Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument - ICT

Provides 0.5 - 2.5M € in subsidies for development and demonstration within:

About Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument - ICT

The Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument directly supports European small and medium-sized enterprises with a strong desire to develop, grow, and internationalize their most innovative ideas. The instrument is relevant for high-tech and research driven companies as well as service companies, and SMEs applying in a consortium or alone. With a successful application to the program, companies will receive: 

  • Phase 1: A lump sum of EUR 50,000 towards proof-of-concept and feasibility studies
  • Phase 2: EUR 0.5-2.5M towards innovation development and demonstration activities
  • Support of up to 70% of total project cost

Possibilities with Horizon 2020 SME

Horizon 2020 SME offers funding opportunities for SMEs within a variety of industries, and support is given to the development of innovative ideas to market ready products, processes or services. The program has an overall budget of EUR 3BN which will be distributed to innovative projects in two separate phases.


Phase 1 funding is aimed at exploring and assessing the technical feasibility and commercial potential of breakthrough innovation.

  • Activities include risk assessment, market study, user involvement, Intellectual Property (IP) management, innovation strategy development, partner search, feasibility of concept etc.

Phase 2 funding is aimed at innovation projects supported by a sound and strategic business plan (potentially made possible by phase 1 funding) aimed at commercialisation.

  • Activities include prototyping, miniaturisation, scaling-up, design, performance verification, testing, demonstration, development of pilot lines, market replication, etc.

Requirements for Horizon 2020 SME

There are three primary requirements for a project to be eligible for support from Horizon 2020 SME:

  • Projects need at least one participating SME to apply (An SME has fewer than 250 employees and an annual turnover not exceeding EUR 50M, and/or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding EUR 43M). SMEs may apply alone.
  • No parallel submission or implementation (phase 1 and phase 2) is possible.
  • Phase 2 proposals must be based on an elaborate business plan, with particular attention given to IP protection and ownership as well as commercial exploitation.

Upcoming deadlines

Below are the upcoming deadlines for Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument. Expect 1-2 months for the proposal writing process.


The challenge is to provide support to a large set of high risk innovative Startups and SMEs in the ICT sector. Focus will be on companies proposing disruptive ICT concepts, products and services applying new sets of rules, values and models which ultimately create new markets (e.g. by tackling non consumption) or disrupt existing markets.


The challenge is to help overcome the current gaps in exploitation of promising research results in ICT for Health, Well-being and Ageing well and to stimulate increased availability and market uptake of relevant ICT products and services. This concerns both interoperable and secure eHealth solutions for consumers and institutional healthcare delivery building on standards and new ICT solutions and innovation ecosystems for ageing well building on open software platforms. Particular attention will be given to potential for disruptive innovation and fast market up-take in ICT for health, wellbeing and ageing well.

Can your project get funding from Horizon 2020 Dedicated SME Instrument?

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Can your project get funding?

We can tell you if your project is suited for public funding. Tell us a little bit about your project we can help you identify the funding potential.

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We help you succeed

We help companies obtain public funding by converting good projects to well-prepared applications.

Our services cover the entire application process:

Identifying funding opportunities
We identifying your best funding opportunities
Planning and scoping your project
We plan and scope your project to meet demands
Writing the successful application
We write the application that increases your chance of success