European Innovation Council pilot to support 257 SMEs with €13 million
The EU will support 257 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 31 countries, including a company from Ukraine, who aim to get their innovations faster to the market. The companies have been selected in the latest round of the SME Instrument, which is part of the recently launched European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. The funding of €12.65 million in total comes from Horizon 2020, the EU research and innovation programme.
Examples of the projects selected to receive EU funding include solar street lights, software that uses augmented reality to help industrial plants monitor their production chain, a diagnosis tool for sleep apnoea, an innovative mobile payment technology, a custom-made paint vending machine and a wrapping machine for sustainable packaging.
In this phase of the SME Instrument (the so-called Phase 1), each project will receive €50 000 to draft a business plan. There are 253 projects in total as several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also get three days of free coaching and business acceleration services.
Most companies selected for funding work in the field of health, engineering and information and communication technology (ICT). Most companies are based in Spain (45), Italy (28) and Israel (23).
The European Commission received 2009 proposals for this first Phase 1 cut-off of the SME Instrument this year. The next application deadline for SME Instrument Phase 1 is in May 2018.
Companies can apply for two distinct phases under the SME Instrument, depending on the maturity of their innovation. Under Phase 1 of the SME Instrument each project will receive a lump-sum of €50.000 to carry out a feasibility study. Under Phase 2, each project will receive from €0.5 to €2.5 million to finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up. Applicants can request higher amounts if duly justified in their application. There is no direct link between the two phases, therefore companies receiving funding from Phase 1 are not automatically entitled to enter Phase 2.