Tag Archives: EIC Accelerator template

EIC Accelerator Proposal Design: Helpful Resources and Graphics (SME Instrument)

1. Pictograms

Pictograms can be very helpful in designing concept graphics and in increasing the general appeal of figures and images. Since a single project might have very specific needs regarding the type and look of the desired illustrations, a large database of pictograms is highly beneficial.

The Noun Project offers just that. A database with thousands of pictograms that can be used under a Creative Commons / Royalty-Free license. Here, it is possible to find any type of pictogram that would be useful in enhancing the quality of images and graphics.

If you are using Adobe Illustrator, these images can be directly downloaded and imported as SVG or as PNG files (i.e. the latter can be expanded to yield a vector graphic) which gives significantly more control over colours and shapes.

2. Vector Graphics

Vector graphics can be particularly helpful for the design of the proposal page and for the use in certain illustrations. FreePik and Vecteezy offer large databases consisting of images, vector graphics and illustrations that can help make an application more appealing but can also help in creating a more professional look. Vector designs can be useful for the presentation of headers, the deigns on page margins or for the preparation of a cover page and pitch deck.

Next to the general design (i.e. search for keywords such as business or tech), FreePik can also help in finding device overlays that can be used to place software screenshots (i.e. a UI Dashboard) inside of laptop or smartphone screens. This can be done with Adobe Photoshop (i.e. PSD file format) and can greatly enhance the look (and impact) of a simple screenshot.

3. Images

There is always a use for images and photos to further enhance the presentation of an application. While Document 1 does usually not require any photographs due to the strict space limitations, Document 2 (i.e. the annexes) and Document 4 (i.e. the pitch deck) can benefit greatly from well-placed images to improve the story-telling.

You can utilise a vast database of royalty-free images from websites such as PixaBay or Unsplash which offer thousands of photographs at no cost (i.e. Creative Commons). These images can be used for the visual structuring of a narrative or just act as a background (i.e. with opacity) to create an appealing watermark-like effect.

4. Image Converter

As a writer or professional consultant, you will often find yourself looking for company logos and other related graphics which need to be taken directly from the respective companies website. Such images are frequently presented in WebP/SVG formats or similarly compressed files which can not be simply fetched like other images (i.e. these cannot be placed in proposal documents). This is done to increase website speed but it is to the detriment of writers who quickly want to implement a logo or image.

Outside of tediously taking and cropping a screenshot, a fast workaround is to use an online converter which can quickly extract the image as a high-quality PNG or JPG file. An example of this is CloudConvert which offers such conversions for free.

5. Fonts

For a successful EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) application, the main writing of Document 1 and 2 should stick to the given template guidelines (i.e. Arial or similar at min. 11 pt) but for the headers, images and especially the pitch deck, you have more creative freedom regarding the design of a professional grant application.

Free fonts can be found on websites such as Google Fonts and Adobe Fonts where entire font families can be viewed and easily downloaded. Especially Google Fonts allows the simple scrolling through a multitude of options and finding a font that fits the Corporate Identity or is visually appealing. Examples of interesting fonts for headers are Raleway, Quicksand or Montserrat.

6. Colour Palettes

Colour is an especially important part of a grant application and it is beneficial to decide upon a certain style for the entire proposal prior to working on images or headers. It is recommended to have a proposal consisting of a single main colour or of a primary and a secondary colour to not overload the reader.

Choosing these colours is highly dependant on taste, the type of technology and the general company image. It is useful to just experiment with colours in an empty document and to create colour couples which work well together.

A colour picker tool is the Adobe Color Wheel which allows the advanced selection and experimentation with certain styles. This is not only beneficial for financing applications but is also helpful for the creation of illustrations and slide designs in general.

7. Pitch Deck Design

Lastly, Document 4 of the EIC Accelerator Phase 2 application (i.e. the pitch deck) will need to be designed as well and there is not much guidance from the European Commission as to how it should look like. There is a template for the SME Instrument pitch but the overall structure is very broad and does not aid in creating a presentable design.

