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EIC pilot: €173.4 million for top-class innovators

The European Commission will support 283 innovative projects under the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot to bring their innovations faster onto the market.

278 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from 27 countries have been selected for funding in the latest round of the SME Instrument. Between them, the companies will receive a total amount of €129 million under Phase 2 and €10 million under Phase 1, from the EU's research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020. In addition, 15 projects from 16 countries will receive €34.4 million under the latest round of the Fast Track to Innovation scheme.

Including the latest results, the EIC Pilot has to date supported a total of 1276 projects with €731.15 million in funding.

The projects selected in this round include several blockchain technologies, single quantum photodetectors, a chip technology for the vascularization of 3-D tissues, a bio-compostable packaging film, a big data driven personalized knee replacement, and nano-satellites that enable the Internet of Things.

In the so-called Phase 2 of the SME Instrument, projects (68 in total) can expect to receive between €0.5 million and €2.5 million to finance innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting and scaling up. Companies can request higher amounts when applying, duly justified, to ensure their innovation activities can yield market-mature results. Projects are selected following face-to-face interviews with a jury of innovators, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. In addition, the companies will also benefit from 12 days of free business coaching and business acceleration services. Spanish and Israeli SMEs were the most successful with nine companies selected for funding. They were followed by eight companies from Norway and France and seven companies from Denmark and Germany. Most selected companies are active in the field of ICT, health and engineering.

The companies supported in the so-called Phase 1 of the SME Instrument, means that each project (200 in total) will receive €50.000 to draft a business plan. Several companies can team up to propose one project. The companies will also receive free coaching and business acceleration services. Spanish SMEs were particularly successful with 32 companies selected for funding, followed by firms from Switzerland and Israel (21) and Italy (20).

Within this round of the Fast Track to Innovation, 15 innovative projects will receive around €2 million each. The scheme is for relatively mature ground-breaking technologies, concepts and business models that are close to market. The participating SMEs also have access to free business coaching and acceleration services.

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