Innovation is the only way to win.

Steve Jobs

Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot

Start-ups and small and medium enterprises which are established in the European Union countries or Horison 2020 associated countries, including Armenia,can receive EU fundingfor breakthrough innovation programs with market potential as a part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot project. EIC pilotprovides only grant support (as a former SME Instrument) together with blended finance (grant - combined with capital investment)․Financing the EIC pilot phase will boost the company's rapid growth and market-driven innovation․It will also stimulate the growth of innovative companies,providing them with business acceleration services.

EIC Pilot serves as an umbrella for several EU funding instruments:

thus creating a single window for financing disruptive, market-driven innovations.

Enhanced EIC Pilot finances high potential and high risk innovations developed by SMEs with the aim of enabling the entrepreneurs to create completely new markets or disrupt existing ones.

 

EIC Accelerator pilot

Enhanced EIC pilot separates EIC Accelerator pilot․The latter provides only grant support (former SME Instrument), as well as blended financial support (a combination of grant and equity funding).

EIC Accelerator supports those small and medium innovative enterprises which have high risk and high potential and are seeking to develop and commercialize such new products, services and business models, which can drive economic growth and shape new markets, or disrupt existed ones in Europe and across the world. EIC Accelerator pilot provides full-cycle business innovation support. It also offers coaching and mentoring services.

 

What kind of support is available?

The EIC Accelerator Pilot supports close to market activates with the aim of fostering market shaping disruptive innovations. The direct targets of this project are  high growth potential innovative SMEs, that have clear commercial aspirations.

The EIC Accelerator Pilot offers the following to small and medium enterprises:

  • Business innovative grants for innovation development: from 500.000 to 2,5 million Euro (70% of total costs as a rule),
  • Maximum 15 million Euro equity funding for each company,
  • Free of charge business coaching (optional) to support and enhance the company's innovative capabilities and to direct the project to strategic needs;
  • Access to other business acceleration services and easier access to risk financing programs, thereby facilitating commercial operation of innovation.

 

Only grant and blended finance

EIC Accelerator Pilot is open from June 6, 2019. It provides only grant support, as well as support in the form of blended finance (this combines grant and equity funding).

The funding is available for innovative projects that have a meaningful and strategic business plan (potentially developed and partially funded through Phase 1 of the EIC Accelerator Pilot).

Financing activates can be of several types: prototyping, miniaturization, growth, design, presentation validation, testing, demonstration, pilot development, market replication validation, including other activities, that aim to bring innovation to investment status and market enter maturity.

The evaluation of submitted applications is carried out in two ways: remote and face-to-face (via interview) by 2 independent expert committees.

 

Financing amount

  • Grant only. From  500,000 to 2.5 million Euro or more (which covers 70% of costs).
  • Equity funding. Up to 15 million Euro for individual innovation projects.

Duration: Usually 1-2 years

The Result

  • An extremely innovative product, process or service that is ready to penetrate the market,
  • A business innovative plan, that will incorporate a commercialization strategy and financing planin terms of market entry (such as how to attract private investors, if possible).

Who can apply?

If:

  • You are an innovative small / medium entrepreneur,
  • Have an innovative idea, that targets new markets and can promote your company to grow,
  • You are looking for sustainable financing to support you in the final stages of your company development,
  • You can use business development resources and coaching to move your company forward,

then EIC Accelerator pilot is for you.

If you have a brilliant idea or innovation but aren't sure which funding scheme suits you, then visit the EIC Financing page and take advantage of the EIC Wizard Interactive Financing Assistant features. It will help you to find the best solution for your company.

 

Simple steps to apply for the Project

To apply for the Project, you first need to register your company in the system by visiting: https://ec.europa.eu/info/funding-tenders/opportunities/portal/screen/how-to-participate/participant-registerand getting the PIC code for your company.

  1. Continuous open competitions with cut-off deadlines per year,
  2. Offer / application submission - 3-month interval deadlines (electronic submission via Funding & Tenders Portal), at the same time a new unified design for both versions with additional financial elements has been developed,
  3. Remote evaluation by independent experts - about 6 weeks.
  4. Pitch deck for interview – for positively evaluated application Projects,
  5. Interview by experienced innovators / investors with highly evaluated applicants - about 6 weeks for interview results,
  6. Applicants are positively rated for blended financing and the additional information on equity funding may be required;
  7. Grant Agreement signature - Approximately 2-3 months to sign the Grant Agreement.

More details on how to apply to the Project, as well as the application form can be found here։ http://eenarmenia.am/files/uploads/2019/10/987-f14fb55e2ec915702e872cb65449b230.pdf

 

Evaluation criteria

The following 3 basic criteria are used to evaluate the proposals:

- 33% for project impact - how the offered innovation is will ensure considerable demand for a product, service or model;

- 33% for project excellence – how the presented high-risk / high-potential innovation outstrips leading-edge technology in the field;

- 33% for project quality and efficiency of implementation – how the innovative product will work and which kind of professionals are involved for that purpose.

If the company have requested an equity component they will be subject to due diligence

The applicant is informed on the results within 4 months after submission of the application, the grant is provided within 6 months, and the equity funding is providing within 6 months starting from legal and financial expertise (typically one month after the evaluation decision).

 

The evaluation is carried out by experts in technology, business and financial in two steps:

Step 1 –remote evaluation;

Step 2 – face-to-face interview.

The 3 possible outcomes of the evaluation are:

- "Go" decision,

- "No go" decision,

- ‘'Change into blended finance’' decision.

 

Expertise on blended funding can be carried out:

  • For Applications of blended funding only,
  • ByEIC fund,

The purpose is to identify investments tailored to the needs of the company and the Project.

The expertise mainly focuses on the relevance of the evaluation and the level of risk, as well as:

  • Approves the size and structure of the investments,
  • Evaluates totalfinancial efforts,
  • Capital tranches and key indicators(milestones).

The additional information request can be made depending on a specific case.

The purpose of organisation of a meeting with co-investors is to attract private investment. A trusted venture capital and investor group is created, and the company is represented by venture capitalists, who are interested in investing. In any case, the company makes the final decision.

 

Services offered to project beneficiaries

1.Business acceleration

Aiming to facilitate the commercial operation of innovative activities, the EIC Accelerator pilot offers business acceleration services. This includes further investment-ready development that connects private investors and clients through broker activities and events (including fairs), support to apply for EU risk financing, and a number of other innovation support activities and services, which can be offered through Enterprise Europe Network.

 

2.Coaching

You can get business coaching services, that will help you to grow your business, if you are an EIC Accelerator pilot beneficiary.There is a possibility of 12 days coaching service.The coaching covers the following topics: business development, organizational development, collaboration and financing.

3.Mentoring

The Project also offers mentoring services to individual founders, CEOs, and executives of EIC Accelerator pilot beneficiaries.

The mentoring aims to develop managerial skills such as flexibility, persistence, and strategic insight.

The mentoring scheme includes face-to-face meetings with experienced entrepreneurs who will share their experience and provide unbiased support.