A great resource for such pitch designs is SlideBean which is dedicated to creating better pitch decks for startups and SME’s (i.e. they offer an AI-based slide creation tool). The free version provides useful examples from companies such as Uber or Airbnb which can be utilized as a template to craft a suitable pitch for the EIC Accelerator Interviews (i.e. for the Green Deal pitch in June 2020 or for the October cut-off).

Conclusion

If you enjoyed this article then please feel free to also check out other articles regarding the correct narrative of the application, information on how to identify a good project and what software to use (i.e. Microsoft Word vs. Adobe InDesign).


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

Business Models for EIC Accelerator Applications (SME Instrument)

There are a great number of different business models available to choose from (i.e. marketplaces, product sales, SaaS, B2B, B2C, B2B2C, etc.) and the EU even lists business model innovations as a viable project type which can receive innovation financing.

Still, some business models are better than others but it is extremely dependant on the type of industry and product. In order to assure that a business model is suitable for the EIC Accelerator and is able to score high in the eyes of the evaluators, two main criteria must be regarded – scalability and profitability:

Scalability

Scalability is a key selling-point for the EU and it is directly asked for in the proposal template (see Scale-Up Potential) as well as in the Evaluation Criteria (see ESR Analysis). There are some business models which are easier to scale than others but it depends on the resources and personnel required to do so.

For example, an industrial and centralised hardware production where thousands of customers can be serviced from a single facility is easier to scale than a business model which requires a new facility to be set-up for each individual customer. Addressing scalability requires you to answer the question as to how the relationship between revenues and resource investments is.

  • Does the scaling of your operations increase your profit margins?
  • Is there a linear or exponential relationship between your profits and the number of customers?
  • Can you create value in an automated fashion or does it include manual or labour-intensive actions?

Profitability

The second point to address when considering the business model is the profitability of your product or service. When talking about scalability, it usually refers to the number of customers, sales or deployments that will be reached but the impact of each individual deployment is as much of a determining factor as the number.

When choosing a business model, you must always consider a combination of profitability and scalability which will define what a deployment at scale looks like. If a single sale will provide €1m in revenues at a high profit margin then the scaling of customer numbers will not be as central to the project as for a product which generates only €1k per sale. General questions for the assessment of the profitability are:

  • How many product deployments or customers would you require to reach €20m in annual revenues?
  • Would a single customer be enough to cover your costs and allow you to continue technological developments?
  • What is the price for competing offerings?

Conclusion

The descriptions above are just illustrative examples and by no means a complete assessment of what a business model should look like. It is possible to be scalable even if multiple facilities have to be set-up and it is also possible to have a profitable business model with a strong reliance on manual labour and personnel. Still, scalability and profitability must always be assessed in unison.

In this respect, the exact business model is far less important than the combination of scalability and profitability. An online platform for fashion products which generates revenues based on manual servicing of user requests (B2C) and affiliate marketing (B2B) can be both unscalable and unprofitable while the same business can be both scalable and profitable if they automate the B2C service while selling a more profitable B2B software for fashion-related design planning.

It should be highlighted that labels such as unprofitable and unscalable are seen from an EU or investors perspective and that this does not mean that the former example could not generate revenues and be profitable at the same time. The EU wants to support high impact projects which generate a multi-fold Return on Investment (ROI) from the initial grant and equity financing.

With the investments usually being above €1m, this would require the accumulated profits to be above €10m for the years following the market introduction of the fully developed technology. As such, the EU’s threshold for profitable and scalable is higher than what is actually needed in most businesses, thus the EU’s strong focus on disruptive innovations and the creation of new markets.


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

Writing an EIC Accelerator Application: Microsoft Word vs. Adobe InDesign (SME Instrument Writing)

The EIC Accelerator application consists of the following major parts:

  • Document 1 (Main proposal as PDF – 30 pages1 ≤ 10MB)
  • Document 2 (Annexes as PDF – unlimited pages ≤ 10MB)
  • Document 3 (Financial documents as PDF & XLS/ODS ≤ 10MB)
  • Document 4 (Pitch deck as PDF – unlimited pages ≤ 10MB)
  • Abstract (2,000 characters)
  • Submission forms (Filled out in the web browser)
  • Optional Documents: Ethics & Other

Writing (Document 1 & 2)

Since the majority of documents will need to be delivered in a PDF format, there is a great degree of freedom in choosing a text editing software. The industry standard for EIC Accelerator proposal writing is Microsoft Office and, in particular, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. I have used Word for a long time because it allows for convenient sharing and co-editing of documents but, in the end, I have moved away from it in 2017 due to frustrating formatting glitches, a lack of control over the design and PDF export issues (i.e. file size, image quality, etc.).

