High success rate for the first cut-off dates in the SME Instrument 2018


Category: All Public funding

Keywords: EU Funding, EU grants, Grants, Horizon 2020, Public Funding Case, SME, SME grants


High success rate for the first cut-off dates in the SME Instrument 2018

What is SME Instrument 2018-2020 Phase 1-2?

SME Instrument is part of the European Union’s “Horizon 2020” program and offers high-risk Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) funding to develop groundbreaking and innovative tools in the form of products, services and processes. The new SME Instrument structure introduced 2018 running until 2020 have a new broader approach with no designated topics.

The financing is still done in two stages with the opportunity for coaching and support through the Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) in a third step.

How much money can your company apply for?

In Phase 1 during the feasibility study, companies can apply for a fixed sum of €50 000.

In Phase 2 when the concept shall be taken to market, companies are offered between €0,5 – 2,5M for commercialization of the innovation.

What types of activities do the program intends to finance?

In Phase 1, the company can apply for activities like; risk assessment, market research, user involvement, analysis of regulatory constraints or standards regimes, intellectual property management, partner search, or feasibility assessment.

In Phase 2, the company should have a business plan for the innovation ready and aim at implementing activities such as; prototype production, miniaturization, test execution, validation, performance assessment, demonstrations, pilot project development and market introduction validation. Approved costs are internal salaries, consultancy fees, equipment and materials.

What rules are important to know?

Companies can apply for funding independently or in consortium with other companies. Financing in Phase 1 gives 100% cost coverage and projects are expected to not last longer than 6 months. In Phase 2 companies are given 70% coverage of total project costs and projects are recommended to be between 12 to maximum 24 months. Under exceptional circumstances, companies can receive funding for 100% of the total project costs.

The result for the first cut-off 2018

SME Instrument Phase 2 had a total number of 1,163 applicants for the January 10th, 2018 deadline. It’s communicated that 57 applicants were granted funding equivalent to 4,9 % granted funding and 405 applicants were above the threshold. In total €94,2M were allocated in the first cut-off for SME Instrument Phase 2.

In the cut-off for SME Instrument Phase 1, a total number of 2,009 proposals were submitted for the February 8th, 2018 deadline. We estimate that 80 applicants were granted funding equivalent to 3,9 % of the applicants.

Indicative budget for SME Instrument 2018-2020

2018: €479.74M

Phase 1: €48M

Phase 2. €417M

2019: 552.26

Phase 1: €55M

Phase 2: €480M

2020: 600.99

Phase 1: €60M

Phase 2: €522M

Conclusion – Funding from SME-Instrument is attainable

With the new broader structure, it’s easier to fit your development project into the frames of SME Instrument. We recommend you to contact us if you find the SME Instrument suitable for your company and your needs.

For further reading in the subject we recommend the article about when Excedea assisted Starcounter in securing €2,2M from SME Instrument.


If you are considering SME-instrument for your project please email us



Back to blogs