Spain is the EU country with the most successful start-ups in this year’s Phase 1 competition under the SME Instrument, with total of 48 Spanish companies getting funding. Next was Italy, with 21 grants and third France with 18. Cyprus, Malta, Slovakia and Romania had no successful candidates.
From 2,149 applicants, the European Commission selected 242 SMEs from 30 countries to receive a total of €12 million, to spend on getting their innovations to market faster. Each winner receives €50,000 to draft a business plan and also gets access to free coaching and business acceleration services.
Most companies are in ICT, health and engineering. They are developing various innovations, including a sensory feedback system for phantom pains, a new technology for micro motors, a control system for e-bikes that extends battery life, a distance communication system for drones and a valuation tool for start-ups based on artificial intelligence.
The SME Instrument currently is part of EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, but is due to move under the umbrella of the newly formed European Innovation Council, the Commission’s attempt at creating a one stop shop for innovators across the continent.
Companies can apply for two phases under the SME Instrument, depending on the maturity of their innovation.
Under Phase 1, each project receives a lump sum of €50,000 to carry out a feasibility study. Under Phase 2, €500,000 to €2.5 million per company is available to finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up.
The next application deadline for the SME Instrument Phase 1 is on 5 September 2018.