If you have ever thought about applying for EU funding (e.g. Horizon 2020), you have probably felt lost in the maze of information provided. In order to make some things clear, here are some useful points that might help you put your thoughts on track.
Practical information on grants that you should always keep in mind:
1.COSME, a special programme for SMEs
COSME stands for Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. Managed by the European Commission, it is a new programme specifically designed to support SMEs. COSME aims to improve SMEs’ access to finance and markets, support entrepreneurs and promote better conditions for business creation and growth.
The programme facilitates and improves SMEs’ access to finance through two financial instruments:
COSME is managed by the Commission through the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (EASME).
EU-backed small business loans
Support for entrepreneurs and businesses is available through a wide range of EU programmes, via local financial institutions. The “Access to finance” Web portal helps find EU financing for projects such as loans, guarantees, equity funding and many others.
2. Transport, energy and ICT
SMEs are also eligible for funding under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme, which finances projects to fill the missing links in the EU’s energy, transport and digital networks. Eligibility rules are set out in each call for proposals. The Commission manages CEF funding directly through the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA).
3. Research and innovation
SMEs can participate in the new EU research programme Horizon 2020 (H2020) in the following areas:
These Horizon 2020 areas are managed by the Commission through EASM.
The SME instrument targets highly innovative SMEs with a strong ambition to grow and internationalise, regardless of whether they are high-tech, research-driven, social or services providing companies. SMEs can get up to € 2.5 million each in funding for business support and mentoring.
Under the common agricultural policy (CAP), several funding opportunities are available to small companies:
Did you know?
Two main factors determine whether a company is an SME:
a. number of employees and
b. either turnover or balance sheet total;
SMEs may benefit from fewer requirements, or from reduced fees for checking their compliance with EU rules.
1. Common agricultural policy
Direct payments are granted to farmers under certain European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) support schemes. Each EU country establishes the conditions for support in individual operational programmes and is responsible for managing the funds on its own territory.
Funding is also available from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and national/regional and sometimes private sources.
2. Research and innovation
Farmers may also benefit from support in the H2020 area of food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy. Funding opportunities relating to food and diet are listed on the Participant Portal.
3. COSME Programme
Farmers can benefit from some actions of the COSME Programme – see the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan for detailed information. The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) manages the programme.
Funding is available under the European Social Fund for improving employment conditions in rural areas.
Did you know?
Now that you know, get ready for the next 5 steps to get funded:
Step 1: Find the suitable Call for your Proposals
Step 2: Find your project partners or apply as an individual
Step 3: Create an account on the portal for applications
Step 4: Register your organization
Step 5: Submit your project proposal to the Commission
If you have any trouble at any of the last 3 steps, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a specialized consultant that will guide you through the application and approval.