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.
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.
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.
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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: