Support programme

Horizon 2020 SME Instrument

All sectors
Financial support
Target group:
Energy, Materials, Water, Waste, Carbon
Where is this support available:

Small and medium-sized enterprises based in the EU or established in a country associated to Horizon 2020 can apply for EU funds supporting breakthrough innovations and projects with market-creating potential under the revamped SME Instrument, which is part of a European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot, launched on 27 October 2017 as part of the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2018-2020, The pilot brings together the SME InstrumentFast Track to Innovation (FTI), Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) Open and Horizon Prizes under one umbrella, providing a 'one stop shop' for funding of innovators/innovations in the EU.

With € 1.6 billion set aside over the period 2018-2020, the SME Instrument supports ground-breaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to conquer global markets. Available to SMEs only, the scheme offers phased, progressive and complementary support to the development of out-of-the-box ideas. There are no predefined topics for the SME Instrument call; only the most excellent and impactful ideas receive support.

The instrument helps innovative SMEs through staged funding and business acceleration services, offering:

  • Business innovation grants for feasibility assessment purposes (optional phase I): € 50 000 (lump sum) per project (70 % of total cost of the project)
  • Business innovation grants for innovation development and demonstration purposes (possible phase II): in the range of € 500 000 to 2.5 million (70 % of total cost of the project as a general rule)
  • Free-of-charge business coaching (optional) to support and enhance the firm’s innovation capacity and help align the project to strategic business needs
  • Access to a range of other business acceleration services and facilitated access to risk finance, to facilitate commercial exploitation of the innovation