Is the EIC Accelerator really for you?
- Do you have a high-impact innovative product, service or business model that could create new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and even worldwide?
- Are you a start-up or a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) with the ambition and commitment to scale up?
Are you looking for substantial funding, but the risks involved are too high for private investors alone to invest?
Before you take a strategic decision to apply, look carefully at the objectives of the Horizon Europe Work Programme and assess if your project is in line with them. In a nutshell, you need a breakthrough innovation with the potential to create entirely new markets or revolutionise existing ones, a clear ambition to grow at international level, a demonstrated knowledge of your target market and a convincing business plan. It is crucial that you are ready to convince on each and every one of these aspects.
Write to convince evaluators to invest in your business
Evaluators will look at different aspects of your proposal: the technology, market knowledge, commercialisation plan, and the financial angle. Each of the evaluators will look at 3 criteria: excellence, impact and implementation. Make sure your proposal is well balanced and covers all the aspects for each evaluation criteria:
You need to convince the evaluators that your innovation is excellent, that your product, process or service is disruptive, that it has the potential to change the dynamic of the market and possibly to address a societal challenge. Show the added value of your idea and explain why it is viable and better than existing solutions. It is essential that you can demonstrate that the innovation has reached at least TRL 5/6 (i.e. completion of TRL 4).
The protection of intellectual property is also very important and must be explained. Impact: you need to demonstrate that your project will generate revenues, create jobs and has the potential to scale-up your company.
Explain the market conditions and the evolution of the competition. Provide concrete and realistic figures on the market size, the market share, the sales price. Show your projection of sales volume, turnover and number of jobs created in the coming years. Do not forget to describe your commercialisation plan. A key aspect to remember is that you have to demonstrate that your project has a European or international dimension. If it’s targeted only at a national market, it won’t be supported by the EIC Accelerator.
Level of risk, implementation, and need for Union support
While it is important to describe the opportunities, you must also demonstrate that you understand the risks. You need to convince the evaluators that you can make it. Don't forget that, as well as describing technical competence, you'll also need to provide information on commercial competence. Evaluators will assess the credibility of your team and of your work plan.
Make sure you clearly describe how you will organise your team and, if you intend to use external partners to bring competences that you don't have in your company, explain what they will do and what they will bring. Planning is important as well: your project should fit into a realistic time frame.
You must show evidence that you cannot leverage sufficient investments from the market. If your company is a small mid-cap, it will be expected to provide documentary evidence that their bank has refused the financing needed for the project.
Prepare your request for blended finance
If you decide to ask for blended finance - equity investment in addition to your grant - make sure to request the amount in your application. The grant component can finance activities from TRL (technology readiness level) 5/6 to TRL 8 only (the European Commission may recommend lowering the grant amount if activities above TRL 8 are detected). The equity component can finance activities above TRL 8 and co-finance innovation activities.
Get ready to shine at the jury interviews
Make sure that your 10 minute presentation is pitch-perfect, that your slides follow the suggested template and that you are prepared to go into the details of your application during the 35 minutes of questions and answers.
Before applying, check that you are available for an on-line meeting on the interview dates corresponding to the cut-off date of your application
The persons participating in the interview must be directly affiliated to the applicant’s company/legal entity and/or are meant to be working on the project for its entire foreseen duration. Thus participation is limited to:
- employed staff
- board members
Consultants or other third parties must not take part in the interview. Any misrepresentation discovered during or after the interview could result in rejection of a proposal for funding.
Form also matters
Bear in mind that form matters, take the time to review and polish the language, ensuring that your text, figures and ideas are consistent between all submitted documents. While proposals may be written in any EU language, please bear in mind that experts will assess your proposal in the context of a Programme which has the objective of supporting companies with the potential to impact markets in an international/European context.
In the preparation of your proposal, you are requested to select associated keywords from a predefined list. It is of the utmost importance that you select the most relevant keywords corresponding to your proposal with a maximum of three main keywords from a predefined list.
By selecting the most appropriate keywords you ensure that your proposal is attributed to expert-evaluators who have the most relevant thematic knowledge to adequately evaluate it.
Do you need more information?
Have a look at the Guide for Applicants on the Horizon Europe Funding and Tenders Portal.