The EIC Accelerator 2021 will also continue under the new Horizon Europe framework program. The EIC supports SMEs, start-ups and individuals across Europe who want to disruptively change the market with their innovative idea.
What’s new with the EIC Accelerator 2021
The EIC Accelerator already started in 2019 as a pilot program as a continuation of the former SME Instrument (SME Instrument). As of this year, the EIC has been incorporated into the Horizon Europe framework program and brings with it several innovations. The funding program is open to topics and sectors, and the EIC also sets additional new thematic priorities (challenges) for applicants:
- Strategic Digital and Health technologies
- Green Deal innovations for the economic recovery
The EIC Accelerator 2021 has also introduced some innovations in the application process. To receive the grant, applicants must prove themselves in three stages.
- Stage 1: Project outline + pitch video (short application)
- 2nd stage: full proposal (full application)
- 3rd stage: pitch interview
Each stage is followed by an evaluation by the reviewers – thus a pre-selection is made at an early stage of the application process – only the best and most convincing applications will advance to the next round.
However, if the application (project outline and/or full proposal) is rejected, a new attempt can be made for the next funding round. If a second rejection occurs, a 12-month rest period applies before a new attempt can be started. In the third stage, the pitch, applicants present their disruption to a jury of experts, and only then is the decision made as to whether or not the project will receive the grant.
The next deadline for full applications is October 6, 2021, but short applications can be submitted now.
Special features of funding with the EIC Accelerator 2021
Technology Readiness Level
The EIC Accelerator funds innovations that have reached or will reach TRL 6 (Technology readiness level). This means that a demonstrator or prototype must be presentable. In comparison: While ZIM, the German funding program for example, promotes research and development, the EIC Accelerator is a suitable instrument for bringing the results of this development to market and scaling them.
For funding, the EIC offers two options: In addition to the grant, the grant-based funding, it is also possible to acquire equity capital. (Blended finance). The grant is capped at 2.5 million euros and the equity capital is usually 5 million euros, although more is possible under certain conditions.
Business Acceleration Services
Under Business Acceleration Services, the EIC summarizes the services that the winners receive in addition to the financial support. These measures are designed to support and facilitate market entry. These are, for example, training, contacts and networking with investors or trade fair participation, etc. Even applicants who are convincing at the pitch interview but still do not receive the funding are given access to the benefits in the form of the Seal of Excellence. This brings further advantages: as an award from the European Innovation Council, the Seal of Excellence can be a door opener for other funding programs.
Advice and application
We recommend: Walk the path to the EIC Accelerator 2021 with an expert at your side. Start your preparations now and arrange your personal consultation. Start now and be among the best in Europe!