EU funding worth €7.75 million is being awarded to 155 small and medium-sized enterprises from 21 countries, including Israel, Norway and Turkey, for feasibility studies. 2,666 businesses applied for the first round of grants under the EU’s SME Instrument by submitting a business plan. Spain was the most successful, with 39 proposals selected, followed by the UK with 26, Italy with 20, Germany with 11, and Ireland with 10. Ten EU countries, including Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania and Slovakia, had no successful applicants in this first round of funding.
Each of the 155 companies will be offered 3 days of business coaching from an independent business coach, selected from a Europe-wide database. The SME Instrument aims to be a simple and fast way for high-growth business to get investment and support. The focus is on “potentially disruptive” businesses and aimed at high-growth SMEs with ambitions of reaching a global market. About 645 projects should be funded in 2014, rising to 670 in 2015. Applications can be submitted at any time but are evaluated four times each year.