EIC Accelerator Pilot
The EIC Accelerator Pilot will become a fully-fledged programme from 2021 as part of the next EU research and innovation programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027). The goal is still the same: to support startups, SMEs in developing innovative products or services and making them ready for the market launch. The Commission is making €10 billion available to support innovators through two funding instruments:
- The Pathfinder for early stage research. The first phase of the SME Instrument has been eliminated.
- The Accelerator, a mixed (grants) + equity financing model. In addition to the €2.5 million funding under the previous instrument (SME Instrument), the EIC Accelerator Pilot provides an additional €15 million in equity to facilitate market updates and deployment.
What differentiates the EIC Accelerator Pilot from the traditional SME Instrument is that the former complemented the grant instrument with an equity fund.
The EIC project also offers a free coaching phase, business acceleration services and mentoring to help SMEs grow. Up to 3 days of coaching in phase 1 and 12 days in phase 2 are available for those benefiting from EIC.
In order to benefit from this programme, applicants have to fulfil certain requirements. This selection process can be divided into 2 phases:
1.Preliminary phase: Applicants must submit a short application accompanied by a pitch deck and motivational video.
2-Full proposal phase: Applicants can only access this phase if they receive positive feedback during the first phase. If the feedback is positive, applicants can proceed to the submission of the full proposal, including an integrating financial plan.
Compared to the previous funding scheme, where the number of possible submissions was unlimited, the maximum number of submissions per stage under the new programme is two.
With regard to deadlines, the submission and evaluation of the applications in the preliminary phase can take place at any time. Fixed deadlines must be met for the submission of the full proposal.