies developed overseas
More information at: For a better innovation support to SMEs