You may have heard of Horizon2020. The SME instrument is part of this, and it is specifically aimed at internationally oriented SMEs.
Many entrepreneurs fear their technologies will not reach the international market due to a lack of financial resources. The SME instrument encourages SMEs to join the international market. The scheme provides financial support for the development of innovative solutions and the search for new markets.
The pillars of this scheme are industrial leadership and societal challenges (see also Horizon 2020). SME projects should fit within certain sectors and these are identified in a call for proposals. This call not only indicates the type of project, but also outlines the assessment criteria and further formal requirements needed to apply.
Who is the SME instrument for?
The SME subsidy scheme is for SMEs that want to achieve growth. This includes innovative and internationally oriented SMEs. The tool helps entrepreneurs to market a self-developed technology. Applications can be submitted individually or in collaboration with other SMEs.
Which projects are eligible?
The SME instrument consists of two phases:
- Feasibility study
To find out the commercial feasibility of a project, you can apply for funding for a feasibility study. This phase is aimed at entrepreneurs who want to explore the European market to scale up their innovation.
- Execute business plan
This phase is aimed at innovative scale-ups who want to scale up and bring a new product or service to the European market. The duration of such a project is 12 to 24 months and a maximum of 70% of the project costs are reimbursed.
How much is the subsidy?
In a feasibility study, up to €50,000 per project is reimbursed. For a demonstration project, companies can receive a subsidy of €500,000 to €2.5 million per application. The budget for the period 2018-2020 is more than €1.5 billion.
What are the conditions?
The conditions and specific requirements of a project are described in the call for proposals. When assessing applications, the following is taken into account:
- Excellence of innovation (with required risk)
- Commercial potential (the business case)
- Economic impact
- The potential of the team to achieve goals (management & planning)
When is the deadline?
A project application can be submitted at any time for each phase. This scheme works with a continuous open call. Therefore, the call for proposals does not have a fixed deadline.
Would you like to request or opt for an intermediary?
Applying for the SME instrument is a time consuming process. Working with an intermediary can therefore offer a solution. We are happy to help you consider how your project fits in with the Horizon 2020 SME program. Thanks to our many years of experience in financing innovation, we are also perfectly capable of translating your innovation plans into the language of the European Commission.
Curious about the opportunities for your company?
Ask your questions to consultant, Frank André Becker, an expert in the field of international financing arrangements. He is more than happy to advise you!