A support organisation for UK SMEs seeking to access funding from the EU has revealed that €3 billion will be made available from 1st January for SME new product development. Following a series of briefing meetings held in Brussels, Pera Technology can reveal more details on the multi-billion-euro fund, which is set to take the record for the largest amount of money ever made available for SME new product development. The Dedicated SME Instrument, part of the €82 billion research and innovation programme Horizon 2020, will allow individual British businesses to claim up to €3 million to spend on new product development.
As opposed to previous budgets, Horizon 2020 does not require SME businesses to join larger consortiums, the application process has been made simpler and the European Commission will be obliged to provide a response to funding applications within 6 months of submission.
In order to be applicable for the larger research and development fund businesses must demonstrate market demand, and there is a further €50,000 lump sum available to business for this purpose. SMEs can also claim for up to 15 days free-of-charge coaching to help drive their product to market.
Paul Tranter, Chief Executive of new product development contractor Pera Technology, which has secured in excess of €87 million for SME businesses as part of the previous research and innovation programme funds from the European Union, says: “Never before has this level of funding been made available to small and medium-sized business for new product development purposes.
“One of the key differences between Horizon 2020, its predecessors and other public funding options is its commercial awareness. SMEs receive all of the money to spend as they see fit, with a further 15 days of free coaching paid for directly by the European Commission. Only products that demonstrate a clear commercial demand will receive funding, meaning it’s those products closer to market that are likely to be most successful. However, for companies earlier on in the development process there is additional funding available for initial research purposes.
“The UK is in an enviable position, having overtaken the two largest economies in Europe in terms of bidding success. However, we can’t rest on our laurels. The larger amount of funding and fewer restrictions associated with Horizon 2020 will see more businesses than ever before applying.
“The European Commission has identified small and medium-sized business as the key engine for economic growth, and rightly so. There are 20 million SME businesses in the EU and 4.8 million in the UK alone; growing each of these businesses by even just one or two employees will have a significant impact on the economy.
“In order for businesses to benefit they need to prepare now. Pera Technology can work with SMEs whether they are ready to apply for full research, development and funding in January or looking to develop ideas and apply for funding up to 2020.”
Horizon 2020 will become live as of 1 January 2014 and will run for the next seven years. To find out more visit www.peratechnology.com.