‘We want to create an ecosystem that gives entrepreneurs every opportunity to create a world leading company…’
The European Commission has used several online events to launch the European Innovation Council (EIC). With a budget of €10 billion over the period 2021-2027, funding will be available to develop and expand breakthrough innovations.
The European Commission says the EIC has several features that make it unique. These include the combining of research on emerging technologies with an accelerator programme and a dedicated equity fund to scale up innovative start-ups and small and medium sized businesses. The equity fund, known as the European Innovation Council Fund, has a budget of €3 billion. The EIC also has a team of Programme Managers, responsible for ‘developing visions for technological and innovation breakthroughs, managing EIC projects, and bringing together stakeholders to put these visions into reality.’
Speaking at one of the events, held on 18 March, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission said; ‘We want to create an ecosystem that gives entrepreneurs every opportunity to create a world leading company.’
Commenting on funding von der Leyen added: ‘The European Innovation Council is also part of our answer to the equity funding gap in Europe. Currently, many European start-ups cannot find the risk capital they need. Experts estimate that this funding gap is as large as €70 billion…With the EIC Fund, the Commission is for the first time investing directly in start-ups and SMEs.’
During 2021; funding will be available under a number of schemes. These schemes include the EIC Accelerator, with financing worth €1 billion for start-ups and SMEs to develop and scale up ‘high impact innovations with the potential to create new markets or disrupt existing ones.’ The EIC Pathfinder has €300 million, which will award up to €4 million in grants to multi-disciplinary research teams undertaking projects that have the potential to lead to technological breakthroughs. The EIC also has a number of prizes to ‘celebrate those shaping the future of innovation in Europe.’
The EIC held an applicants day providing information on how the EIC works, who is eligible and how to apply for funding.