LATEST NEWS: The EIC programme has moved its first two cut-off deadlines in 2022 from April 6th to March 23rd, and from June 1st to June 15th. A short application MUST be approved before a full application can be submitted. Recently, the EIC has spent 2-3 weeks evaluating short applications. 

The EIC Accelerator funding programme is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC), who aims to identify and support breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations to create new markets and scale up internationally. The ambition of the program is to create the next unicorns (growth companies valued at more than €1bn).

What is the EIC Accelerator?

The program supports game-changing innovation.

The programme is targeted at enterprises with: 

  • High-impact innovative products, services or business models that could create new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and even worldwide
  • The ambition and commitment to scale up
  • A need for substantial funding but the risks involved are too high for private investors alone to invest

The program is very attractive in terms of grant amount (up to €15m) and funding rate (70% plus 25% overhead, in practice 87.5% of actual expenses). 

Who can apply?

The EIC Accelerator is designed for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with radically new ideas underpinned by a business plan for rolling out marketable innovation solutions and with ambitions to scale up. It targets for-profit SMEs only, including young companies and start-ups, from any sector.

Large corporates, research centers or scientists cannot apply directly, but they can participate in projects as subcontractors or third parties and don’t need to be established in an EU Member State or associated country.

Any start-up and small and medium-sized enterprise that is established in one of the EU Member States or is established in a Horizon Europe Associated Country can receive EU funding and support.

What type of support can a project apply for?

The EIC provides grant-only support or blended finance (grant in combination with equity investment). 

How much funding can a project apply for?

The EIC Accelerator offers small and medium-sized businesses the following:

  • Business innovation grants for innovation development & demonstration purposes: an amount in the indicative range of €500,000 to €2.5 million (70% of total cost of the project as a general rule)
  • Equity of up to €15 million
  • Free-of-charge business coaching (optional) in order to support and enhance the firm’s innovation capacity and help align the project to strategic business needs;
  • Access to a wide range of other business acceleration services and facilitated access to risk finance, to facilitate the commercial exploitation of the innovation.

What are the evaluation criteria?

All proposals are evaluated based on three award criteria:

  • Excellence: Technological feasibility (TRL 5/6 or higher), IPR, timing, degree of novelty 
  • Impact: scale-up potential, financial needs, market analysis including competitive analysis, commercialization strategy, key partners, broader impact
  • Level of risk, implementation, and need for Union support: team, clear implementation plan, high investment risk, market risks assessed and mitigated

How does the application process work?

The EIC Accelerator application process is divided into steps.  

  1. Short application – can be submitted any time
  2. Full application – 2 or 3 deadlines a year
  3. Face to face interview with an EIC jury

Step 1: You must register on the EU’s Funding and Tenders Portal. On the portal, different sections are filled in with details about your innovation, your market potential, your team, company information etc. and a pitch-deck of maximum 10 slides and a presentation video of maximum 3 minutes are attached.

If your short application receives a GO (normally within 4 weeks), you can submit a Full application within a year.

Step 2: The full application will also be submitted on the Portal and will e.g. include a detailed business plan, full information on company finances and structure and a set of milestones to for the EIC to manage the funding

If your short application receives a GO, you will be invited to a face-to-face interview.

The maximum delay to inform applicants will be 4 months from the date of the cut-off. The indicative date for the signing of grant agreements is maximum 6 months from the date of the corresponding cut-off.

For full details on the evaluation procedure read the guidelines for applicants on the Horizon Funding and Tender Portal.

Can a project be resubmitted if unsuccessful?

Yes, your EIC Accelerator application can be resubmitted.

Is the EIC Accelerator part of Horizon Europe?

Yes. For more information please visit Horizon Europe.