– This article was updated in April 2023 –
The EIC Accelerator funding (grant and equity, with blended financing option) by the European Commission (EC) and European Innovation Council (EIC) supports all EU member states including a variety of associated countries.
Startups and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) from eligible countries are able to obtain up to €2.5 million in grant and €15 million in equity financing per project (€17.5 million total).
This article presents a list of eligible countries that may apply to the EIC Accelerator according to the communication by the European Union (see List of Participating Countries in Horizon Europe) and the EIC Accelerator Work Programme (see Annex 2 “General conditions for proposals”, B “Eligibility”).
1. EU-27 Member States
The following countries are eligible to apply to the EIC Accelerator and Horizon Europe as member states of the European Union:
- Republic of Cyprus
- Czech Republic
2. Associated Countries
Associated countries are third countries that are not EU member states but have decided to participate in the Horizon Europe program (incl. the EIC Accelerator). This allows entities established within their borders to obtain funding in the same manner as member-state entities.
2.1 Association Agreements with Legal Effect
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Faroe Islands
- North Macedonia
2.2 Transitional Association Arrangements
- Morocco: Applicable for the entire Horizon Europe Programme including the EIC Accelerator.
- New Zealand: Applicable for Horizon Europe Pillar II ‘Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness’ (but not Pillar III, thereby excluding EIC Accelerator participation)
- United Kingdom: Applicable for the entire Horizon Europe Programme except for the EIC Fund. This means that UK entities may only apply for the “grant-only” EIC Accelerator (see EIC Accelerator Explained)
3. Other Third Countries
There are a variety of third countries that have, in some cases, been associated with European funding programs in the past but have decided to not participate in Horizon Europe or the EIC Accelerator.
These countries are:
- Switzerland: Currently not associated with Horizon Europe (see Updates here)
- Liechtenstein: Currently not associated with Horizon Europe
4. Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) Linked to Member States
Since there are territories that are implicitly linked to EU member states, these are eligible for funding under the same conditions as the member states they are linked to according to the EIC:
- Aruba (Netherlands)
- Bonaire (Netherlands)
- Curação (Netherlands)
- French Polynesia (France)
- French Southern and Antarctic Territories (France)
- Greenland (Denmark)
- New Caledonia (France)
- Saba (Netherlands)
- Saint Barthélemy (France)
- Sint Eustatius (Netherlands)
- Sint Maarten (Netherlands)
- St. Pierre and Miquelon (France)
- Wallis and Futuna Islands (France)
5. Low- to Middle-Income Countries
Interestingly, Horizon Europe and the EIC both list low-income countries as eligible for funding by default. Still, these countries are not eligible for mono-beneficiary programs such as the EIC Accelerator but can be eligible for consortium projects in other EIC and Horizon Europe programs under certain conditions.
- Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Comoros, Congo (Democratic Republic), Congo (Republic), Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt (Arab Republic), El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic), Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic), Kyrgyz Republic, Lao (People’s Democratic Republic), Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federated States), Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine6, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, São Tomé and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic), Vietnam, Yemen Republic, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Due to the war in Ukraine, entities from Belarus and non-government-controlled areas of Ukraine are not eligible for funding.
Note: Some non-EU countries can be eligible for EIC Accelerator Step 1 applications but still lack access to Step 2 and 3 or the EIC Accelerator funding (see Eligible Applicants).
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These tips are not only useful for European startups, professional writers, consultants and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) but are generally recommended when writing a business plan or investor documents.
Deadlines: Post-Horizon 2020, the EIC Accelerator accepts Step 1 submissions now while the deadlines for the full applications (Step 2) under Horizon Europe are:
- Step 1 (short proposal)
- open now
- Step 2 (business plan)
- 1st cut-off: (early 2024)
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: -
- Step 3 (interview)
- 1st cut-off: -
- 2nd cut-off: -
- 3rd cut-off: -
- 4th cut-off: January 29th to February 9th 2024 (extended again)
The Step 1 applications must be submitted weeks in advance of Step 2. The next EIC Accelerator cut-off for Step 2 (full proposal) can be found here. After Brexit, UK companies can still apply to the EIC Accelerator under Horizon Europe albeit with non-dilutive grant applications only - thereby excluding equity-financing.
Contact: You can reach out to us via this contact form to work with a professional consultant.
EU, UK & US Startups: Alternative financing options for EU, UK and US innovation startups are the EIC Pathfinder (combining Future and Emerging Technologies - FET Open & FET Proactive) with €4M per project, Thematic Priorities, European Innovation Partnerships (EIP), Innovate UK with £3M (for UK-companies only) as well as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants with $1M (for US-companies only).
Any more questions? View the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
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by Stephan Segler, PhD
Professional Grant Consultant at Segler Consulting
General information on the EIC Accelerator template, professional grant writing and how to prepare a successful application can be found in the following articles: