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Europe’s innovation kitchen – SME instrument report

The 2018 edition of the SME Instrument report reveals the ins and outs of Europe’s most wanted innovation funding programme for small businesses and presents you with its best successes.


Since its start in 2014, the SME Instrument has invested €1.3 billion in a unique selection of 3 200 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to get their breakthrough innovations faster on the market. With a network of 750 international business coaches and a growing community of global business and finance partners from the corporate and VC world, the SME Instrument gives the right business support and coaching to get companies ready to scale up and go global.

In 2017 SME Instrument-funded companies accounted for 10% of all tech IPOs in Europe and the follow-up equity investments into companies funded by the SME Instrument doubled within one year only. Each €1 invested by the SME Instrument generated €1.6 of private investment and this is just a glimpse of the companies’ potential. Companies funded under Phase 2 of the programme have benefitted from a 118% increase in turnover and a 158% increase in employment two years down the line.

Looking ahead, in 2018 the SME Instrument has become a central pillar of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot that focuses even more on market-creating innovation. The SME Instrument brings forward a new evaluation process involving a Jury of investment experts responsible for selecting the most innovative small businesses for funding. This report offers first-hand insights into growth trends and profiles of the companies funded under the SME Instrument. The report presents cumulative data from 2014 to the end of 2017.

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