The EIC Accelerator pilot is the funding programme for innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It is part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and the successor to the phase 2 SME Instrument.
The programme is aimed exclusively at SMEs. It is open-ended (bottom-up) and supports industrial partners and non-industrial partners in developing concrete and high-risk innovations so they are marketable. Since 9 October 2019, there has also been an option to apply for equity capital in conjunction with funding. In this case, the funding is between 0.5 and 2.5 million euros and the equity capital can amount to up to 15 million euros.
- No topical requirements.
- Individual funding is only for a single, profit-oriented SME (according to the EU definition; further information can be found here).
- Profile of the applicant:
- high growth and market potential
- high-risk idea with a high degree of innovation
- European or international business
- multidisciplinary team
- Development stage: at least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 and activities to achieve TRL 6 must already have started (demonstrator, beta versions or successful first application tests of services).
- Eligible activities: innovation and final development measures, e.g. activities such as:
- creation of prototypes
- pilot measures
- miniaturisation, or design up to
- market implementation
- Objective: marketable product/process or marketable service and optimised business plan.
- Funding rate: 70% of the eligible costs (additional 25% as indirect costs).
- Two funding models:
- grant only: grant-based funding of between 0.5 and 2.5 million euros
- blended finance: equity investments of up to 15 million euros through EIC Fund in addition to the funding
- Project duration: 12-24 months.
- Business Acceleration Services (BAS): the beneficiaries receive free support measures such as coaching, mentoring or matchmaking activities, etc.
The EIC Accelerator pilot has the following budget for 2020:
- Funding of very close to market activities from TRL 9 (proof of successful use of the product or service) in order to market the innovation quickly and successfully and to accelerate the growth of the SME.
- Requirement: non-bankability - the SME or project is not (yet) interesting for banks or other investors because it is too risky, for example.
- Due diligence: careful examination and analysis of the SME, in particular with regard to its financial, economic, tax and legal relationships, through the newly launched EIC Fund (duration: approx. 6 months).
- Crowding-in by the EIC Fund: the search for co-investors to participate in the financing round (final decision lies with the company).
- An average participation of 0.5 - 5 million euros is expected.
- 30-page application in English, excluding attachments (template provided).
- Pitch deck presentation must be submitted with the application.
- The submitted application must be designed as a business plan.
- Main criteria: excellence, impact and implementation (1/3 for each).
- Two-stage assessment process:
- Remote evaluation (online)
- Personal interview in Brussels in front of a panel of experts: only for applications placed above the threshold.
Further information on the application process and assessment procedure can be found at https://ec.europa.eu/easme/en/eic-accelerator-sme-instrument/eic-accelerator-sme-instrument-essential-tips-your-application.
In the EIC Accelerator Pilot programme, the decision on funding is made very quickly. The planned schedule can be found here:
Applications can be submitted to the EIC Accelerator pilot on an ongoing basis. There are four cut-off dates in 2020:
More about the EIC accelerator pilot on the web:
Do you have an idea for an EIC accelerator pilot project? Contact now BayFOR's Unit for SME advisory services: