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18 Aug 2014

First wave of SME instrument grants announced

The European Commission announced the first wave of beneficiaries of the new SME instrument, launched under Horizon 2020. The SME instrument's goal is to help innovative small businesses to get their ideas to the market. In total, 155 SMEs from 21 countries will each receive euro 50.000 to fund feasibility studies to develop their innovation strategies. These SMEs will also be able to benefit from up to 3 days of business coaching.

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Spanish SMEs were particularly successful in the first round, with 39 proposals selected, followed by SMEs from the UK (26) and Italy (20). With 4 successful applications Austria has achieved a success rate of 15%.

In total, 2,666 applications were made for the first grants. Successful applicants are formally notified in August by the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), which manages the programme. With a budget of euro 3 billion over seven years, the SME instrument of the Horizon 2020 programme offers fast and easy subsidies for innovation feasibility studies in SMEs (phase 1) and demonstrative projects (phase 2). Investment projects reaching maturity can benefit in addition from business development advice and other support services (phase 3). Applications can be submitted at any time, but are evaluated four times a year. The results announced on Thursday relate to applications received by the first cut-off date for phase 1 grants, which was 18 June 2014. The next cut-off dates for evaluation are 24 September 2014 for phase 1 and 9 October 2014 for phase 2.654 projects will be funded under phases 1 and 2 in 2014 , rising to 670 in 2015.

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