On 6 December 2016, the Commission announced it would invest further in innovative companies in the framework of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument.
The SME Instrument is meant for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises that are EU-based or established in a country associated to Horizon 2020 who can receive EU funding and support for innovation projects that will help them grow and expand their activities into other countries.
In this context 58 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 16 countries have been selected for funding in the latest round of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2.
In this second phase of the instrument, each project will receive up to €2.5 million (and €5 million for health projects) to finance innovation activities. The total amount to be distributed between the SMEs working on 51 projects is €80 million.
Overall, Spanish SMEs were the most successful with 13 companies selected for funding, followed by seven Italian SMEs and five SMEs from both Germany and Finland. Most projects are in the field of transport followed by six in the field of ICT.
By 13 October 2016, which is the fourth and last cut-off date for Phase 2 in 2016, the European Commission received 1378 project proposals. Since the launch of the programme on 1st January 2014, 587 SMEs have been selected for funding under Phase 2.
Funding under Phase 2 of the instrument allows companies to invest in innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up and miniaturisation, in addition to developing a mature business plan for their product. The companies will also benefit from 12 days of business coaching. It has already invested in a broad batch of companies. Among them are the UK’s Hybrid Air Vehicles, developer of the world's longest aircraft; Holoxica, another British company, which turns product designs into 3D digital holograms that can be used to view and verify the design without the expense of making a physical model; Spain’s Ecoalf, which makes clothes from marine waste; and DoReMIR, a Swedish start-up which can convert a song into sheet music.
The next cut-off for SME Instrument Phase 2 is 18 January 2017 and an expected 7,500 companies will receive funding from the programme before 2020.
To find out more about the European Commission’s SME instrument, please click here.