While having more control over the proposal’s design is very important, it is especially the formatting issues which can become a major hindrance during the writing process because of page limitations (i.e. 30 pages for Document 1), size limitations (i.e. maximizing the content while staying below 10MB) and the frequent changes made to an ongoing draft. Considering that re-submissions and continuous improvements are a must to successfully receive the EIC Accelerator financing, reducing frustration while increasing control is key.

Word will have objects jump multiple pages at random, has unwanted but persistent page-breaks and has glitches where a line break that is removed on page 1 will not translate to page 10. Adobe InDesign is, in my opinion, superior in every aspect needed for proposal writing but it might not be an option for people who seek to collaborate on the writing process or rely heavily on commenting and tracked-changes functions (i.e. these features also exist in InDesign but are less pronounced).

InDesign is perfect for individual writers who make all editions on their own without allowing others to make any changes to the master document (i.e having a single responsible person is recommended anyways to assure the ongoing quality of a draft). While the use of Word might be simpler in the short term, the final outcome with InDesign will always be superior in terms of image quality, design, file size and PDF export.

Overall, InDesign follows an artboard-type layout (i.e. similar to PowerPoint) where a text box must be placed on the page prior to being able to write. This might sound very unappealing at first but once a template has been created for the 30-page Document 1 with correct margins and text threads (i.e. the text boxes are connected throughout the document to allow Word-like typing), the extra features for fonts, formatting, embedding etc. are far outweighing any inconveniences.

For Document 2, where you will need to embed PDF files in bulk (i.e. CV’s or support letters) which can easily reach 60 to 100 pages, InDesign if far superior to Word. InDesign places an emphasis on design and formatting and, while there is a learning curve, if you are already familiar with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop then InDesign will be very easy to pick up.


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

Continue reading Writing an EIC Accelerator Application: Microsoft Word vs. Adobe InDesign (SME Instrument Writing)

EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument Phase 2) – Introduction and Blended Finance

Writing a successful EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) application is always challenging due to the competitive nature of the grant and the 2 step evaluation process (i.e. written application and in-person interview).

Success Rates

Typical success rates range between 2% and 5% depending on the individual budget and the number of applicants but this does not mean that it’s impossible to receive the financing, it just means that you will have to be dedicated and determined to perfect your proposal until you have reached your target. To not be discouraged by setbacks and to understand that the reviewing process for the written application will require you to cover many parts which are not directly relevant to your business but are relevant to the EU.

With high-quality writing and the determination to improve the application in case of a rejection, you can increase your success rate to at least 30% but there will always be a chance for failure. Attention to detail will ultimately lead you to your goal but you must be committed to placing yourself into the reviewer’s position by not only looking at the official proposal template but by also studying the criteria which are the actual basis for your score.

Writing and Financing

Pre-empt any concerns or questions the reviewer might have by covering all grading criteria convincingly throughout the proposal. Creating a new market or a new value-chain might not be relevant to you and addressing gender equality is in no way part of your business model but if its part of your score then you must address it. Do not consider any text, image or graphic to ever be good enough but treat it as a place holder until you have created a better version.

For a single project, you are able to request up to €17,500,000 in financing (or even more if duly justified) whereas €2,500,000 is the maximum non-refundable grant amount by the European Commission (EC) while €15,000,000 is the equity component by the European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund which requires the applicant to offer company ownership (i.e. 10% to 25%) in exchange. It is possible to either ask for a pure grant or for blended finance (a combination of equity and grant) but it is not possible to ask for equity-only financing.

