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.

This article was last modified on Oct 9, 2020 @ 11:16

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: -
    • 2nd cut-off: -
    • 3rd cut-off: -
    • 4th cut-off: October 19th 2023 (extended)
  • Step 3 (interview)
    • 1st cut-off: -
    • 2nd cut-off: -
    • 3rd cut-off: October 2nd to 6th (extended)
    • 4th cut-off: November 27th to December 8th

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:

A Quick FTO Guide for EIC Accelerator Applicants in a Rush

2023 Budget Allocations for EIC Pathfinder, Transition and Accelerator

Developing the Unique Selling Points (USP) for the EIC Accelerator

Explaining the Resubmission Process for the EIC Accelerator

A Short but Comprehensive Explanation of the EIC Accelerator

EIC Accelerator Success Cases

Deciding Between EIC Pathfinder, Transition and Accelerator

A Winning Candidate for the EIC Accelerator

EIC Accelerator Interview Preparation Process: Scripting the Pitch (Part 1)

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