EIC Accelerator

EIC Accelerator Funding Programme

EIC Accelerator – funding and investments programme for individual startups and small companies.

What is the EIC Accelerator

The EIC Accelerator supports individual Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), in particular Startups and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations. In some cases small mid-caps (up to 500 employees) are supported.

The EIC Accelerator provides substantial financial support with:

  • grant funding (non-dilutive) of up to €2.5 million for innovation development costs,
  • investments (direct equity investments) of up to €15 million managed by the EIC Fund for scale up and other relevant costs. Companies working on technologies of strategic European interest can apply for EIC investments of more than €15 million. 

In addition, EIC selected companies receive coaching, mentoring, access to investors and corporates, and many other opportunities as part of the EIC community.

The EIC welcomes applications from innovators in all EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. It particularly welcomes applications from startups and SMEs with female CEOs.

EIC Accelerator Funding Opportunities

The EIC Accelerator provides blended finance (Innovation and Market Deployment Action) which is composed of:

  • An investment component usually in the form of direct equity or quasi-equity such as convertible loans.
  • An EIC Accelerator grant component to reimburse eligible costs incurred for innovation activities, including demonstration of the technology in the relevant environment, prototyping and system level demonstration, R&D and testing required to meet regulatory and standardisation requirements, intellectual property management, and marketing approval (e.g. at least TRL 5/6 to 8). 

Applicants for EIC blended finance can choose to request the investment component only.

EIC Accelerator guide for applicants

The EIC Accelerator application is a 3-step process. It starts with a short application that can be submitted at any time via the online EIC Accelerator platform.

The EIC Accelerator has 4 deadline dates in 2023 for the full application, which is the second step of the process: 11/01, 22/03, 07/06 & 04/10.

The face-to-face interview is the last and decisive step of the process. Companies are invited to meet with a panel of 5 jury members. The panel will decide if companies are awarded funding from the EIC Accelerator. The interview lasts 45 minutes, the first 10 minutes on the pitch deck submitted at the full application stage. The remaining 35 minutes are Q&A with the 5-member jury panel. After two/three weeks from the interview, companies will be notified on the final outcome of their application.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation Criteria for the Short Application (Step 1)

The evaluation criteria for the EIC Accelerators short application have remained largely consistent whereas the 2023 EIC Work Programme outlines the following scoring criteria for Step 1 applications.

1. Excellence

  • Breakthrough and market creating nature: Does the innovation have a high degree of novelty – compared to existing products, services and business models – with the potential to create or significantly transform markets?
  • Timing: Is the timing right for this innovation in terms of market, user, societal or scientific of technological trends and developments?

2. Impact

  • Scale up potential: Does the innovation have scale up potential, including the potential to develop new markets and impact on the growth of the company? Does the company show a clear and convincing vision, taking into account its current level of development and maturity, in relation to the targeted market, the business model and growth forecasts?
  • Broader impact: Will the innovation, if successfully commercialized achieve positive broader societal, economic, environmental or climate impacts?

3. Level of risk, implementation, and need for Union support

  • Team: Does the team have the capability and motivation to implement the innovation proposal and bring it to the market? Is there a plan to acquire any critical competencies which are currently missing, including adequate representation of women and men?

Evaluation Criteria for the Full Application (Step 2)

For the EIC Accelerator’s Step 2, the evaluation criteria are defined as follows

1. Excellence

  • Breakthrough and market creating nature: Does the innovation have a high degree of novelty, compared to existing products, services and business models, with the potential to create or significantly transform markets?
  • Technological feasibility: Is the innovation based on a technology or technologies that have been adequately assessed at least in a laboratory environment and relevant environments to characterise the potential and assess the level of risk (at least TRL 5/6)? Is the technology developed in a safe, secure and reliable manner?
  • Intellectual Property: Does your company have the necessary Intellectual Property Rights to ensure freedom to operate and adequate protection of the idea?

2. Impact

  • Scale up potential: Does the innovation have scale up potential, including the potential to develop new markets and impact on the growth of the company? Are the associated financial needs well assessed and realistic?
  • Broader impact: Will the innovation, if successfully commercialised achieve positive broader societal, economic, environmental or climate impacts?
  • Market fit and competitor analysis: Has the potential market for the innovation been adequately assessed, including conditions and growth rates? Has a competitive analysis been thoroughly performed, including identification of potential customers and relevant types of users, including women and men, definition of unique selling points and key differentiation from competitors?
  • Commercialisation strategy: Is there a convincing and well thought-through strategy for commercialisation, including regulatory approvals/compliance needed, time to market/deployment, and business and revenue model?

3. Level of risk, implementation, and need for Union support

  • Team: Does the team have the capability and motivation to implement the innovation proposal and bring it to the market? Is there a plan to acquire any critical competencies which are currently missing, including adequate representation of women and men?
  • Milestones: Is there a clear implementation plan with defined milestones, work packages and deliverables, together with realistic resources and timings?
  • Risk level of the investment: Does the nature and level of risk of the investment in your innovation mean that European market actors are unwilling to commit the full amount alone? Is there evidence that market actors would be willing to invest, either alongside the EIC or at a later stage?

Innovation Manager and EIC Accelerator

Get in touch to find out how we can help you write a proposal that wins EIC Accelerator funding.