The SME Instrument is a €3 billion funding scheme that is part of the largest EU research and innovation programme in of the EU called Horizon 2020 (€80 billion budget). By the end of 2020, 7500 Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) will have received funding over a period of 6 years.
To find out if your company is eligible for funding, please read Can My Company Receive Funding from the EU?.
The SME Instrument
The SME Instrument is structured in 3 Phases:
Phase 1 – The Feasibility Study (€50.000)
Phase 1 is officially optional, but without it, the chances of success for Phase 2 are minimal. If a project cannot be approved for Phase 1, it is highly unlikely that it will succeed in Phase 2.
The duration of this project is around 6 months and its purpose is assessing the technical, commercial and financial feasibility of the project. As a result, a Business Plan is fully developed and it will be outlined if the project is a suitable investment.
Phase 2 – Innovation Development & Demonstration (€0.5 to 2.5 million)
Phase 2 typically takes 1 to 2 years and its purpose is to bring the technology from the prototype level to commercial readiness. This will be the main development of the project and receives the highest amount of funding.
Phase 3 – Support for Market Entry (non-financial)
Phase 3 gives additional support through the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) which can give guidance and advice on project related topics.