The grant is always paid as 70% of the presented costs which means that a project which requires €1m will be eligible for a €0.7m grant while the applicant has to explain how the 30% co-financing of €0.3m will be reached. The requested equity amount will be paid in full but there is always the option to receive a counteroffer by the EC if the project budget does not fit the jury’s expectations or assessment.

Reviewing

While the reviewing process (step 1 and 2) will remain the same regardless of choosing grant or blended finance, the contribution itself is managed by the EC in the case of a grant and by the EIC governing bodies with support from the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group in the case of equity financing. The latter is associated with a more sophisticated due diligence process and the project will be offered to a pool of private investors who can provide financing in place of the EIC.

As a result, there are different recommendations with respect to the types of projects or companies that are to be funded by each source. For example, equity financing is targeted at especially high-risk projects that are not attractive for the market yet. This criterion is also important for grant requests but equity financing further identifies companies with low or limited turnover as well as negative EBITDA as preferred targets (see Blended Finance Guidelines).


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

Update: Proposal Template for the EIC Accelerator Green Deal Deadline (SME Instrument May 2020)

There has been an update on April 3rd (here) for the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) template which now gives applicants the opportunity to receive inquiries from potential investors, provided a Seal of Excellence (score of 13/15) has been received. In Annex 3 of the proposal, every applicant now has the option to give consent for the publication of their contact details by the EC to interested third parties.

Success Statistics

The EIC Accelerator is highly competitive and while 30-40% of applicants reach the threshold for funding, only 3-5% of companies end up receiving financial support (a detailed analysis of the EIC Accelerator success rate for the 2018 to 2020 period will follow shortly). This option of allowing potential investors to reach out to startups will likely be very beneficial to most applicants.

This change might also be a sign for a greater ambition by the EC to create a more flourishing and VC-oriented funding network across Europe. Seal-of-excellence holders were already able to attend online pitch events and meet investors (link) but the option was rather hidden and likely used too infrequently. The recently introduced equity-finance option (blended finance) is a similar step of transitioning towards private funding as it connects startups with private industry and allows non-EU parties to provide financing instead of the EU.

In the long term, expanding the governments grant financing budget with private funding might be the only way to truly deal with the increased interest in the EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) since the number of applications keeps rising which, in turn, reduces success rates.

Call Page

Another change to the May’s EIC Accelerator submission (Green Deal) is the separation of the call page which is important to know and essential in order to pick the correct button for the submission. The new page can now be found here. If the regular EIC Accelerator page were to be used during the submission process then the proposal would register for the October deadline rather then the one in May.

Lastly, the EIC has announced (via twitter) that the interviews for the March 2020 deadline will be held remotely via video calls. This is due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic and will likely be the new norm for all of 2020. In addition, these interviews have been postponed by a week which might have a ripple effect for the Green Deal deadline on May 19th which could potentially be postponed as well to May 26th.


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

EIC Accelerator: New Proposal Template from March 20th (2020)

The new proposal template for the EIC Accelerators Green Deal deadline on May 19th has recently been released and this article summarises the major changes.

    • New Form Fields: The first change is found in the application forms under “Call Specific Questions” where it is now required to provide the gender of the CEO. This is in accordance with the new rule to have a 25% quota for female CEO’s which must be met by the EIC Accelerator. In addition, Green Deal goals must be selected via checkboxes to identify if the project is addressing any of the existing targets. Both of these changes will very likely remain part of all future EIC Accelerator deadlines.
    • New Impact Criterion: In the “Impact” section of the application template,  a new criterion named “Green Deal (May 2020 cut-off only)”  has been added which asks companies to detail the impact on the EU’s new Green Deal. This impact must be quantified and proven by providing suitable explanations and references.
    • The Equity Table is Now Mandatory: The third change can be found in the “Financing Needs” section and the “Equity Table” specifically. Since requesting equity-financing is optional, filling out the equity table has so far been optional as well. It used to state “Equity (if blended finance requested)” in the September 2019 version and now says “Equity (All applicants should fill in this section)” in the March 2020 template.

It is always useful to see if any changes have been made to the template even if an application is already completed or being re-submitted to subsequent deadlines. Each updated template contains a list of changes in the beginning which will make it easier to implement the new requirements.


