European CommissionEarlier this month the European Commission published a list of the 155 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that will be first to benefit from its new €3 billion SME Instrument. 155 SMEs from 21 countries will each receive €50,000 to finance feasibility studies for their projects, and they can also benefit from up to three days of business coaching. After that, their projects may be considered for further financial support from the Commission worth up to €2.5 million.

The response to the first round of selection was remarkable, with 2662 proposals from the countries participating in Horizon 2020. Evaluation by independent experts showed that 317 of the proposals met the evaluation standard. Of those, 155, or 49%, have been selected for funding.

The selected SMEs are in a good position to succeed in the second phase of the programme, in which applicants can receive between €0.5 and 2.5 million to finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up, and miniaturisation. The beneficiaries will also develop their business plan.

Around 645 projects in total should be funded in 2014. This number will rise to 670 in 2015. The call for proposals is constantly open and the next deadlines for evaluation are 24 September and 17 December 2014 for Phase 1, and 9 October and 17 December 2014 for Phase 2.

The list of beneficiaries is available on this web page

STOP PRESS: 1,944 proposals were submitted for the second cut-off date of the SME Instrument phase 1. Italy leads the ranking by country (351 applications), followed by Spain (283). The Open Disruptive Innovation call collected the highest number of projects (608), followed by low carbon energy systems. The results will be known by the end of November.

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