European Innovation Council pilot supports 107 visionary ideas of start-ups, SMEs and researchers

The European Commission announced today that 107 innovative projects from across Europe will be supported with €344 million through the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot. Funded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme, the selected proposals comprise an array of unique project concepts aimed at improving surgical precision during cancer-removal surgery, modernising local and global air quality monitoring, and bringing about many other ground-breaking innovations. Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “The European Innovation Council, now in the final year of its pilot phase, is going from strength to strength. There is a huge demand for EIC support, which demonstrates that Europe has no shortage of excellent ideas for breakthrough technologies and innovations. With the right level of financing, the EIC will enable many more of these visionary researchers and entrepreneurs to realise their dreams in Europe.” The researchers, start-ups and SMEs selected for support from the EIC come from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020. Out of the 107 projects that will be financed, 63 are at research stage. Over €162 million from the EIC ‘Pathfinder’ pilot will enable them to develop breakthrough technologies and to bring them closer to the market, which could become the basis of a start-up or spin-off company. The other 44 awards, representing almost €182 million from the EIC ‘Accelerator pilot’, will be invested in start-ups and innovative small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to build and scale up their innovations. In addition to financial support, these companies will receive a wide range of coaching, mentoring and advisory/business acceleration services. For the second time, the EIC Accelerator pilot has offered the option of direct equity investments in addition to the grant support. 21 out of the 44 Accelerator beneficiaries have been awarded this new so-called ‘blended finance’ support (grant and equity), with an estimated average equity support of €4.61 million per beneficiary. More information is available here.