Small and Medium-sized Enterprises that are EU-based or established in a country associated to Horizon 2020 can now get EU funding and support for innovation projects that will help them grow and expand their activities into other countries – in Europe and beyond. Horizon 2020 funds high-potential innovation through a dedicated SME instrument, which offers seamless business innovation support under the section Societal Challenges and the specific part Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEITs).
Provided with about € 3 billion in funding over the period 2014-2020, the SME Instrument helps high-potential SMEs to develop groundbreaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition. Available to SMEs only, which can however organise a project in the way that best fits their business needs – meaning that subcontracting is not excluded – the new scheme has opened a new highway to innovation through phased, progressive and complimentary support.
During the first two years of implementation (2014-2015), more than 1200 SMEs were selected to receive funding under the SME instrument call; as such, 513 million Euros were invested in the success of innovative SMEs. By the end of Horizon 2020, the SME instrument should have supported some 7500 SMEs to get their innovations delivered onto the market.