Virtual Event
European Innovation Council Launch Ceremony on 18 March, with the participation of Manuel Heitor, under PPEU21
18-19 March
Key Messages

Overall strapline: European Innovation Council – backing visionary entrepreneurs

Taglines for social media:
#EUeic is the unique mention to be used. No additional mentions/hashtags are to be used.

Overall messages

  • The EIC is Europe’s most ambitious innovation initiative, with over €10 billion to invest in breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations. It contributes to the Europe’s Green Deal and economic recovery package.
  • Unique in the world, combining a “DARPA” approach for advanced technological research with an accelerator to scale up innovative startups and SMEs
  • New EIC Fund is the largest early-stage, deep-tech investor in Europe (over €3 billion) aiming to crowd in other investors
  • Open to support innovators in any field, at any time, from anywhere in Europe. Particular focus on deep tech and disruptive innovations, and attracting more female innovators and talent from less innovative regions.
  • Acts as an impact fund for the rest of Horizon Europe, pulling through research results into innovations
  • Enhances the European innovation ecosystem, through partnerships with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), the European Research Council, and national/ regional agencies and ecosystem builders

Messages for key target audiences

For starts-ups (founders, individual entrepreneurs, SMEs)

  • EIC Accelerator financing for startups and SMEs from early stage (seed, first rounds) to growth
  • Substantial, founder-friendly, financial support (up to €17.5 million in non-dilutive grants, patient investment capital, flexibility to pivot)
  • Free mentoring, coaching, and access to leading corporates, investors, and innovation partners.
  • Applications start with a short simple pitch, submitted at any time. Funding decisions are fast (2-3 months from full application)
  • Highly competitive, with 200-300 startups and SMEs selected each year with the most high-risk/high impact innovations and the potential to be global leaders

For innovative researchers (in universities, research organisations, high tech companies, etc.)

  • EIC Pathfinder grants awarded to multi-disciplinary research teams with the most visionary science for technology breakthroughs
  • Interact with expert EIC Programme Managers and a community of Pathfinder projects, to accelerate research and discover innovation pathways.
  • Access to leading advice and support to assess the innovation potential of research results
  • Follow up transition funding to turn research results into innovation opportunities (technology demonstrators, business plan development, spinout companies)

For investors (VCs, business angels, impact investors, corporate VC, etc.)

  • EIC offers access to a pipeline of investment opportunities in Europe’s most exciting startups covering all technologies (health, energy, green, digital, deep-tech)
  • EIC shares risk through non-dilutive grant funding (up to €2.5 million) and co-investments (up to €17.5 million) in equity.
  • Enables higher capital for longer runway (patient capital)
  • Access to leading expertise to conduct deep tech due diligence and assessments
  • Funding structured to promote co-investments/ syndication. Expertise to invest in all jurisdictions across the European Union and beyond

For global corporates

  • EIC offers single access to Europe’s most exciting startups and new technologies covering all fields
  • EIC public funding (grants) de-risks early stage technologies and disruptive innovations
  • EIC fund to co-invest with corporate venture capital to share risks in investing in highly innovative startups.
  • Highly effective brokering and matchmaking between corporates and startups through EIC Corporate Days


European Innovation Council: key facts & figures (Data from “DeepTech Europe: EIC pilot impact report 2020”, updated with call data to December 2020 EIC)

The EIC shows impressive impacts after just a few years:

The EIC pilot phase was launched in 2018, incorporating the previous SME instrument and Future & Emerging Technology schemes. In this pilot phase:

  • Over 5700 startups and SMEs supported from across Europe
  • EIC supported startups and SMEs have raised over €5 billion in follow up investments (3 euro for every euro from the EU budget)
  • On average, EIC supported companies have more than doubled the number of employees in a 2 year period

EIC innovations address Green Deal, digitisation and health:

  • 90 percent of EIC supported startups and SMEs are addressing Sustainable Development Goals
  • 36 innovative solutions to COVID were supported within 3 months of the COVID outbreak
  • The EIC is supporting technologies for future European leadership in areas such as human centric AI, quantum computing & medical imaging

The EIC budget is far from adequate to meet the enormous demand:

  • EIC pilot budget is €1.55 billion in 2020 (equivalent to €11 billion over 7 years)
  • Since Oct 2019, close to 14,000 SMEs applied for EIC funding of €40 billion
  • Success rate has declined to 2%, far lower than the average for Horizon 2020. Around 4000 SMEs judged excellent but unfunded due to lack of budget

The EIC is new, but builds on highly successful instruments:

  • EIC builds on 30 years of success of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme and the experience since 2014 of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument.
  • The EIC Fund is a major new development investing equity (up to €15m) in EIC supported startups & SMEs so they can scale faster and attract further investment
  • Under Horizon Europe, EIC impacts will be boosted, e.g. by advice from Board of leading innovators, by appointment of Programme Managers to manage portfolios, and by Transition funding to overcome gap between research and application.

The EIC is supporting new talent from widening countries and women innovators:

  • 14 percent of SMEs awarded funding from the latest EIC “Green Deal” call come from Horizon Europe “widening countries”, a marked increase from previous calls. A third of SMEs are led by women, tripling the level previously.
  • EIC “juries” of experienced investors and entrepreneurs who interview and judge the best applicants are gender balanced (49% women, 51% men)


European Innovation Council Launch Ceremony, 18 March 2021 – Programme

9:30 – 9:40 Introduction by Mark Ferguson (Director-General of Science Foundation Ireland & Chair of EIC Advisory Board)

9:40 – 9:50 Welcome statements/video messages from EC President and Heads of State.

9:50 – 10:05 EIC inauguration speech by EC Commissioner Gabriel

10:05 – 10:20 Viewpoints from the European Parliament (MEP Christian Ehler) and Council (Minister Manuel Heitor)

10:20 – 11:05 “Speed dating” exchanges on the relevance of the EIC for the economic recovery:

10:20 – 10:35 EIC for building businesses from breakthrough science:

Speakers: Ingmar Hoerr (Founder and former CEO of CureVac), Louis de Lillers (CEO of CorWave) and Silvia Scaglione (President of React4Life)
Moderation: Chris Sisserian (Sifted)

10:35 – 10:50 EIC for investing in deep tech:

Hermann Hauser (Amadeus Capital), Irina Haivas (Partner at Atomico) and Veronika Oudova (Co-Founder and CEO of S-Biomedic)
Moderation: Robin Wauters (Tech.EU)

10:50 – 11:05 EIC for creating innovation ecosystems for sustainability:

Speakers: Jim Snabe (Chair, Siemens) and Stavriana Kofteros (Co-Founder of Startup Cyprus)
Moderation: Jean-Eric Paquet (Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Commission)

11:05 – 11:15 Closing remarks by EVP Margrethe Vestager (tbc)

Next Events

No events scheduled. Please check our last events.