H2020-EIC Accelerator pilot –SME Instrument - Green Deal

1. Specific challenge

The Green Deal proposal put forward by the European Commission set the stage for an era of increased ambition towards sustainable development. It aims to make Europe the world’s first climate-neutral continent and leader in circular economy and clean technologies. This goes hand in hand with a decisive effort to preserve and restore ecosystems and rural areas. Research and innovation will be a key supporting feature of such comprehensive strategy.  Such ambition is fully justified by the challenges lying ahead of us. For example, compared to the current situation in the EU, achieving the current 2030 climate and energy targets requires decarbonisation at a speed at least six times faster and additional annual investments of around €260 billion.  This EIC Accelerator topic contributes to implement the Green Deal goals. It aims to foster impact investing by supporting the development and market roll-out of innovations that can tilt our socio‑economic systems in a more sustainable path.

2. Scope

  • Finance:  The EIC Accelerator supports the development of business concepts into market-‑ready[1] innovations (new or disruptive technologies, products, processes, services and business models) and their roll-out.  This Green Deal topic specifically concentrates on those innovations that fuel the societal transition towards sustainability while supporting EU’s competitiveness and leadership in clean technologies.The topic targets high-risk, high-‑potential small- and medium-‑sized enterprises (including startups) ‑from any sector provided that they contribute to Green Deal goals (as explained in ‘expected impact’). Projects dedicated to increase the efficiency of fossil fuels technologies or fossil fuels use are ineligible. Support may be provided in the form of a grant or blended finance (combining grant and equity).
    • Grant only funding (funding rate 70%) ranges from €0.5 million up to €2.5 million.
    • Under the blended finance option, the grant component is limited to €2.5 million combined with an equity component of up to €15 million.[2] Duly justified higher or lower amounts can be requested too.

Proposals with activities up to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 8 may be funded by grants or blended finance. Close to market activities (TRL 9 or above) can only be financed by equity participation (as long as the proposal remains non‑bankable).

Activities could, for example, include product/service development, trials, prototyping, validation, demonstration and testing in real-world conditions, and market replication. If the activity concerns a primarily technological innovation, a TRL 5/6 or above is required for primarily technological innovation or the equivalent for non-technological innovation. Essential for the innovation project can be subcontracted. Proposals must be based on a strategic business plan and specify the project’s success criteria and expected outcomes (as specified in ‘expected impact’).  Particular attention must be paid to IP protection and ownership, convincing evidence or measures to ensure the possibility of commercial exploitation must be presented (often known as 'freedom to operate'). Regulatory and standardisation issues must also be addressed. Projects should normally take 12 to 24 months to complete but could be longer in exceptional and well-justified cases.

  • Business Acceleration Services:  Business Acceleration Services on the ‘Green Deal’ will be provided in line with standard EIC Accelerator pilot (SME Instrument – phase 2), as described above.

3. Expected impact

Projects must support the Green Deal implementation by significantly contributing (and proposals must quantitatively estimate that contribution) to at least one of the following sustainability goals:

  • Increasing the EU’s climate mitigation and/or adaptation ambition;
  • Supplying clean, affordable and secure energy;
  • Transitioning of industry to a clean and/or circular economy (including waste prevention and/or recycling);
  • Building and renovating in an energy and resource efficient way;
  • Accelerating the shift to sustainable and smart mobility;
  • Transition to a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system;
  • Preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • Realising a zero pollution ambition and a toxic-free environment.

Simultaneously, projects shall do no significant harm to any of these objectives and should enhance European Union’s competitiveness and leadership in clean technologies.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Clean Energy
SME Instrument
EIC Pilot
Blue Growth

[1]The Green Deal topic of the EIC Accelerator is restricted to phase 2.

[2]Please note that UK-based legal entities are eligible to participate in the grant part only.

Geographical Coverage: EuropeanSector of Activity: