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«Grants for ground-breaking innovations»

The SME instrument of Horizon 2020 supports startups with grants and networking opportunities. Turicode and Vatorex are two startups from Winterthur that are already part of the Horizon 2020 program. Vatorex is therefore working with Evolution to ensure a smooth application process for its funding.


What is Horizon 2020?

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument made by the EU that aims to secure its global competitiveness. It’s focused on innovation and, with nearly 80 billion euros in funding, it aims to develop three main areas:

  • The solution to social problems and challenges.
  • The promotion of industrial leadership in Europe.
  • The reinforcement of excellence in science.


And what is the SME Instrument?

The Horizon 2020 framework gets associated often with research and large (and sometimes even unwieldy) consortia, but this doesn’t apply for its totality. In the case of the SME Instrument, the focus is put on supporting single SMEs in their go-to-market, promoting the generation of new markets and the creation of new jobs. It aims to help entrepreneurs and small-to-medium-sized companies with grants of up to 2.5 million euros for almost any type of ground-breaking innovation – given that you have some level of validation and an international expansion mindset.

There are three main phases to the SME Instrument, which cover the needs for business ideas in different stages. It is possible to go directly onto Phase 2, but chances of getting the grant are higher if you go through the whole process:

  • Phase 1, to which projects can apply for up to 50.000€ in funding through the delivery of a feasibility study for their innovation. This phase is rumored to disappear during this year (2019).
  • Phase 2 is where the EU grants up to 2.5 million € for the commercialization of the project.
  • Phase 3, the last stage, for which the EU supports the SMEs with networking opportunities to boost their commercialization but doesn’t provide funding.


Successful projects in the Swiss entrepreneurship ecosystem

As innovation consultants in Evolution, we have been lucky to work with quite a few Swiss companies during the past years, out of which we wanted to highlight two of them: Samantree, based in Lausanne, and dhp technology, based in Chur.

For Samantree, their project focused on the improvement of breast cancer diagnostics and treatment, made them be the 2nd Swiss company to obtain their Phase 2 grant since the incorporation of Switzerland to the Horizon 2020 program.

Nowadays, breast cancer operation involves procedures that allow the surgeon to leave the breast mostly intact while removing only the cancerous cells. The problem Samantree identified was that, after the procedure was done and a pathologist performed a tissue analysis, 30% of breast cancer patients had to go through surgery again, affecting not just the patients, but also the healthcare system, with losses of up to 1 billion dollars every year.

This is why they came up with their product, the HistologTM Scanner, which allows the surgeon to identify the pathological cells in-situ and reducing the reoperation chances from 30% to no more than 5%.

In the case of dhp technology, they are an award-winning startup which received the Swiss sustainability prize Prix Eco 2016 for its innovative solution in the energy sector.

Their project, Horizon, is a worldwide unparalleled retractable folding solar roof that can be utilized in already commercially exploited spaces such as parking lots, storage and logistics facilities. It features the ability to retract into a central garage when the weather isn’t suitable for energy production.

Horizon was developed with the objective of being integrated within current trends such as IoT, smart mobility and smart grids. It focuses on making the most out of solar energy production, leveraging spaces such as parking-logistics areas and wastewater treatment plants. These areas have a technical potential of approximately 70MW on wastewater purification plants and 5GW on parking lots within the Swiss market.


Who are we?

We are Evolution, an interdisciplinary team of more than 50 European experts, with presence across the EU. We specialize in helping innovative SMEs & startups that are looking to obtain non-dilutive funding of up to 3M€ for their projects, particularly from the SME Instrument and other Horizon 2020 programs – with success rates an order of magnitude higher than European averages.


What can we do for you?

We focus on maximizing your chances of success and minimizing your opportunity costs, becoming your companions through the process of getting your funding approved and granted. We take care of everything, from writing your proposal to managing the bureaucracy of applications and devote a team of highly qualified professionals to help your company achieve higher success rates than if you were to apply to it alone.

If you wonder whether your company would be ready for SME Instrument or other Horizon 2020 programs, we offer a free project evaluation, yielding a well-founded conclusion on your fit and the appropriate strategy. Reach out to Jacob Huber (jacob.huber@evolutioneurope.eu) if you would like to take advantage of this!


Sponsored Content: This article was created in collaboration with Evolution.