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

Using the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) to Improve Grant Proposal Writing (EIC Accelerator)

Every great grant application starts with a great project. It must be able to check all the necessary boxes from the innovation, the team, the commercialisation strategy over to the market impact but it is very common to forget how most of these factors are not directly evaluated by the reviewers.

 

Each of the four reviewers has to grade the proposal according to a variety of pre-defined micro-criteria. The four individual gradings of these criteria will be averaged (while removing the highest and lowest scores) and the final score will be calculated based on how the proposal performed in these distinct sections.

 

It is also very important to realise that the evaluation of the project is based on the proposal and not the project itself. The difference between a low score and a high score is often a week of extra writing work but entirely independent of how the project has changed during that same time. 

The official proposal template does not comment on the evaluation criteria so every writer must follow these criteria alongside the proposal template as to not miss critical information or angles which need to be addressed.

 

This following PDF document lists all of the evaluation criteria as they are presented in the Evaluation Summary Report (ESR) which is obtained after proposal submission:

 

 


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 likely be on March 23rd 2022, June 15th 2022 and October 5th 2022 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.

Want to see all articles? They can be found here.

For Updates: Join this Newsletter!


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:

Changes in the EIC Accelerator during 2019

Since 2019 has come to an end, here is a summary of the main changes that have occurred regarding the EUs startup grant – the EIC Accelerator: 

1. Equity Finance: The most significant change was the discontinuation of Phase 1 (€50,000 grant financing) and the introduction of the new blended financing option for Phase 2 (now up to €17,500,000 with grant and equity). 

2. Phase 2 Template: The template for the Phase 2 application has been reworked and includes new additions such as detailed financial information, listed KPIs, explicit need for EU support and the addition of specific summaries to the proposal introduction instead of the previously introduced executive summary. 

3. Pitch Deck: The pitch deck for the required presentations and interviews will now need to be uploaded with the application and cannot be modified later on. 

These and other minor changes will need to be considered when submitting (or re-submitting) your next proposal.

SME Instrument Phase 1 vs. Phase 2 (EIC Accelerator) Part 2

Here is some additional information regarding the EU’s Startup Funding (The SME Instrument) that I frequently get questions about:

 

Since Phase 1 will have its last two cut-off days this year with Phase 2 applications still being open, let me give you the main things to keep in mind when writing a Phase 2 proposal directly.

 

    • Number of pages: Sections 1-3 (the main proposal) are 10 pages long for Phase 1 and 30 pages for Phase 2.

 

    • Content: Naturally, in a Phase 2 proposal, you can go into more depth in each section but there are also a few parts that are unique compared to the Phase 1 template (e.g. “Communication and access to research data”)

 

    • Work packages: This is an important one. Phase 1 applications are for a feasibility study and you do not need to have a fixed business plan in place but for Phase 2, you will need to have a very detailed cost structure for the next 2 years of developments. You must know who will perform each task, how much it will cost and what the deliverable will be. Plan about 7 to 15 pages just for the work packages.

 

    • Budget: Phase 1 is fixed at €50,000 while Phase 2 can be set to €2,500,000 or higher in some cases.

 

SME Instrument Phase 1 vs. Phase 2 (EIC Accelerator)

Since Phase 1 (€50,000) of the EUs start-up grant will be discontinued after September 2019 but Phase 2 (€2,500,000) will remain open, here is an overview of the main differences between the applications.

 

While Phase 1 &2 proposals do follow almost the exact same template, there are important variations to consider:

 

  • Feasibility vs Implementation: Phase 1 is granted for a feasibility study of the project while Phase 2 is for the implementation of all technical and commercial developments.
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  • Grant amount and competitiveness: Due to the higher grant amount, Phase 2 is more difficult to achieve than Phase 1
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  • Funding threshold: The official threshold for funding is 13/15 for Phase 1 and 12/15 for Phase 2
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  • Interview: Phase 2 requires an in-person interview before the grant is approved
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  • Proposal length and additional sections: The main document is 10 pages for Phase 1 while Phase 2 is 30 pages.
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  • Value for money of subcontracting is rated: The subcontracting in the proposed project must be described and justified according to its best value for money.