In next seven years (2021-2027) the European Innovation Council (EIC) established by the European Commission as a part of the Horizon Europe programme will invest € 10 billion to SMEs and startups with new technologies and products that may change the world. EIC is looking for companies with disruptive and scalable products (at least in prototype stage) that need significant support to bring them to the market. They should present global ambitious growth plans that are still too risky for private investors.
The EIC Accelerator supports individual small and medium enterprises (SMEs), mainly startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. The scheme provides substantial financial support up to € 17.5 million in combination of non-dilutive grant (up to € 2.5 million for development and validation of products) and equity investment (up to € 15 million for market introduction, production, sales and growth). And it is not only about the funding. EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community. Startups may submit their project ideas any time, addressing any topic to the open call (€ 600 million in 2021) or to selected challenges requested by the EC (€ 500 million in 2021 for digital, medical and green technologies).
The EIC Accelerator Pilot phase has been launched in 2018 and in 3 years it provided funding to more than 1600 startups in Europe and associated countries (39 countries in total). Within the portfolio of EIC backed companies, the EU already has one unicorn (Cellink from Sweden) and at least 10 companies with the valuation exceeding € 200 million. Strategic aim of the program is to have at least 5% centaurs (startup worth 100 million or more) in the portfolio of EIC supported companies.
So far, 3 Slovak startups have succeeded in a tough competition and took part in the EU champions league:
- SAFTRA Photonics (Disruptive portable device for pre-screening of Persistent Organic Pollutants –POPs- in food products and water)
- Multiplex DX (A highly accurate breast cancer diagnostic test for effective personalized treatment and assessment of therapy response)
- Sensoneo (Unique smart waste management solution delivering 60% reduction on CO2 emissions caused by the waste collection process)
Another 18 Slovak companies have received excellent results in evaluation and certificate “Seal of Excellence” and will be soon awarded by the grants in dedicated call with funding more than 30 mil. eur.
- EIC Accelerator: Official website (European Commission)
- List of funded projects and companies
- National Contact Points
Author: Ivan Filus, Innovation & Growth Expert, Horizon Europe National Contact Point (EIC)