Risk free funding for the UK's top start-ups?
Accelerated business growth, up to €5m of equity free funding and even a place in the FT’s fastest growing companies list was the attraction for the 31,000 companies who have applied to date for SME Instrument grant funding. It is certainly one of the first questions our clients have for us: "how can I access the H2020 grants?" - so how do today’s innovative SME’s grab the ultimate prize and win this Horizon 2020 grant?
The SME Instrument supports market-creating innovation in small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with significant growth potential and global ambitions. As part of Horizon 2020 – the EU’s €80bn Research and Innovation funding programme – it will invest €3 billion in 7,500 companies until 2020.
Phase 1 offers a lump-sum funding of €50,000 to carry out a concept and feasibility assessment, whereas Phase 2 invests between €0.5 and €2.5m in innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, prototyping and market replication. The fact that this investment is equity free is a huge draw as 50% of these funded companies are micro-enterprises / startups with less than 6 years in business.
So is there a catch? Well the application process can be time-consuming for today’s busy entrepreneurs and the selection process is highly competitive with an average, non-supported acceptance rate of just 8.4% for Phase 1 and only 5.5% for Phase 2.
But those lucky enough to secure funding see the benefits almost immediately. A year down the line and funded Phase 2 companies show an average 250% increase in business turnover and a 122% increase in employment.
Moreover, 9 of these funded companies were among the fastest growing businesses in Technology Fast 500™ EMEA 2016 and 5 were among the Financial Times 1000 Europe’s Fastest Growing Companies 2016.
Businesses who write their own (non-supported) application should ensure they read the eligibility guidance thoroughly, and know how they differentiate themselves from competitors. If they can prove how grant funding will expedite their project and successfully quantify the economic, societal, technical and environmental benefits the innovation will generate, this will also increase their chances of winning the grant funding they require.
UK company eligibility is unaffected by Brexit - in fact the UK government has underwritten the H2020 funding so there has never been a more supportive environment to apply into this funding stream.
We are Granted Consultancy, UK and EU grant funding specialists. We work with ambitious businesses and entrepreneurs seeking funding for their company or ideas.