Pre-Requisites for an EIC Accelerator Application (SME Instrument Phase 2)

The applicant for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2) financing is a registered company which will need to create an account on the EU’s Funding and Tenders Portal in order to receive a Participant Identification Code (PIC). Once registered, the company can apply for a variety of grants and other support options provided on the platform. In order to be eligible for the funding, the following criteria must be met:

Registration Country

Other than the EU-27 member states which can apply without restrictions,1 third countries and selected countries associated with the Horizon 2020 (H2020) program are also eligible for applications. In summary, the list of non-EU countries that can apply for the EIC Accelerator are:

  • Iceland,
  • Norway,
  • Albania,
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  • North Macedonia,
  • Montenegro,
  • Serbia,
  • Turkey,
  • Israel,
  • Moldova,
  • Switzerland,
  • Faroe Islands,
  • Ukraine,
  • Tunisia,
  • Georgia and
  • Armenia.

Company Purpose

The EIC Accelerator is seeking for-profit businesses which are looking to scale their company on an EU or global level. As such, non-profits or companies with no ambitions for scaling are excluded from the application. All projects should likewise have a distinct innovation component which justifies the disruptive nature of the product and the business should typically have strong IP protection (i.e. DeepTech companies).

Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Classification

In order to be eligible for the EIC Accelerator grant, the applicant company must classify as a Small- and Medium-Sized Business (SME) which means that it meets the following requirements:

  • The staff headcount is below 250
  • The annual turnover is below or equal to €50m
  • The balance sheet total is below or equal to €43m

Every applicant will likewise have to declare up- and down-stream relationships to other entities such as subsidiaries, shareholders or parent companies. If the relationship is to a natural person then the threshold that makes a declaration mandatory is 50% while a legal person (i.e. a parent company) must be declared when ownership is equal to or exceeds 25%. If a relationship is declared, financial data for the SME classification of associated businesses must be provided as well.

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) will be on June 16th 2021 and October 6th 2021 under Horizon Europe. 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:

1 The UK has officially left the EU and is only eligible for grant support but not blended financing for the remainder of 2020.