Horizon 2020 SME Instrument offers business innovation grants to small- and medium-sized businesses underpinned by a sound and strategic business plan.

At 1st Mile, many of our customers apply for Horizon 2020 SME Instrument.

Horizon 2020 SME Instrument

The SME Instrument offers small and medium-sized businesses the following:

  • Business innovation grants for feasibility assessment purposes (optional phase I): EUR 50,000 (lump sum) per project (70% of total cost of the project);
  • Business innovation grants for innovation development & demonstration purposes (possible phase II): an amount in the indicative range of EUR 500,000 and 2,5 million (70% of total cost of the project as a general rule);
  • 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.

Phase 1: Feasibility Assessment (To be phased out in 2019)

Funding is available for: exploring and assessing the technical feasibility and commercial potential of a breakthrough innovation that a company wants to exploit and commercialize.

  • Amount of funding: lump sum of €50,000 (per project, not per participating business).
  • Duration: typically around 6 months
  • Outcome: The outcome of a phase 1 project is a feasibility study (technical and commercial), including a business plan

Should the conclusion of the study be that the innovative concept has the potential to be developed to the level of investment readiness/market maturity, but requires additional funding in view of commercialisation, the SME can apply for Phase 2 support.

Phase 2: Innovation Project

Funding is available for: innovation projects underpinned by a sound and strategic business plan (potentially elaborated and partially funded through phase 1 of the SME Instrument).

Activities funded in phase 2 can be of several types: prototyping, miniaturisation, scaling-up, design, performance verification, testing, demonstration, development of pilot lines, validation for market replication, including other activities aimed at bringing innovation to investment readiness and maturity for market take-up.

  • Amount of funding: in the indicative range of €500,000 – € 2.5 million or more (covering up to 70% of eligible costs).
  • Duration: typically around 1 to 2 years
  • Outcomes:
    • A greatly innovative product, process or service that is ready to conquer the market;
    • A business innovation plan incorporating a detailed commercialisation strategy and a financing plan in view of market launch (e.g. on how to attract private investors, if applicable).

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