The European Commission today announces the first results of its new €3 billion SME Instrument, launched under Horizon 2020 to help innovative small firms get ideas from the lab to the market. In total, 155 SMEs from 21 countries (EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020) will each receive €50,000 to finance feasibility studies to develop their innovation strategy. In addition, SMEs can benefit from up to three days of business coaching.
Spanish SMEs were particularly successful in the first round, with 39 proposals selected, followed closely by SMEs from the UK and Italy. In total, there were 2,666 applications for the first grants. Successful applicants will be formally notified in August. Thereafter, their names will be publicly announced by the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME), which manages the programme. Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "The response to the new SME Instrument is encouraging. There is clearly demand out there for this kind of support. I hope many of the business plans being financed will mature to become real products and services, generating growth and jobs for our economies. We need our champions of innovation to grow!"