Exciting times for SME Instrument Phase 2 beneficiaries. The new EIC Accelerator pilot, launched in October 2019 to replace and expand the Phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, has announced a major novelty for the upcoming cut-off of January 2020: beneficiaries currently running an SME Instrument Phase 2 project will now be eligible for complementary blended finance from the EIC Accelerator.
There is a lack of finance for breakthrough and disruptive innovators in Europe, with an estimated total equity-funding gap of about €70 billion. Many European start-ups can’t find high risk capital needed to get to the stage where private sector investors get involved. This is true also for the SME Instrument Phase 2 beneficiaries involved in lengthy and complex development activities.
Making all SME Instrument beneficiaries eligible for the blended finance now opens up new funding opportunities for the companies which have already secured grants from the Phase 2, but need further investment to bring their innovation to life.
The change has been introduced with the latest release of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot FAQs, published on October the 25th, 2019.
Query No. 30 clarifies what projects are now eligible:
“Are SME Instrument Phase 2 beneficiaries eligible for the Accelerator?”
“No if the SMEI Phase 2 project is still running, and the requested Accelerator support is for a different project, unrelated to the first one: the EU does not support concurrent implementation of 2 different projects.
Otherwise yes, if the second proposal aims at transforming the initial and still running grant-based SMEI Phase 2 or Accelerator project into a blended-finance Accelerator project, expanding its scope with new activities including TRL9 ones”.
The EIC will evaluate the application as usual, scoring it against all the new proposals submitted. The FAQ No. 30 goes on explaining that:
“The new proposal will build on the initial running project, describing its achievements and remaining activities, and integrating the grant already awarded as a receipt. Equity and additional grant may be requested, where justified by new TRL6 to 8 and/or TRL9 activities”.
At AlienTT we are thrilled to keep working with the many Phase 2 beneficiaries willing to continue and expand their projects under the new EIC Accelerator pilot. It is awesome to see how the program evolves to keep up with the many challenges innovators face in Europe. Exciting times ahead!