The programme is aimed at SMEs having ambitions for high growth and internationalization. The instrument is particularly relevant for high tech and knowledge-intensive SMEs.
The SME Instrument offers funding to SMEs in two separate innovation phases, with the relevant phase to be applied for determined by the SME’s current innovation status and needs.
- Phase 1: a lump sum of €50.000 is offered as funding for proof-of-concept and feasibility studies. The result of a funded phase 1 project is a finished business plan documenting the commercial and technical potential of the SME’s idea.
- Phase 2: offers 0,5-2,5 million euro for the development, demonstration, and testing of the SME’s idea. The result of a funded phase 2 project is a fully developed and demonstrated product, process or service, ready for market launch.
In both phases, the SME Instrument grants 70 percent of total cost associated with the proposed project.
The SME Instrument focuses on growing SME innovative ideas into new products, processes, and services. It aims to make it easier for SMEs to convert their innovative ideas into marketable products. Some thematic constraints are imposed on the ideas that can be funded by the Instrument, however the themes are wide, and a given SME idea will often match the themes published.
Type of activities: R&D, Demonstration, Market Uptake
Single SMEs can apply for SME Instrument funding, i.e. there is no requirement for additional partners. The SME Instrument is a highly competitive funding program. Among a number of important checks to perform before applying, it is important to verify that the proposed idea has a very high market potential. A given SME can only participate in one granted project under the SME Instrument at the time.