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Monday, May 8, 2023


Through the highly popular EIC Accelerator programme, the European Commission supports only the most innovative SMEs to develop and scale up ground-breaking innovations. Serious innovation plans? Act now, as there are only two full rounds of submissions left this year, with the next closing date being 7 June.

EIC Accelerator: ‘blended funding’ is popular

The EIC Accelerator programme supports highly innovative start-ups and SMEs in developing new innovative products, services and business models. Apart from grants, the programme also offers equity investment. Companies can opt for grants only or a combination of both, also known as ‘blended finance’. That the demand for blended finance remains persistently high is shown by the results of the first full round in 2023:

Applications submittedNumber of companies with ‘mixed funding’Number of companies with ‘grant only’:Number of companies with ‘grant first’:Total amount requested:
476 290 (61%) 80 (17%) 103 (22%) 2.8 billion euros

The European Innovation Council received 476 complete applications from start-ups and SMEs for the first round of the EIC Accelerator with closing date 11 January. Mixed funding remains in high demand – 290 companies (61% of all applicants) asked for grants combined with equity investments. Eighty companies asked for grants only and 103 companies asked for grants first, with the possibility of equity investment at a later stage. Selection decisions are expected this month.

EIC Accelerator: who can apply?

Individual start-ups and SMEs (including spin-outs), individuals (planning to start a start-up/SME) and, in exceptional cases, small mid-caps (250-499 employees) can apply. The grant is up to EUR 2.5 million for technological development (TRL 5/6 to 9). In addition, there is an investment component of EUR 0,5 to 15 million for scale-up and other activities. Applying for ‘grant only’ or ‘grant first’ is possible under certain conditions. Only small mid-caps can use the investment component as a follow-up to ‘grant first’.

Deadlines and budget

An application process consists of two parts. Parties can submit short applications on a continuous basis. If at least two reviewers successfully assess a short application, they may prepare a full application. In 2023, there are four deadlines for full applications: 11 January, 22 March, 7 June and 4 October. That means two deadlines remain. Do you have very serious innovation plans? Then now is the time to act.

The indicative grant budget for EIC Accelerator is over €1.13 billion in 2023 and is divided between the categories as follows:

Open (€611,75 million):

There are no predetermined thematic priorities and this category is open to proposals in any technology area except military applications.

Challenges (€523,49 million):

Accelerator Challenges are defined for areas where breakthrough technologies or breakthrough innovations from start-ups or SMEs can have a major impact on EU goals. In 2023, these objectives include REPowerEU (affordable, secure and sustainable energy for Europe), food security, industrial technology roadmaps, the Health Emergency Response Authority (HERA) and some Horizon Europe missions:

  • new biomarker-based tests for personalised cancer treatment
  • aerosol and surface disinfection for pandemic management
  • energy storage
  • new European Bauhaus and digitisation of architecture, engineering and construction for decarbonisation
  • emerging semiconductor or quantum technology components
  • new technologies for resilient agriculture
  • customer-centric, innovative space technologies and services

What’s new in 2023?

The 2023 EIC Accelerator programme includes a number of new elements following the experience gained from the 2022 EIC work programme:

  • adjustments to the conditions for resubmission
  • continuation of the pilot allowing applications for investment components of more than €15 million.

Wondering how we can help you?

Are you interested in support from the EIC Accelerator? Our experts will be happy to help you (further) shape your innovation. And with a success rate of twice the market average, they will also be happy to help you draw up a promising application. Write an email to

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