SME Instrument: Frequent doubts of candidates

Image result for SME instrumentMany of the companies that plan to innovate have doubts about European aid such as Horizon 2020. In this and other blogs, we will discuss the frequent questions that companies have regarding the SME instrument.

We start with those who choose to finance the SME Instrument.

Who can apply for the SME Instrument?

Only for PYMES with profit motive, or consortiums of SMEs with profit motive. All applicants must be legally established in one of the 28 countries of the European Union or in a country associated with HORIZON2020. Other collaborators, such as large companies and research centers, may be involved as third parties, usually through a subcontracting relationship, without necessarily being established in the European Union or being from a country associated with Horizonte2020.

Can I choose as an individual entity?

The answer is Yes, if you are an SME established in a country of the European Union or in a country associated with Horizon2020.

Which is better, request the help as an individual company or as a consortium?

There is no better option than the other. It is a decision of your own to decide how you can best implement the project based on different factors. The differences between an individual project and a consortium project lie in elements such as project ownership and responsibilities, intellectual property agreements or financial viability of the project, and not only in the distribution of tasks.

What type of SME is the SME Instrument focused on?

The European Commission looks for highly innovative, ambitious companies with the potential to develop, grow and have an impact in the European Union or internationally. It is recommended that companies can demonstrate an experience and journey in the field in which they want to develop projects. Interested companies that have a development strategy, that pursue a technological break.

How do I prove that I am an SME according to the EU?

Here you can see the definition of SMEs according to the European Union. If you still do not understand, you can check the extended EU guide here. In addition, the Horizon 2020 beneficiaries register includes a self-assessment questionnaire for SMEs.

How do I register as an SME and what documents do I need to send?

There is no need to send any document. Companies must complete an online questionnaire if they want to register in the SME Instrument in the participant portal. It is a self-assessment questionnaire about your status as a European SME. Only after registration can you start applying for funding. If a company does not agree with the result of the self-assessment, it can request a manual verification. In this case, the validation service will require all the necessary documents for the evaluation.

Is it possible for a start-up (without balance) to request the aid?

Start-ups are not excluded. However, the SME Instrument is not designed to support the creation of companies, but to support companies with innovative ideas and marketing potential in Europe or the world.

Is there a limit on the number of applications or projects that a company can do, or take part at the same time?

YES. You can only make one request, or take part in one project at a time, either in phase 1 or phase 2, either as sole applicant, leader or collaborator in a consortium.
If the applicant or any member of the consortium has already requested funding from the SME Instrument, it is not possible to send any other proposal until the applicant receives confirmation that their project will not be funded. If the proposal has been accepted to finance, during the duration of the project it is not possible to send any other proposal, since this company is not eligible to be financed.