Help for SMEs to access EU finance

Horizon 2020 has a particular focus on small businesses with 20% of the programme’s budget allocated for SMEs. Successful, innovative SMEs play a critical role in developing a more competitive economy with higher employment which is why the UK and the European Union have taken this ‘bottom up’ or business led approach.

How can SMEs access Horizon 2020?

Streamlined application procedures, including simpler evaluation criteria based around excellence, implementation and impact, mean that SMEs now have easier access to EU resources and grant funding through the Horizon 2020 programme. Phased financial support is available for projects, from concept and feasibility through to market readiness preparation and eventual market launch. Visit the Funding calls page to view the latest open competitions or the FAQs section for more information.

Help and advice on EU funding for SMEs

There are three NICPs for SMEs within Invest NI. Given the introduction of the SME instrument and the SME focus across many of the other calls, the NICPs are available to help advise and support applications across all themes

  • Dr Joanne Coyle – UK National Contact Point (NCP) for SMEs and NICP for SMEs –  – 028 9069 8807
  • Paul Matthews – NICP for SMEs –  – 028 9069 8837
  • Farha Brahmi – EU R&D Executive (Brussels) –  – 0032 2290 1345
  • Claire Griffin – NICP for SMEs – – 028 9069 8356

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) for SMEs

A European network providing information on European Union programmes and linking businesses and organisations to seek partners for European Union projects (see Enterprise Europe Network).

  • General Enquiries: Debbie Vance  02890698781
  • Innovation and Technology: Andrew Millar  02890698824
  • Commercial and Business Information: Mandy Mills  02890698129

Sources of EU finance for SME research and innovation projects

  • EU SME Instrument: The SME Instrument is a new dedicated SME scheme to fill gaps in funding for early stage, high risk research and development. It targets all types of SMEs and provides support across all areas of innovation, science and technology.
  • Eurostars: The Eurostars programme is targeted at innovative SMEs wanting to take part in collaborative research with partners across Europe and associated countries.