The European Commission announced this week the results of the latest round for funding to innovative small and medium-sized companies in member states and associated countries. A total of 246 companies from 24 countries were selected for funding from the SME instrument, a funding mechanism under the EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
In Phase 1 of the funding scheme each company will benefit from a lump sum of €50,000 to create a business plan to commercialize their innovations and bring them faster to the market. They will also receive free coaching and business acceleration services. No co-financing is required in Phase 1.
The companies were selected by teams of four evaluators that rated their projects on criteria related to market impact, technological excellence, and capacity to implement the projects. The Commission is looking for highly innovative projects with a European dimension and the potential to disrupt the market.
The majority of the companies selected for funding are in the field of information and communication technology (ICT), health and engineering. In total, €12.2 million was allocated. Spanish companies were most successful (33), followed by companies from Italy (28), Switzerland (23), Germany (20), France (15), UK (15) and Israel (15). Six Belgian companies received grants.
The Commission explains that Spain and Italy have more SMEs selected for funding because they have far more applications than other countries (323 respectively 343, followed by UK with 142 and Germany with 130). Some countries however have a higher success rate.
In total, the Commission received 2111 applications for the 5 September cut-off date. The next application deadlines for Phase 1 are 7 November 2018 and 13 February 2019.
There is also a Phase 2 of the SME instrument where SMEs can apply for up to €2.5 million (co-financing rate 70 %) to finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up. Companies can apply directly for Phase 2 without first passing Phase 1. Next deadline for Phase 2 is 9 January 2019.
The SME Instrument has a total budget of more than €1.6 billion for 2018-2020.
The Brussels Times