A dedicated grant scheme in Horizon 2020 for the benefit of European Small and Medium Enterprises that have identified a new market opportunity and have developed a concept to exploit it through an innovative product or service.


As part of the Horizon 2020 programme, the European Commission is selecting potentially disruptive businesses to invest in and support as part of the SME Instrument. SMEs with a strong growth potential and the ambition to become world-market leaders could receive up to €2.5 million (up to €5 million for health projects) in funding, and world-class business support and mentoring.


We are looking for high growth, highly innovative SMEs with global ambitions. You should be actively investing in innovation, and looking to grow.


Projects at the technology readiness level 6 or higher (technology emonstration) have the best chances to receive funding.


The SME Instrument is structured in three phases, with the aim of transforming disruptive ideas into concrete, innovative solutions with a European and global impact.

Phase 1


Idea to concept (6 months)

The SME will draft a business proposal.
The EU will provide 50000€ in funding and business coaching.


  • Prove Technical and Commercial Viability
  • Explore IP Regime
  • Design Study
  • Risk Assessment

Phase 2


Concept to Market-Maturity (1-2 years)

The SME will develop its proposal through innovation activities and a developed business plan. The EU will contribute from €0.5M to €2.5M.


  • Engineering
  • Testing
  • Piloting
  • Miniaturization
  • Scaling-up
  • Application Development

Phase 3


Market maturity to market launch

Extensive support to help polish concept into a marketable product plus networking opportunity. The EU will not provide funding.


  • EU Quality Label
    (Promotion & Networking with Financiers/Clients)
  • Investment Readiness Training
  • SME window in the EU Financial Facilities
    (debt & equity backed by EIB/EIF)
  • Link to Public Procurement Networks


Phase 0

(financed in kind by Alien TT before the SME Instrument grant application)

Alien Technology Transfer’s support starts before the submission of the business proposal. Our service provides a set of activities specifically carried out to help you access the SME Instrument phase 1.

Preliminary project analysis

We outilne a first analysis based on the evaluation of the industrial, economic and social problem to be solved and related business opportunity, exploitation strategy of the business opportunity, expected outcomes by the project (Phase1 and Phase2), progress beyond the state of the art, growth potential (turnover, market share, employment creation), initial plan for full commercialization of project results, impact on European or global markets, external expertise to carry out phase 1, evaluation of the business model against the expected impact of the SME Instrument, SWOT analysis, status and strategy for knowledge protection, regulatory and standard requirements

Business Proposal Draft

We write your project proposal for the access to Phase 1

Proposal submission

We take care of the proposal submission and all the related administrative activities

Preparation of the Consortium Agreement

The consortium agreement is a private agreement between the beneficiaries, to set out the rights and obligations amongst themselves ( it does NOT involve the European Commission/Agency). The consortium agreement should set the framework for a successful phase 1 project implementation (i.e. settle all issues that might hamper the smooth and seamless cooperation of the different actors for the different parts of the project).

Preparation of the Grant Agreement

The Grant Agreement sets out the rights, obligation, terms and conditions applicable to the grant awarded to the beneficiaries for implementing the action. Our experts will support you during this action.

Phase 1

The overall purpose of Phase one is an in depth analysis of the commercial potential and technical feasibility of an innovation, it shall be completed within a maximum of six months from the date the grant has been awarded. Alien Technology Transfer will support you with a full set of activities during SME Instrument’s phase 1.

In depth analysis

In depth analysis of all Phase 0 items, partner search, supply chain building, full development of a “commercialisation strategy” and second version of the innovation business plan.

Work plan for Phase 2

Full development of a detailed work plan definition for a Phase two application.

Phase 1 final report production

We’ll take care of the final report which constitutes the proposal project application for the access to phase two of the SME Instrument grant. It shall be based on an elaborated business plan.

Memorandum of Understanding

The terms of this MoU shall govern the rights and obligations of the Parties. These obligations include their respective activities, costs allocations, personnel allocation, sub-contractors allocation and co-funding contributions. The MoU is signed before the application for the phase 2.

Phase 2 Project Application Writing

We write your project proposal for the access to Phase 2.

Phase 2 Application Submission

We take care of the proposal submission and all the related administrative activities.

Relationship Management

We support you on all Relationship Management with project officer.

Final version of the Consortium Agreement

The Consortium Agreement (CA) is made between participants in a project financed under Horizon 2020 to govern a number of issues that will or may arise during the project. A CA is required for all projects financed under the Horizon 2020 Programme. ALIEN TT supports the proponent SMEs with its expertise during this action.

Back Office Activities

Control over cost, quality and time of all the task to be performed during phase 1; planning and organisation of the periodic project meetings, financial task management, project procurement.

Preparation of the Grant Agreement for Phase 2

The Grant Agreement sets out the rights, obligation, terms and conditions applicable to the grant awarded to the beneficiaries for implementing the action. Our experts will support you during this action.

Phase 2

The set of activities carried out by Alien TT during SME Instrument’s phase Two includes the Innovation Management and Strategic Advice and the Product Development Back office.

Innovation Management and Strategic Advice

Product Line Roadmap

Linked to product Innovation Roadmap, the Product Line Roadmap will assess the how, why, where, what and when of a new product development, and adjust when the unexpected comes along.

Impact Assessment

Definition of innovation product indicators to measure the impact of the new product on the SME participants.

Focus Group

Brain storming sessions and focus groups to improve market fit of project results.


Corporate Open Innovation strategy & Innovation strategic partnerships.

Update of the Business Plan

Support on the market analysis, definition of the commercialisation strategy and formulation of the Business Plan.

Investor package

Editing and delivery of the 3 main documents requested by private investors and in fund-raising activities:
a) executive summary;
b) elevator pitch;
c) 10 min pitch slide deck;
d) full business plan for venture capital evaluation boards.

Legal assistance

We offer legal support and drafting initial contracts (to be separately agreed with the Client).

Product Development Back office


We offer a training on European project procedures.

Tasks Tracking

Tracking cost, quality and time of all tasks to be performed by each partner during the project.

Project report drafting

Writing of the project reports (M9, M18), preparation/support of the deliverables to be produced in the form of a report, financial reporting.

Planning activity

Planning and organisation of the meetings that will be chaired by the coordinator, preparing the agendas, proposing discussion points, preparing the minutes and tracking the implementation of decisions taken.

Project procurement

The series of procurement activities carried out during the execution of the project necessary to acquire goods and services according to the project objectives.

Support on the negotiation

We assist the negotiation process and advise in conflicts resolution among the consortium partners.

Contact List

Keeping the address list of team members and other key contact persons updated and available.

Report and Updates

Collecting information on the progress of the project and reports and other deliverables (including financial statements and related certifications) to be submitted to the project coordinator and PCC for their review.

Project Website Update

Updating the official project website every 3 months.


Communication effectiveness tools

Providing to the partners document templates and information to improve their communication effectiveness.