SME Instrument: Over €780 million invested in more than 2000 companies under Horizon 2020

Clothes and accessories made from marine waste, a portable hub that provides clear water, solar energy and Wi-Fi connectivity in developing countries, or a 3D hologram of the brain that meant a breakthrough for neuroscience.

hose are some of the exciting technologies and innovations which the Horizon 2020's SME Instrument has made possible, and which are exhibited today as part of the SME Instrument Innovators Summit in Brussels. Altogether, 20 European Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) are presenting how they are turning brilliant ideas into reality.

Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: "The success of the new SME Instrument is in the companies we support. There is clearly demand out there for EU investment in top-notch business innovation. I hope many of the business showcased today will mature to become the solid backbone of industry, generating growth and jobs for the EU economy. We need these pioneers of innovation to grow!"

The SME Instrument is a highly competitive EU scheme that supports innovation-driven small and medium-sized enterprises that have the potential to disrupt the market with innovative ideas but need high risk investment to make it happen. Through the scheme, the EU will invest close to €3 billion in some 7500 SMEs until 2020.

The first ever Innovators Summit brings together the CEOs of more than 400 high potential SMEs to meet international investors, technology executives and cutting-edge innovative business leaders. At the Summit companies have the opportunity to pitch their project in front of investors and to receive coaching from peers and professional investors at a dedicated Coaching Academy on-site.


The SME Instrument is a key element of the support for small businesses available under Horizon 2020. Worth close to €3 billion over seven years, it offers fast and simple grants for business innovation feasibility studies (Phase 1) and demonstration projects (Phase 2). Investment-mature concepts can in addition benefit from business development advice and other support services (Phase 3).

With a budget of €77 billion over seven years, Horizon 2020 is the biggest ever EU research and innovation programme and foresees record funding for SMEs. At least 20 percent, or nearly €9 billion from Horizon 2020's 'leadership in industrial technologies' and 'societal challenge' pillars is expected to benefit SMEs directly in the form of grants, including via the SME Instrument. In addition, the European Commission and European Investment Bank Group are joining forces to encourage banks and other financial intermediaries to lend or provide equity to innovation-driven companies through InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators (see IP/14/670). Other companies can find access to finance under COSME (see IP/14/851).


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