SMEs: 71 innovative companies funded under the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument
Seventy-one Small- and Medium-Sized Entreprises (SMEs) from 22 countries have been selected to receive grants under the last round of selection of SME Instrument Phase 2: the funding scheme to support innovation, promoted under the Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation.
The overall budget is almost 104 million euro: of this amount each project will receive up to 2.5 million euro – for innovation activities – with the exception of projects in the healthcare area, which will receive funds up to 5 million euro. The 71 projects were selected out of 1534 proposals submitted to the European Commission in this round of selection. Most of them focus on information and communication technology, followed by low-carbon emission economy and transport.
Among the countries which received funding, Spain ranks first with 19 selected projects, followed by Germany and Ireland, both with 5 projects selected, and Denmark, Norway and Israel, with 4 funded projects. In this round of selection, 3 Italian projects were chosen, just like the United Kingdom and Portugal. However, looking at the overall performance of each country in this funding scheme since the launch of the Horizon 2020 programme – on 1 January 2014 – Italy ranks third, after England and Spain. Of the 641 SMEs selected so far to receive funding under the SME Instrument Phase 2, 71 are Italian.
Funding under Phase 2 of the instrument allows companies to invest in innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up and miniaturisation, in addition to developing a mature business plan for their product. The companies will also benefit from 12 days of business coaching. Most projects are proposed by a single SME but some companies team-up to elaborate a project.