What is the SME Instrument?
The SME Instrument is available for SME’s to secure funding of up to 2.5million euro per project. The new instrument aims to fill gaps in funding for early-stage, high-risk research and innovation by SMEs as well as stimulating breakthrough innovation. In order to be successful in this application process you need disruptive innovation, a clear ambition to grow at EU level, a demonstrated knowledge of your target market and a convincing commercialisation plan. SMEs can decide how best to organise the project and with whom to collaborate, including subcontracting tasks if they lack in-house capabilities. The instrument designed will:
- Provide easy access with simple rules and procedures.
- It will be used across all societal challenges and the enabling and industrial technologies specific objective.
- It will encourage SMEs to put forward their most innovative ideas with an EU dimension.
- It targets highly innovative SMEs showing a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech and research-driven or non-research conducting, social or service companies.
Are you eligible to apply for the SME instrument support?
To count as an SME, your organisation must be engaged in an economic activity and must have fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover of no more than €50 million. As well as this in order to be eligible to apply you must work with at least 2 international partners (separate legal entities) from different EU countries (at least 3 in total) .
Should you apply for this funding scheme?
This route to securing funding for projects is highly recommended for SME’s who have experience with previous types of European Public Funding. The application process is quite rigorous so previous knowledge of what is to be expected in order to secure funding is advantageous. The funding available for SME’s are centred around projects that are focus on two of the core pillars, societal changes and industrial leadership hence the best option for success if a project in with these as their focus. Finally the SME instrument operates under different phases, so if your project is in the early development stage you can start at phase 1 where more guidance is available. If your project is more established you can apply for phase 2 for larger funding support.