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EIC Accelerator: User-Friendly Funding For Breakthrough Innovation

The recently established European Innovation Council (EIC) has selected 65 innovative startups and SMEs to receive €363 million in financial support to develop and drive breakthrough innovations in areas such as healthcare, digital technologies, energy, biotechnology, and space. Read on now so you don’t miss the next application deadline.

Photo: Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner / Image Credits: European Union, 2021 / Christophe Licoppe

Startups and SMEs beware – have you heard of the EIC? In fact, it was only launched in March this year as a major innovation under the Horizon Europe programme. It is endowed with over 10 billion euros, of which around 1.2 billion euros are earmarked for the so-called EIC Accelerator in 2021. Through this, startups and SMEs can receive grants of up to EUR 2.5 million, which can then be combined with equity investments of between EUR 0.5 and 15 million from the EIC Fund.

“The EIC accelerator is a unique European funding instrument of the European Innovation Council. It supports the development of top-class innovations through crowding-in private investors and offers a portfolio of services to support their scaling-up”, says Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The majority of the funding is eligible for breakthrough innovations in all sectors, while €495 million is earmarked for strategic technologies in the fields of health and digitalisation, as well as for environmentally friendly solutions.

What is the application process? Thanks to a new startup-friendly application process introduced this year under Horizon Europe, companies can submit their ideas at any time for immediate evaluation. These applications are thoroughly reviewed by external experts. Successful applicants are then invited to submit a full application and receive support through free business coaching. Fully completed applications are then assessed at regular cut-off dates, which take place approximately every three months.

Who can apply and until when? The next deadline is expected to be early 2022. Apply now to gain access to investors and companies, as well as coaching, mentoring, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community. You will need a video pitch, a slide deck and to answer a short series of questions about your innovation and your team. The EIC is hosting its first Summit on 24-25 November 2021 in Brussels and online for anyone who doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to connect and network with potential investors and venture capitalists.

Since March, more than 4000 startups and SMEs have submitted their ideas. The 65 innovative startups and SMEs selected in the current first group of companies include companies from a total of 16 countries – unfortunately, no Luxembourg company is among them. They include, for example, Sensius BV from the Netherlands, who developed a side-effect-free thermotherapy system for treating head and neck cancer, and Alice & Bob from France, who developed a novel self-correcting quantum hardware to build the world’s first fault-tolerant commercial quantum computers.

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