SME Instrument (Horizon 2020)

The SME instrument is part of the Horizon 2020 program. The scheme serves as a quick boost for SME entrepreneurs with breakthrough innovation.


One part of the European Research and Innovation Program Horizon 2020 is the SME Instrument, aimed at supporting pioneering innovation projects of European SMEs. The SME Instrument consists of financing and innovation support throughout the development cycle, and was created to give the most innovative and eye-catching developers a boost.

The SME Instrument consists of three phases:

  • Phase 1: Feasibility study (optional)
    In this phase the technical feasibility of a project is tested.
  • Phase 2: Innovation project
    This phase consists of activities which develop innovation so that it can be brought onto the market and ready for investment.
  • Phase 3: Business Acceleration
    In this phase, the innovation in the commercial field is stimulated by, among other things, assisting with contacts with investors and customers. The focus of this phase is coaching.

Only the best proposals are given access to the SME Instrument – in this competitive environment it is therefore important to be familiar with the main focus points.

Who can submit?

  • SME entrepreneurs with innovations which have the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing markets
  • The SME entrepreneur has ambition to expand to international markets
  • SMEs are located in the EU or in a country related to Horizon 2020


What do you receive with a successful application for the SME Instrument?

  • In phase 1 the subsidy amounts to € 50,000 per project
  • In phase 2, the subsidy amounts to 70% of the eligible costs, which can amount to € 2,500,000 per project
  • In phase 3 you receive business acceleration coaching.


The deadlines of the SME Instrument for 2019:

Phase 1

  • 13 February 2019
  • 7 May 2019
  • 5 September 2019

Phase 2

  • 9 January 2019
  • 3 April 2019
  • 5 June 2019
  • 9 October 2019

Do you wish to know more about this subsidy scheme?