SME Instrument supports small and medium-sized enterprises developing innovative products that would like to launch them on the European and, possibly, global markets. As a part of the SME Instrument, you gain not only financial support of up to 2.5 million Euros, but also free services of European coaches.

Who is the programme for?

SME Instrument is a specific tool under the Horizon 2020 programme and helps to bridge the gap between the end of funding for research and the introduction of your project’s results on the market. The programme is targeted at small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, whose project must fall into one of 13 specified fields.

Small and medium-sized businesses are those which employ less than 250 people. Their annual turnover does not exceed 50 million Euros and the annual balance sheet total does not exceed 43 million Euros.

What is the amount of support?

Support is divided into 3 phases. In the first and second phases you can altogether undertake a project for a maximum of 2 550 000 Euros with up to 70 % of costs covered by the EU. Other than the grant you will also be provided, free of charge, with the services of professional coaches, who will help to increase the commercial success of your innovation.  

1st phase (from ideas to concept): a flat-rate subsidy of 50,000 Euros

2nd phase (first placement on the market): subsidy from 0.5 million to 2.5 million Euros

3rd phase (commercialisation): possible investment from private or public sources on the basis of individual assessment

The total budget for the SME Instrument for the period 2014 to 2020 amounts to 3 billion Euros. For applicants from the South Moravian region, who reach sufficient quality but are not financed due to shortages of finances on the EU level, JIC has prepared a regional scheme – SME Instrument Brno – which offers the same financing and advantages as the European funding scheme.

When and how do I apply?

A request can be submitted anytime throughout the year by one of the four closing dates. Submit the request through the European Commission calls for proposals

Each company may ask for support either individually, or in partnership with other small or medium-sized businesses. Research institutes may only participate in a project as a subcontractor.

Closing dates for 1st phase in 2016 are 3rd May, 7th September and 9th November. Closing dates for 2nd phase in 2016 are 15th June and 13th October.

How difficult is the preparation?

A project proposal is similar to a business plan. For the first phase it can have a maximum of 10 pages, and for the others, 30 pages. You will learn the result of your applicationwithin 3 months of the closing date for the first phase, and within 6 months of the closing date for the others. Only six Czech companies have obtained support via the SME Instrument, two of these thanks to JIC.


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