The EIC Accelerator seeks solutions for the coronavirus pandemic

The EIC Accelerator, part of the European Innovation Council, will fund companies and startups with innovative ideas against the coronavirus. 

What is the EIC Accelerator? 

The previously known as SME Instrument, it was renamed as EIC Accelerator on June 6, 2019. The EIC Accelerator is designed to finance small and medium-sized enterprises under the Horizon 2020 framework program. Since its beginning, the program formerly known as SME Instrument has supported high-risk, high-potential projects, so a wide range of new and innovating products can be launched to the market. These are services and business models that catalyze generalized economic growth. 

The EIC Accelerator, unlike its predecessor, also offers the option of investment in equity in addition to grants. There are notorious differences between the SME Instrument and the EIC Accelerator. With the latter, companies have two distinctive options at the time of requesting financing. The first one is to request a grant; the second one is to request blended finance combining grant and equity of up to 17,5 million in total. 

Meanwhile, the SME Instrument program only allowed the first option. Also, the SME Instrument was divided into two funding phasesphase 1 and phase 2. These phases do no longer exist under the new EIC Accelerator, as it has a single funding phase (equivalent to phase 2 of the SME Instrument). 

The European Commission, through the EIC Accelerator program, is calling out to those startups and technology-based SMEs with viable innovative ideas for treating, analyzing, and monitoring COVID-19, today’s trending topic. 

The crisis that followed the pandemic has emphasized the importance of finding a solution as soon as possible. Companies and startups with innovative solutions that can provide differential value in the face of this dreaded virus shall not hesitate to come forward and apply. 

Like in any program, participants must follow the measures set by the EIC Accelerator. One of the most important measures to have in mind is that startups and SMEs will be evaluated in the same way as the rest of the companies that apply. 

Also, there are different types of financial support startups and SMs can choose. Companies that apply may receive 17,5 million euros; not a bad figure at all. In this case, the financial support will be provided in the form of a grant and investment in equity. Between 0,5-2,5 million euros will be provided in form of a grant. Participants of the project must also be open to the possibility of receiving a maximum of 15 million euros in investment in equity. 

And, finally, the types of companies that are candidates to participate in this program shall be mentioned. SMEs and startups that are established in an EU Member State or a Horizon 2020 associated country (Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia, and Armenia) are eligible. 

The EIC Accelerator has considered to speed up the application process and grant and blended finance allocation for all projects with relevant innovations related to COVID-19. 

The EIC Accelerator has once again supported a variety of startups and SMEs that had already received financing in previous calls; only this time their focus is on the new coronavirus. For instance, one of such projects is EpiShuttle, which specializes in a series of isolation units. Another participant project that has been supported is m-TAP, which represents a technology-based solution to filter the virus. Also, MBENT, a company with a focus on tracking individuals during epidemic periods, has received support from the EIC Accelerator program. 

The  EIC Accelerator  counts with experts who will be able to help and analyze each presented project so they can eventually be carried out. So far, a total of 34 projects (presented by both startups and SMEs) have been supported with the intention of raising capital in different European Commission’s lines (SME Instrument Horizon 2020 and EIC Accelerator). 

Several early-stage startups and SMEs have been assisted to apply to the SME Instrument’s phase 1 and 2, with financial support of €50,000 and up to 2,5 million euros, respectively. The EIC Accelerator program has worked along with a wide variety of companies and startups for products, services, software (Saas, Apps, systems), innovation ecosystems, etc. With all this experience backing them up, the program stands as a platform to get financing and be recognized. 

Do not doubt to apply if you have an innovative idea or solution. Your  project  might be what we need to stop infections and finally leave the pandemic behind. 

Sources: Innovarum,

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