Choosing a Good Project for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2)

While any type of industry or product is eligible for an EIC Accelerator application, the EU specifically seeks out innovative businesses that are providing high-risk and high-reward products or services. The evaluation criteria directly mention new market creation, market disruption as well as the establishment of new value-chains and, while these factors are not mandatory, they are a necessity to reach a score high enough for the step 1 threshold.

In total, there are a number of requirements which are largely optional but will increase the chances of success significantly. The innovative nature of the project is the most central part of the proposal and, without it, the chances of success are minuscule. The following questions aim to assess the innovation of a product or service and the more of them can be answered with a ‘yes’, the better.

  • Are there no close competitors in your niche who are providing almost the same product or service?
  • Can you name at least one unique selling point (USP) of your product or service which, even compared to your closest competitors, sets you apart?
  • Are your USP’s directly addressing the customer pain points without being mere peripheral features?
  • Are you creating a new market or solve an existing problem in a new way (i.e. disrupt an existing market)?
  • Is your product protected through a patent or otherwise difficult to copy?
  • If a large company in your industry wanted to copy your product or service, would it take them more than a few years?

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:

  • January 11th 2023 (only EIC Accelerator Open)
  • March 22nd 2023
  • June 7th 2023
  • October 4th 2023

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: