February 22, 2018 – Workshop targeting the Copernicus Ecosystem

Attend the webinar on February 22, 2018, to find out how Copernicus-based businesses benefit from the EIC – SME Instrument.

While many Earth Observation researchers and entrepreneurs are familiar with the Horizon 2020 research and development funding scheme, the awareness of the relatively new European Innovation Council (EIC) – SME Instrument could still be developed.
Therefore, the European Commission is organising a webinar targeting the Copernicus ecosystem on 22 February to present the benefits and rules of the programme as well as the requirements for applicants.


With its free, full, and open data policy, the Copernicus programme enables to boost innovation and economic growth in Europe, and beyond. The commercial sector in general and SMEs and start-ups in particular play a key role in maximising the benefits of Copernicus and are a prime target of the EU entrepreneurship policies and funding instruments. If you are looking for funding to help scale up your Earth Observation start-up or innovative idea, you can benefit from EU funding over and above the R&D grants awarded under H2020.

Discover the EIC – SME Instrument, one of the flagship funding tools for SMEs. It is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and offers cash grants training and business acceleration services and coaching from business development experts and mentorship from industry professionals. This instrument can support the implementation of your innovative Copernicus-based ideas for products, services or processes for the global market. Find out what the SME Instrument can offer to your business in this article and register for the webinar on February 22 to learn more!


Many European companies are already familiar with the H2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. But today we focus on one H2020 funding tool designed specifically for entrepreneurs: the EIC – SME Instrument, which is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME). This tool supports the implementation of innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition.



EIC – SME Instrument covers three different phases of the product cycle depending on the maturity of the project:

Phase 1 (from idea to concept): it finances the creation of a detailed business plan and provides business coaching for defining market segments and end users.
Phase 2 (from concept to market maturity): it finances the implementation of an innovation project and provides business coaching.
Phase 3 (business acceleration services and coaching): it provides business coaching, training, mentorship and support to access risk finance.


The average project duration is six months for Phase 1 projects and from twelve to twenty-four months for Phase 2 projects.

The total budget of the EIC – SME Instrument is EUR 2.8 billion for the period of 2014-2020. For Phase 1 projects, the instrument contributes up to EUR 50k or 70% of total eligible costs of the project (new application rounds every quarter with a maximum time-to-grant of 3 months. For Phase 2 projects, the funding range is between EUR 0.5-2.5 million (with a maximum time-to-grant of 6 months).


Awarding impact, excellence as well as quality and efficiency of implementation
Until 2020 around 4,000 small companies will be selected for funding.


The EIC – SME Instrument is a continuously open call with 4 submission dates per year for each Phase. Proposals are evaluated by independent experts based on three award criteria: impact, excellence, and quality and efficiency of implementation. The upcoming cut-offs dates in 2018 for Phase 1 are February 8, May 3, September 5 and November 7. And for Phase 2: March 14, May 23 and October 10.


Who can benefit from the EIC – SME Instrument and how?
Any single for-profit SME or a grouping of for-profit SMEs established in the EU Member States or Associated Countries (more info) can benefit from the scheme. Companies originating from third countries can participate as subcontractors.


Applicants must prepare a project proposal and submit it electronically through the Participant Portal before the deadline associated with the relevant funding Call. As at first sight, the application procedure can seem complex for SMEs not familiar with EU funding mechanisms, DG GROW is organising a webinar on 22 February to introduce the rules of the programme and the requirements for applicants. This Copernicus-flavoured webinar will be delivered by one of the EASME experts, Gregor Novak.


Also, you can contact your National Contact Point (NCP) for guidance, practical information and assistance on all aspects of participation in Horizon 2020, and in the EIC – SME Instrument. Applicants can also get support from the Enterprise Europe Network that helps SMEs find business and technology partners or gain a better understanding of related EU legislation.


Find all information at: copernicus.eu/news/copernicus-business-commercialisation-sme-instrument

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