SMEs have been encouraged to apply for millions of euro of funding from the Horizon 2020 SME fund.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 99% of businesses in the EU so it is crucial to support their growth and innovation.
However, one of the most important issues facing SMEs is their difficulty accessing finance. Ireland has been particularly successful at accessing funding from Europe for our Small and Medium sized business sector. We have the highest success rate in Europe for the Horizon 2020 SME fund with a 16% success rate compared to a European average of 6%.
SME Companies can receive €50,000 in funding under phase 1 and from €500,000 to €2.5 million under phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 SME funding. In total, 50 Irish SME companies have been awarded Horizon 2020 SME Phase 1 funding since its launch in 2014.
That’s an incredible achievement and is driving innovation and jobs growth in regional parts of Ireland. Horizon 2020 funding from Europe is specifically for research and innovation and encourages our SME companies to innovate and develop new ideas and technologies.
The funding is running until 2020 with a total budget of €75 billion, Ireland has set a national target of securing €1.25 billion in EU Horizon 2020 funding. To date, Ireland has secured funding of €424 million, representing 1.66% of the total EU budget committed.
The European Regional Development fund supports our network of 31 Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) which fund start-up companies and new businesses throughout Ireland. Your local LEO will have a range of supports including start up grants, money for feasibility studies, grants for equipment, marketing costs and employment grants. The LEO offices provide training, supports and advice as well as grant aid –which comes directly from EU funds.