Commission awards more than €278 million to help start-ups and SMEs market their innovations
The European Commission has selected 75 promising start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the largest funding round so far of the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council (EIC), worth more than €278 million. As a major novelty, 39 of these companies are set to receive both a grant and a direct equity investment. Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: “The future European Innovation Council will turn far more of Europe’s world class science and start-ups to global technology leaders. I am glad that this first offer of combined grant and equity financing saw such a high demand from Europe’s start-ups and SMEs. This confirms that the European Innovation Council is filling a gap in funding, and that it is right to set it up as a fully-fledged initiative under the next EU budget.” The selected companies are embarking into major innovations, such as creating the first global Internet of Things network using low-cost low-orbit satellites, producing sustainable fuel using organic material, or developing technologies powered by Artificial Intelligence to transform the lives of patients with severe brain injuries. This new type of “blended finance” of a grant and a direct equity investment will allow a much higher level of funding (up to €17.5 million per company) to accelerate growth and help companies market ground-breaking innovations. The start-ups and SMEs selected for the EIC Pilot support in this round span across 15 EU Member States and 5 associated countries. Among the EU Member States France will host the maximum number of blended finance projects (6) and Germany will host the maximum number of grant-only projects (6). The Commission has also signed an agreement with the European Investment Bank Group to set up a dedicated EIC Fund to manage the equity investment. More information about the selected companies as well as the EIC Accelerator is available here.