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E50k for 10 Irish SMEs from EU grant

Thursday, July 24 14:25:34

Ten Irish small and medium firms will gain as the EU Commission today announced the first results of its new E3 billion SME Instrument to help innovative firms get ideas from the lab to the market.

The ten Irish SMEs are out of a total of 155 from 21 countries (EU Member States or countries associated to Horizon 2020) who will each receive E50,000 to finance feasibility studies to develop their innovation strategy. In addition, SMEs can benefit from up to three days of business coaching.

Spanish SMEs were particularly successful in the first round, with 39 proposals selected, followed closely by SMEs from the UK and Italy. In total, there were 2,666 applications for the first grants.

Successful applicants will be formally notified in August by the Executive Agency for SMEs (EASME) which manages the programme.

Maire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "The response to the new SME Instrument is encouraging. There is clearly demand out there for this kind of support. We hope many of the business plans being financed will mature to become real products and services, generating growth and jobs for our economies. We want the champions of innovation to grow!"

The SME Instrument is a key element of the funding for small businesses available under Horizon 2020. Worth around E3 billion over seven years, it offers fast and simple grants for business innovation feasibility studies (Phase 1) and demonstration projects (Phase 2). Investment-mature concepts can in addition benefit from business development advice and other support services (Phase 3).

Through the SME Instrument the European Union wants to finance the most innovative small companies, with a high growth potential. The application process is easy but only the very best projects can expect to receive funding. Eligible topics are set out in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme on 'Innovation in SMEs'.

For more visit www.businessworld.ie