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The EIC Accelerator is aimed at existing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) including start-ups and spin-outs, as well as applicants who intend to start an SME. The programme is aimed at companies or planned start-ups in EU Member States and in countries associated with the Framework Programme.   

The EIC Accelerator funding continues the two other instruments of the EIC, Pathfinder and Transition, and supports innovation activities from TRL 5/6 as well as market introduction and growth of the company. Innovations with high European and international market potential and the need for venture capital financing are the focus of the funding.

A special feature of the EIC Accelerator is that funding is provided in the form of mixed support, consisting of a grant component and an equity component. The grant component subsidises innovation activities and reimburses 70% of costs up to a maximum of EUR 2.5 million. The equity component consists of a long-term provision of venture capital from the EIC Fund of up to EUR 15 million.

Applications are submitted in a three-stage process consisting of a brief application, a full application and an interview. The submission of a brief application is not bound to deadlines, but can be made at any time. There is also the possibility of a fast track for certain ongoing Horizon 2020 or Horizon Europe projects, which provides for assessment in the context of a project review instead of a brief proposal.