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European Innovation Council

EIC Accelerator

What for
Develop and scaleup innovations
Develop and scaleup innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones (TRL 5-9)
Who can apply
Startups and SMEs
Start-ups and SMEs, individuals intending to launch a SME and small mid-caps (can apply for equity only).
What you get
Grants and investments
Up to €2.5 million of grants, up to €15 million of equity investments, coaching & mentoring, networking.

What is the EIC Accelerator ?

The EIC Accelerator is a funding programme under Horizon Europe that offers support to start-ups and SMEs that:

  • have a innovative, game changing product, service or business model that could create new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and even worldwide,
  • have the ambition and commitment to scale up,
  • are looking for substantial funding, but the risks involved are too high for private investors alone to invest
  • Grant funding 

    Non-dilutive, up to € 2.5 million, for innovation activities only (TRL 5-8), to be completed within 24 months.

    • Grant only - for companies aiming to reach the TRL 8 at the end of the project and continue further development without the EIC support
    • Grant first - for companies reaching TRL 8 at the end of the project and possibility to apply for dilutive equity to reach TRL 9
  • Direct investment

    Dilutive, up to € 15 million, for market deployment (TRL 9), «patient capital» principle with a 7-10 years perspective.

    • Blended finance: a mix of non-dilutive grant for innovation activities (TRL 5-8) and dilutive equity for market deployment (TRL 9).
    • Investment only: for mid caps companies and companies that have received a «grant only».
  • EIC Accelerator Challenges

    For projects that match any of the pre-defined topics of the EIC Accelerator Challenges. The overall budget for the EIC Accelerator Challenges in 2024 is €300 millions.

  • EIC Accelerator Open

    For projects that don't match the EIC Accelerator topics, the EIC Accelerator Open is open to proposals in any field of technology. The overall budget for the EIC Accelerator Open in 2024 is €375 million.

  • Extensive support

    Access to a range of tailor-made Business Acceleration Services (BAS) for beneficiaries to leverage investments:

    • Access to global partners 
    • Access to coaches, mentors, expertise and training
    • Access to innovation ecosystem and peers
  • Streamlined application process

    EIC Accelerator selection process comprises 3 steps. Each step passed successfully give access to the next step:

    • Writing a short proposal
    • Submission of a full proposal
    • Face to face interview with the EIC Jury
EIC work programme 2024 thumbnail
General publications12 December 2023
EIC work programme 2024

The European Innovation Council work programme 2024 opens funding opportunities worth over €1.2 billion for strategic technologies and scaling up companies. The majority is dedicated to SMEs and start-ups to develop and scale up “deep tech” innovations in critical fields such as generative artificial intelligence (AI), space, critical raw materials, semiconductors and quantum technologies.


Who can apply?

Applicants from EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme:

  • Single start-up or SME (including spin-outs) 
  • Small mid-caps (fewer than 499 employees)  in need of rapid scale up of the TRL 9 activity. Mid-caps can apply for investment only.
  • Natural persons or legal entities willing to set up an SMEs or a mid-cap. 

Applicants from third countries:

  • Applicants from third countries may relocate their company in order to become eligible. This must be done before submitting the full application (Step 2).
  • Applicants from the United Kingdom can apply for the "grant only" scheme

Concurrent applications:

  • Applicants may submit only one application to the EIC Accelerator. Additional applications can be submitted after receiving the results of the original submission.

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.

How to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

The application process consists of 3 steps:

  1. Step 1
    Write your short proposal

    Short proposals may be submitted at any time and which will be evaluated remotely by EIC expert evaluators on a first come, first served basis;

    • A 5-page form where you must summarise your proposal and respond to a set of questions on your innovation, your potential market and your team;
    • A pitch-deck of up to ten slides in pdf format;
    • A video pitch of up to three minutes where the core members of your team (up to three people) should provide the motivation for your proposal.

    You will normally receive feedback within 4 weeks. If your application meets the basic criteria for EIC Accelerator funding, you will be invited to prepare a full proposal to submit to one of the periodic cut-off dates for Accelerator Open or Accelerator Challenge funding.

  2. Step 2
    Prepare your full proposal

    If your short proposal received a GO, you have 12 months to prepare your full proposal and submit it to one of the cut-offs.  Prepare your full proposal on Funding and Tenders portal. You will need to follow the structure and provide the information detailed in the templates, define the type of funding, prepare a new pitch deck and some additional documents.


  3. Step 3
    Pitch your innovation

    If your application meets all of the criteria, will be invited to the face to face interviews with an EIC jury as the final step in the selection process.

    Next cut-offs and interviews dates:

    • 13 March 2024 - interviews: 10-14 June 2024
    • 3 October 2024 - interviews: 13-17 January 2025

Applications that meet all the criteria at the remote evaluation stage and are assessed positively by the EIC jury but not recommended for funding, will be awarded a Seal of Excellence to help them secure funding from other sources. 


Guide for applicants - EIC
General publications3 January 2024
Guide for Applicants

This guide aims to assist potential applicants to the EIC Accelerator

General publications7 February 2024
Annexes for applicants to the EIC Accelerator full proposal

These annexes give the opportunity to applicants who received a GO for Short proposal (Step 1) to familiarise themselves with the required information to prepare their full application. The annexes are expected to be available for use on the Funding and Tenders Portal around 15 February.


Apply for the EIC Accelerator


Do you need help ?

Direct submissions

  • Fast Track scheme

    The Fast Track scheme allows specific treatment of proposals that result from existing Horizon Europe or Horizon 2020 projects. Such projects can submit projects directly to the full application stage of the EIC Accelerator subject to a review of the ongoing project.

  • Plug-In scheme

    The Plug-In scheme is equivalent to the Fast Track, except that it applies to proposals that result from existing national or regional programmes. So far, 50 programmes have been certified  for the scheme.