The European EIC Programme is one of the most popular and prestigious and therefore one of the most competitive funding instruments of the European Union.
The EIC Programme
- Supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations
- Aims at identifying and supporting future breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations with the potential to scale up internationally and become market leaders
- Seeks to improve gender balance and promoting women innovators: therefore, the EIC is aiming to have 40% female CEOs among grant receivers
- Seeks to create a balance across geographical regions
In addition, EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.
APPLICATION PROCESS INCLUDES 3-STAGES:
1st. stage: SHORT APPLICATION
OPEN ALL YEAR through internet platform. Stage includes:
Short 5-page questionnaire about company; 10-page slide deck; max. 3min. video pitch
Answer whether Go/No Go within 1 month (indicative)
GO: Invitation to provide full application to prepare for periodic cut/off dates – but within 12 months after receiving positive answer
NO GO: Only 1 immediate additional application with significant changes of the first application contents, if fails again, applicator will be blocked for 12 months.
2nd stage: FULL APPLICATION
Via EIC Online Platform – support by business coaches if necessary. Positive outcome but not sufficient for funding: Seal of Excellence
Answer: within 1.5 months (indicative)
POSITIVE: Invitation to Interview (within 2 weeks after decision)
NEGTATIVE: 1 resubmission with major improvements, if again negative applicator will be blocked for 12 months
3rd stage: INTERVIEW
Jury, panel of 6 EIC Experts. Results: within 1 month (indicative)
POSITIVE: SIGNING CONRACT
NEGATIVE: 1 additional Interview, respectively 1 resubmission for the next cut-off, if again negative applicator will be blocked for 12 months.
Seal of Excellence: is a certification awarded to individual SMEs that apply for EIC Transition or EIC Accelerator which has passed the applicable thresholds for the first two award criteria (excellence and impact) but does not demonstrate sufficient level of risk or the need for Union support under the third award criterion. It is only awarded to those applicants who give consent to sharing the data about their application with other eligible funding bodies to attract other funding sources
- Preparation of the first stage: 6-8 weeks
- Waiting for an answer: 4 weeks
- Preparation of the second stage, between 8-14 weeks
- Submission to the committee according to a pre-set date
- Waiting for an answer: 4 weeks
- Third stage – Face to face interview and receiving of a final answer.
The whole process usually lasts between 8 and 18 months, or on average – about 1 year. Please note: each stage is allowed to be submitted twice, after which a one-year break is required.
Criteria according to which the program score is measured:
All programs and tracks in Horizon Europe are measured according to three criteria, with each criterion provides a score between 0-5, and up to the maximum score a project can receive which is 15. The criteria are:
- Excellence – technological excellence
- Impact – impact on the European market – for short, medium, and long term
- Implementation – Applicability of the project – the selected organizations, why are they the right ones to carry out the project. The staff members in each organization, what relevant experience do they have?
Characteristics of companies that qualify for the EIC Accelerator program
- Breakthrough technology, patents included
- Technological readiness TRL* 5-7 including validation in a relevant environment
- Existing market demand – there is a target audience that is willing to pay for the product (and not just presenting the market need), including demand documentation.
- Business readiness – small scale laboratory studies were made (POC) in a
- Wide scale studies took place with a ready-to-market product.
- Existing European partners: customers / distributors / planned studies / potential cooperations
- Financial stability – the company has a budget to finance its activities for at least 9 months ahead within the process until the entire budget is received.
- The company employs at least 5 employees
- Support – the company has a strong support of key opinion leaders who believe in the product, BOD & SAB, (Board of Directors, Scientific Advisory Board).
- The company underwent a business potential assessment, a projected market share assessment and obtains a full marketing plan.
Tips for a winning submission:
- Read the instructions carefully and make sure you understand and answer the question you were asked
- The presentation you submit in step 1 will be used by you in step 2 – invest in it
- The video you present will also serve you in the following steps – invest in it
- Start working on the submission of stage 2 immediately after submitting stage 1
- Do the main development within the company – with less subcontractors
- The entire plan should be focused on Europe – all data in € and not in $, Europe is your target market, write a European marketing narrative, detail how you will contribute to the European economy – weather with an establishment of a factory, hiring employees, carrying out a study, marketing activities, impacting on the European market and more.
Technology Readiness Level Examples
|Basic principles observed
|Scientific observations made and reported. Examples could include paper-based studies of a technology’s basic properties.
|Technology concept formulated
|Envisioned applications are speculative at this stage. Examples are often limited to analytical studies.
|Experimental proof of concept
|Effective research and development initiated. Examples include studies and laboratory measurements to validate analytical predictions.
|Technology validated in lab
|Technology validated through designed investigation. Examples might include analysis of the technology parameter operating range. The results provide evidence that envisioned application performance requirements might be attainable.
|Technology validated in relevant environment
|Reliability of technology significantly increases. Examples could involve validation of a semi-integrated system/model of technological and supporting elements in a simulated environment.
|Technology demonstrated in relevant environment
|Prototype system verified. Examples might include a prototype system/model being produced and demonstrated in a simulated environment.
|System model or prototype demonstration in operational environment
|A major step increase in technological maturity. Examples could include a prototype model/system being verified in an operational environment.
|System complete and qualified
|System/model produced and qualified. An example might include the knowledge generated from TRL 7 being used to manufacture an actual system/model, which is subsequently qualified in an operational environment. In most cases, this TRL represents the end of development.
|Actual system proven in operational environment
|System/model proven and ready for full commercial deployment. An example includes the actual system/model being successfully deployed for multiple missions by end users.