In order to enhance the participation of SMEs in EU innovation programmes, the European Commission has put in place a new funding instrument scheme, the so-called SME Instrument. This instrument is designed to help European enterprises commercialize their innovative solutions.
The SME Instrument falls within a broader EU strategy for an Innovation Union which, among other things, seeks to “ensure stronger involvement of SME in future EU R&I programmes”.
The SME Instrument is part of the “Industrial Leadership” and “Societal Challenges” pillars. Innovative projects using in Key Enabling Technologies, or addressing issues such as food safety, green energy and transport, smart infrastructures, climate action, business model innovation, or e-government, will be funded.
Any SME within the EU or from a Horizon 2020 associated country can apply for this EU grant.
According to the EU definition micro, small and medium-sized enterprises employ fewer than 250 persons and have an annual turnover not higher than € 50 million and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding € 43 million ((Article 2 of the Annex of Recommendation 2003/361/EC).
Applicants have to be highly innovative, be well-established in their domain, have global ambitions, and a clear idea about the commercialisation of their project.
The evaluation of the proposal will consider these three criteria:
The mechanism is divided into three standalone phases: participation in phase 1 is not necessary to apply for phase 2.