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European Innovation Council
News article26 February 20211 min read

European Innovation Council pilot - €176 million to 38 start-ups and SMEs set to shape the future

The European Commission has selected 38 of Europe’s most promising start-ups and SMEs to receive funding of between €1 and €17 million to develop and scale up ground-breaking innovations in Europe.

This is the last round of funding in the pilot phase of the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator and it received over 4200 applications, the highest number ever. The innovations include a revolutionary device for rapid detection of sepsis, innovative robotic sorting technology to reduce hazardous waste and the first indoor plant light that can be controlled cutting energy costs.

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said:

This huge demand for European Innovation Council support demonstrates that Europe has no shortage of excellent ideas for breakthrough technologies and innovations. The new blended financing model is filling a funding gap and the fully-fledged EIC will enable many more of these visionary researchers and entrepreneurs to realise their dreams in Europe.

The start-ups and SMEs selected for the EIC Accelerator Pilot come from 18 countries, with the highest number from Germany, France and Israel and 21% are female CEOs.

The companies were selected following a highly competitive evaluation by external experts. The highest scoring 134 applications were then invited to pitch online to an independent jury of experts, investors and entrepreneurs. Each company will receive a grant of up to €2.5 million to support the development of their innovation, and 19 of them are set to also receive a direct equity investment of up to €15 million from the recently established EIC Fund. As well as the financial support, the start-ups and SMEs will have access to coaching, networking and business acceleration services to help them build their businesses. The pilot scheme has gone from strength to strength and under the EIC Accelerator a total of 293 companies have been selected for funding worth over €1 billion since December 2019.

 In addition to projects selected for funding, 1291 start-ups and SMEs were independently assessed as meeting all the criteria for EIC funding and will be awarded the Seal of Excellence to support their access to other funding sources.

Following the successful EIC pilot phase, the fully-fledged EIC with a budget of €10 billion, will be launched in early 2021 under the next research an innovation programme Horizon Europe (2021-2027).  It will include simpler applications, improved funding opportunities and a wider range of supporting services and networks.


Publication date
26 February 2021