European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme

6 December 2022 - 4 October 2023

The EIC Accelerator Programme is to develop and scaleup innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones (TRL 5-9). Eligible to apply are Start-ups and SMEs, individuals intending to launch a SME and small mid-caps (can apply for equity only). Available are up to €2.5 million of grants, up to €15 million of equity investments, coaching & mentoring, networking.

What is the EIC Accelerator ?

The EIC Accelerator is a funding programme under Horizon Europe that offers support to start-ups and SMEs that:

  • have a innovative, game changing product, service or business model that could create new markets or disrupt existing ones in Europe and even worldwide,
  • have the ambition and commitment to scale up,
  • are looking for substantial funding, but the risks involved are too high for private investors alone to invest

Grant funding 

Non-dilutive, up to € 2.5 million, for innovation activities only (TRL 5-8), to be completed within 24 months.

  • Grant only – for companies aiming to reach the TRL 8 at the end of the project and continue further development without the EIC support
  • Grant first – for companies reaching TRL 8 at the end of the project and possibility to apply for dilutive equity to reach TRL 9

Direct investment

Dilutive, up to € 15 million, for market deployment (TRL 9), «patient capital» principle with a 7-10 years perspective.

  • Blended finance: a mix of non-dilutive grant for innovation activities (TRL 5-8) and dilutive equity for market deployment (TRL 9).
  • Investment only: for mid caps companies and companies that have received a «grant only».

EIC Accelerator Challenges

For projects that match any of the pre-defined topics of the EIC Accelerator Challenges. The overall budget for the EIC Accelerator Challenges in 2023 is €524.7 millions.

EIC Accelerator Open

For projects that don’t match the EIC Accelerator topics, the EIC Accelerator Open is open to proposals in any field of technology. The overall budget for the EIC Accelerator Open in 2023 is €613 million.

Extensive support

Access to a range of tailor-made Business Acceleration Services (BAS) for beneficiaries to leverage investments:

  • Access to global partners 
  • Access to coaches, mentors, expertise and training
  • Access to innovation ecosystem and peers

Streamlined application process

EIC Accelerator selection process comprises 3 steps. Each step passed successfully give access to the next step:

  •     Writing a short proposal
  •     Submission of a full proposal
  •     Face to face interview with the EIC Jury

EIC Work Programme 2023

The EIC  Work Programme 2023 is a critical document that defines the scope, budget elilgibility, deadlines for applications and detail conditions for each of the EIC programmes: EIC Pathfinder, EIC Accelerator and EIC Transition. Read the document carefully before you decide to apply. 

Who can apply?

Applicants from EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme (which includes all Western Balkans):

  • Single start-up or SME (including spin-outs) 
  • Small mid-caps (fewer than 499 employees)  in need of rapid scale up of the TRL 9 activity. Mid-caps can apply for investment only.
  • Natural persons or legal entities willing to set up an SMEs or a mid-cap. 

Applicants from third countries:

  • Applicants from third countries may relocate their company in order to become eligible. This must be done before submitting the full application (Step 2).
  • Applicants from the United Kingdom can apply for the “grant only” scheme

Concurrent applications:

    Applicants may submit only one application to the EIC Accelerator. Additional applications can be submitted after receiving the results of the original submission.

The EIC welcomes applications from innovators in all EU Member States and countries associated to the Horizon Europe programme. It particularly welcomes applications from startups and SMEs with female CEOs.

How to apply for the EIC Accelerator?

Please note that the procedure described underneath is undergoing changes due to a migration of the AI platform to the Electronic Submission System hosted on the Funding and tender opportunities portal. For more information, please read the related news article

The application process consists of 3 steps:

    Step 1
    Write your short proposal

    Short proposals may be submitted at any time and which will be evaluated remotely by EIC expert evaluators on a first come, first served basis;

  • A 5-page form where you must summarise your proposal and respond to a set of questions on your innovation, your potential market and your team;
  • A pitch-deck of up to ten slides in pdf format;
  • A video pitch of up to three minutes where the core members of your team (up to three people) should provide the motivation for your proposal.

You will normally receive feedback within 4 weeks. If your application meets the basic criteria for EIC Accelerator funding, you will be invited to prepare a full proposal to submit to one of the periodic cut-off dates for Accelerator Open or Accelerator Challenge funding.

    Step 2
    Prepare your full proposal

    Prepare your full proposal on the EIC AI-based platform, which includes a methodology to help you to develop your detailed business-plan and a number of automatic checks and feedback to guide you through the process. The full proposal consists of that full business plan and full information on your company’s finances and structure. You will also need to propose a set of milestones to be used as a basis for the EIC to manage the funding for your innovation

    Next deadlines: 
        October 4 2023

    Step 3
    Pitch your innovation

    If your application meets all of the criteria, will be invited to the face to face interviews with an EIC jury as the final step in the selection process.

    Next interviews:
        November 27 to December 8

Applications that meet all the criteria at the remote evaluation stage and are assessed positively by the EIC jury but not recommended for funding, will be awarded a Seal of Excellence to help them secure funding from other sources. 

For more information, the EIC work programme and the Guide for Applicants, please see the source page of this call announcement: