News archive - Small and medium sized businesses at the heart of Horizon Europe

Businesses can now get EU funding and support for innovation projects that will help them develop and expand into other countries – in Europe and beyond. The funding is available through the EU's Horizon Europe programme. Tasked with a budget of  €95.5 billion, Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation aimed at tackling climate change, helping achieve the UN’s sustainability goals and boosting the EU’s competitiveness and growth. The programme is fully open to participation from the associated Western Balkan partners

Horizon Europe is channelling the support for SMEs in a concise and concrete manner to ensure that those interested have access not only to the right information but can easily apply for the right funding. SMEs will be able to benefit from an international, interconnected effort to support their innovation and market breakthroughs.  

The programme will be implemented in three pillars: 1-Excellent Science, 2-Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness and 3-Innovative Europe. Pillar 3 focuses specifically on the support of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Pillar 3 of Horizon Europe encompasses 70% of the budget that has been earmarked for SMEs, in particular start-ups and spinout companies to develop game changing innovations with scale-up potential at the global level.  

As part of Pillar 3, the European Innovation Council (EIC) will act in complement and synergy with the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to ensure that inventive activities across Horizon Europe and other EU funding programmes improve ecosystems for innovation in Europe. 

The European Innovation Council (EIC) is an integral aspect of Horizon Europe’s support for SMEs. It will help bring the most promising ideas from lab to real world application and support the most innovative SMEs, including start-ups, to scale up their ideas with accelerator funding and bridge the financing gap between late stages of research activities and market take-up. By doing so, the EIC and SMEs can operate together in achieving a successful market breakthrough thanks to a viable and dependable source of finances.  

Working in parallel to the EIC, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is boosting creativity across Europe. It is uniquely positioned to contribute a further perspective and areas of expertise to SMEs it supports. The EIT increases Horizon Europe’s ability to revolutionise and support SMEs directly by nurturing entrepreneurial talent and a growing body of ideas coming from SMEs. In particular, the EIT helps develop dynamic, long-term European partnerships among leading companies, research labs and universities to form dynamic cross-border partnerships - Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs).  

Acting as a complement and synergy between the EIT and the EIC, the European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE) will support SMEs and start-ups with high-impact advancements considered too financially risky for the market to invest in alone, with a focus on deep-tech and game-changing innovation. Horizon Europe’s work programme for 2021-2022 mentions actions under three destinations: CONNECT, SCALEUP and INNOVSMES. The INNOVSMES destination, with a budget of €72.8 million, will support the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs. This will enable forward-thinking SMEs to increase their research and innovation (R&I) capacity, as well as productivity, and successfully embed themselves in global value chains and new markets. In addition, the EIE complements the European Regional Development Funds support for interregional partnerships around smart, specialised topics. By placing the EIE as a key link in the chain of Pillar 3, Horizon Europe is ensuring that SMEs have access to and knowledge of European partnerships and innovation networks across Europe.  


Geographical focus
  • EC
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • General

Entry created by Admin on October 13, 2021
Modified on October 13, 2021