Small to Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Help for SMEs to access EU finance

Horizon 2020 has a particular focus on small businesses with 20% of the programme's budget allocated for SMEs. Successful, innovative SMEs play a critical role in developing a more competitive economy with higher employment which is why the UK and the European Union have taken this ‘bottom up' or business led approach.

How can SMEs access Horizon 2020?

Streamlined application procedures, including simpler evaluation criteria based around excellence, implementation and impact, mean that SMEs now have easier access to EU resources and grant funding through the Horizon 2020 programme. Phased financial support is available for projects, from concept and feasibility through to market readiness preparation and eventual market launch. Visit our Funding calls page to view the latest open competitions or the section for more information.

Sources of EU finance for SME research and innovation projects

  • Eurostars: The is targeted at innovative SMEs wanting to take part in collaborative research with partners across Europe and associated countries.
  • EU SME Instrument: A new dedicated SME scheme to fill gaps in funding for early stage, high risk research and development. It targets all types of SMEs and provides support across all areas of innovation, science and technology. 

Help and advice on EU funding for SMEs 

  • UK National Contact Point (NCP) for SMEs: The Innovate UK has a designated NCP to support SMEs in the Horizon 2020 programme
  • (EEN): A European network providing information on European Union programmes and linking businesses and organisations to seek partners for European Union projects.

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