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The EIC Accelerator
10. March 2022 News

The EIC Accelerator

The EIC Accelerator funds visionary entrepreneurs in developing and scaling up impactful, game changing technologies. With its blended finance instrument topping EUR 15 million, it is equally a highly attractive as it is an extremely competitive EU funding programme. This article is about 4 main elements of the Step-by-Step process requiring special attention from applicants that intend to apply at the March, June or October 2022 deadline.

  • Step 0 – Diagnostics

Starting with the obligatory tool “Diagnostics” as Step 0, you need to respond to a set of questions around your innovation, such as the problem that you are addressing and your proposed solution. Short, precise and straightforward as you have only between 500 and 1000 characters available to convince the underlying intelligence that your idea deserves EU funding.

The novelty in this application process is the introduction of the artificial intelligence that facilitates the assessment process when determining the innovation potential of your proposed idea. The result of the AI assessment is a series of ratings that imply whether either you have what it takes to be considered as an eligible candidate for EU funding or not.

  • Step 1 – Short application

Continuing from there, the Step 1 application partially generates editable inputs from Step 0. It is a longer form with approximately 20 questions and several interactive input fields that above all aim to (de) classify your solutions as technologically supreme enough. However, also your team, your use cases, the market and the impact of EU funding on your company success needs to be convincingly elaborated. A pitch deck (pdf) and a video pitch (3 min) need to be submitted along with the short application for this EU funded acceleration program.

Once you`ve completed the Step 1 form, you can submit your application any time. At least 2 out of 4 reviewers need to give it a “GO”, activating the Design module for Step 2. This evaluation arrives quickly, usually between 2 – 4 weeks.

  • Step 2 – Long application

While the application process is quite challenging overall, the most demanding is the Step 2. Once completed, it stretches to about 110 pages of a sophisticated business plan that justifies the need for EU funding.

The value chain

The basic structure around your problem definition in Step 2 is to introduce your value and supply chain entailing key partners, assemblers, regulatory bodies and others, as relevant to each business model. Here you are also required to define your main stakeholder who is someone for whom the identified problem presents the biggest pain point and who benefits the most from the solution you are presenting (pain versus gain). These actors appear throughout the entire Step 2 application, so choose them wisely.

The competition

The competitive landscape is the 2nd main element. You need to demonstrate that your knowledge of the competition, their potentials and capacities is almost as profound as of your own technology. A set of questions is to be addressed, highlighting the reasons why your customers will choose your solution over one of your competitors.  The evaluators want to grant EU funding to future market categories solely.

Your features

The 3rd challenging element are the so-called use cases and features. And while you were required to address them already in your Step 1, they gain importance in the Step 2.  They need to demonstrate consistency and alignment with your work packages, deliverables and milestones as well as with the market and the main stakeholder. They reveal the extent to which the work plan will contribute to the overall solution and to the pain alleviation of your main stakeholder. The synergies between these have one central purpose - they need to demonstrate effective cost planning and hence the economic eligibility of requested EU funding.

The commercialisation strategy

The 4th but equally crucial element is the commercialisation strategy, aligned with the financial projections over the period of 5 years after the completion of the funded project. This strategy undoubtedly builds on your knowhow around your competitors, target market and your customers. Attached Letters of Interest can help prove the existence of early market traction.

The Step 2 of the EIC Accelerator is all about your viable business case. Concrete data, facts, performance indicators and an unstoppable ambition are the drivers that create your compelling story. If successful at Step 2, you are invited to the face-to-face interview with the EIC jury as the final step in the selection process for the grant component.

Written by Karmen Vidonja Ozvatic, redacted by Ana Povh



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