The former SME Instrument is now undergoing some changes as part of the EIC Accelerator Pilot for the deadline on 9 October 2019, so it's time to take a closer look at the success of the SME Instrument since its first deadline:

EIC Innovation Kitchen Report
Source: EU, Innovation Kitchen Report, August 2019

How many applicants are there?
The figures speak for themselves - with 4,400 to 6,000 applications each year, the SME Instrument is one of the most attractive funding programmes worldwide. This means that around 1,100 to 1,500 companies apply for each of the four deadlines per year.
The competition is correspondingly tough: only 4-5% of the applicants can look forward to receiving funding of up to €2.5 million at the end of the year, which puts them in the SME Champions League in Europe. Of course, we are particularly pleased that a company we work with has made it into the top 4 "Deep Tech Companies".

EIC Innovation Kitchen Report
Source: EU, Innovation Kitchen Report, August 2019

What about the subsidies?
So far, 1.9 billion € in subsidies have already been distributed to SMEs from 39 countries. Another €3 billion is to be added by 2021.

Who is applying?
Overall, the percentage of start-ups applying for funding is growing. Since the SME instrument was launched, the number has almost doubled. Meanwhile 59% of the applicants are start-ups (less than 10 employees, maximum 5 years old). In general, most companies come from the "Health", "Energy" and "Enterprise Software" sectors.


Who evaluates the applications?
In the first step, the winners are selected by 2,400 reviewers who evaluate the written proposal. In each case, 4 reviewers from appropriate fields evaluate one proposal. Whoever has cleared this hurdle is invited to travel to Brussels and pitch in front of a jury. The jury is made up of experts from different fields such as venture capital or innovation, but also industry experts, entrepreneurs or business angels.

And after funding?
Anyone who has been able to succeed in the SME instrument can continue to benefit from this official EU quality stamp after funding has ended: In total, the companies have received a further €3 billion in follow-up investments after the programme. This means that every euro from the funding pot has brought the companies €2.34 in private follow-up investments.

EIC Innovation Kitchen
Source: EU, Innovation Kitchen Report, August 2019


You can view and download the official "Innovation Kitchen" report here for free!

 You would like to know whether your company is also suitable for an application in the EIC Accelerator? Then get in touch with us!


Stefan Durm

Your contact person
Stefan Durm

Do you want to learn more about the topic?

I have been successfully involved in international projects for about 10 years. I have designed and coordinated international research consortia as well as (co-)developed and successfully implemented more than 50 business plans for highly innovative deep-tech start-ups. To keep sharpening my knowledge, I am a founding member of the European Association of Innovation Consultants (EAIC) and represent EurA there.This makes me a very good first point of contact for questions about international funding projects.
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