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€619 million for 'Innovation in SMEs' under new Horizon 2020 funding mechanism

SMEs vital to growth and innovation

More than 99% of all European businesses are Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). SMEs provide two out of three of the private sector jobs and contribute to more than half of the total value-added created by businesses in the EU (find out more about SMEs here http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/sme/facts-figures-analysis/index_en.htm).

"young and small firms tend to be an important driver of innovation" from the 2012 EU report on SMEs

 

It is acknowledged that SMEs form a vital part of the EU economy, that they are drivers of innovation and key to economic growth, but a key stumbling block for SMEs to engage in research and innovation is access to finance.  In order to address this, the EU has earmarked a budget of €619 million with the specific objective of 'Innovation in SMEs'.

New funding mechanism to assist SMEs

A new mechanism will be introduced under Horizon 2020 that targets highly innovative SMEs that show a strong ambition to develop, grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech and research-driven or non-research conducting, social or service companies.

Under current funding mechanisms, SMEs usually have to team up with large companies, which, although this has enormous benefits for both parties (e.g. SMEs get access to large companies expertise and networks, and large companies get the adaptability and versatility of the smaller companies), can make projects prohibitively expensive and frustratingly time-consuming and unwieldy for SMEs.

Under the new funding instruments, SMEs will be able to apply for funding directly, and even single company support will be possible to ensure market relevance and to increase commercialisation of project results.   SMEs will be responsible for how best to organise the project and with whom to collaborate. 

"high-tech, knowledge-intensive, innovative SMEs are important to future economic growth" from the 2012 EU report on SMEs

For a detailed run-down of the new funding mechanism for SMEs, please see Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn's press release.

You can also watch a webinar that took place a few months ago, where Steve Bradley, the National Contact Point for SMEs gave a presentation on SMEs under Horizon 2020.  Click here to see the webinar - forward to 9mins 45seconds to see from the start of Steve's presentation.  

The European Commission will stream a live webcast of the SME information day on the 25th November.  Info on how to access this webcast will be available from 10 days before on the EU website here.

Further reading

EU 2012 report on SMEs

Press release on SME funding under Horizon 2020

Support to be available to SMEs

Comments

Comments

1 person has had something to say so far

It all sounds very positive and laudable for support for SMEs. However it does read very much like "an SME has a new product and needs to market it/develop its application".
This ignores manufacturing SMEs and opportunities for innovation.
It also implies that the research has all been done. In the UK much of the research and the research support is targeted at large companies and expensive equipment. Most SMEs interest in affordable equipment and research to help them is ignored.
So does this "instrument" allow funding for research to support the SMEs and is so unlike the TSBs offering and recognizes that SMEs are lean and do not have the fat of big companies to support basic research?
Posted on 10/12/13 10:59.

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