Horizon 2020 SME Instrument funds 66 German Start-ups and SMEs to successfully disrupt Europe

On March 26th, the European Commission has released the official results of the December 17th round of call for proposals for the SME Instrument framework of Horizon 2020. The SME Instrument enables startups and SMEs (small and medium sized firms) to receive EU grants for highly innovative projects. The grants amount to €50000 for Phase 1 and between €500.000 and €2.5 Million for Phase 2. Both are available exclusively to Start-ups and SMEs – 592 projects involving 655 SMEs have been awarded € 29.6 million for Phase 1. 134 Phase 2 proposals were also funded, allocating almost €225.75 million.

In total, in less than 1 year, €255.35 million of EU grants were allocated directly, in cash, to more than 827 Startups and SMEs across Europe to facilitate testing, launching, development and scaling highly innovative products, services and business processes in the marketplace. This is EU grant funding meaning the recipients:

  • do not have to give up any equity or dilute the value of any current or future investments;
  • do not have to share current or future revenues or profits;
  • do not have to pay any interest on the grant amount received;
  • do not have to pay back any amounts in the event that they can not meet their stated grant targets;
  • can receive additional private funding from investors or other sources including national and and regional level grants and loans.

The ODI results December 2014

The most subscribed topic of the Instrument was “Open Disruptive Innovation (ODI)” which saw 890 applications out of a total of 2992 proposals submitted for all topics, i.e. 29,7% of all proposals.


Analysis of the main countries and regions funded through the ODI topic identifies Spain as the country with, overall, the maximum number of SMEs funded (22), followed closely by the Scandinavian countries with Estonia and Norway leading (13). Spanish SMEs also figure as the most funded under the Phase 2 framework (4), while the aggregated figure from the Rest of Europe Countries amounts to funding for 7 phase 1 SMEs and 3 phase 2, making this the most awarded region after Scandinavia. While the results for France (8) and Germany (6) as compared with the December cut-off date are registering a growth, the UK has achieved only half of it previous success rate with only 6 overall proposal awarded under phase 1. Italy then slips back to the bottom of the list with an overall 4 SMEs granted for only phase 1.

Germany chasing Spain, Italy and the UK.

German StartUps and SMEs were mildly successful in these first rounds, with 66 proposals selected in totalHowever, they were left behind by StartUps and SMEs from Spain (170), Italy (119) and the UK (106).

For Phase 1, Germany with 49 SMEs awarded, is positioned beneath Spain (129), Italy(108) and the UK (81).

For Phase 2, with 17 proposals awarded, Germany follows Spain and the UK, both registering the most number of SMEs awarded (25), counting on the same amount of proposal awarded as the Netherlands (17).

Amongst the 34 overall SMEs funded in Germany in the last cut-off date, 5 have been phase 1 ODI proposals, while 1 phase 2 ODI proposal was funded, which means that almost 1 out of 5 SMEs funded in Germany were of innovative ICT proposals.

An in-depth analysis of the 6 German ODI scheme beneficiaries has also revealed that 4 of them were established up to 1,5 years ago. This is encouraging data for newly created ICT Start-ups and SMEs. They can consider the SME Instrument as a viable means of funding for the tough first few years when private funding and risk finance are hard to access.

Tactile technology, firearm safety and multiplayers gaming platform : these are some of the innovative businesses that received SME Instrument funding through this first round of calls for proposals.

Telocate Gmbh through its indoor navigation solution ASSIST offers to people the chance to find their way in buildings using their smartphone. Armatix Gmbh instead is developing a larger, 9-mm calibre smart gun more suited to law-enforcement personnel that will be able to communicate information on when and where it is fired, while Medx, as the only phase 2 proposal awarded in this round, is the first visual reasoning platform for physicians that offers diagnosis decision support at the point of care.