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Horizon Europe - It's time to pitch: €1.5 billion for innovative start-ups & SMEs


As of March 18, the EU's most innovative start-ups and SMEs have begun competing for their share of the €1.5 billion in Horizon Europe funding. With the launch of the first three calls for proposals yesterday, pitches can now be made to the European Innovation Council (EIC) at any time. If your pitch is successful, the two most important dates for your calendar are June 9 and October 6, 2021: the cut-off points for full applications.

Of particular interest this year are the €592.5 million available for start-ups and the additional €495.1 million for challenge-driven calls in targeting areas including the green deal, healthcare and digital technologies.

Following the successful three-year pilot of the EIC under Horizon 2020, which saw over 5,000 projects funded, the EIC will continue to manage equity investments while grant funding will be provided by EISMEA – the new EU agency combining the EIC with the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises from April 1.

Although the EIC will begin accepting and evaluating proposals, the signing of grant agreements and the grants themselves are on hold until the Horizon Europe programme is approved by the European Parliament – but we expect this very soon.

With only ~6% of applicants successfully securing funding, these calls are extremely competitive.

Having a great project is only a starting point. To reach the final selection stage requires excellence in bid management and expertise in EU proposal writing. To ensure the highest possible evaluation and the greatest chance of success, get in touch with our Bid Management team. 

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