Innovation funding details

CIP - Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP)


The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme is one of three programmes under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) 2007-2013. The scheme supports enterprise (particularly SMEs), entrepreneurship and innovation, including eco-innovation and industrial competitiveness.

Status: Closed
Start Date: 01/01/2007
End Date: 31/12/2013
Last Updated: 23/10/2012
Last Significant Update: 25/07/2012

Further information

Fund Value: € 1,814,228,369,000

Value Notes

An indicative budgetary breakdown for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme is €2.166 billion, of which up to €430 million will be implemented to promote eco-innovation. 

It was reported (OJ C302, 14.12.2007) that approximately €550 million would be allocated to the GIF facility.

Grant rates vary according to the action supported.

Extended Description

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme is one of three schemes under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. It is administered by the European Commission.

The programme aims to:

  • Facilitate access to finance for the start-up and growth of SMEs and to encourage investment in innovation activities
  • Create an environment that is favourable to SME cooperation, especially in the field of cross-border cooperation
  • Promote all forms of innovation in enterprises
  • Support eco-innovation
  • Promote an entrepreneurship and innovation culture among SMEs
  • Promote enterprise and innovation-related economic and administrative reform

Latest Information

According to Calls for Proposals usually published on the DG Enterprise and Industry website

Calls For Proposal

Call for Proposals are usually made by the DG Enterprise and Industry. Details of open Calls can be found in the DG Enterprise and Industry - Grant Programme report.

Note: Calls for Proposals under the CIP Eco-Innovation programme are reported separately.

The following Calls were launched by the DG Environment:

Reinforcing procurement of eco-innovation - Network of green public and private procurers

Call Identifier: ENT/CIP/11/C/N02C00

  • Deadline: 20 October 2012 (17.00 Brussels local time)

Budget: €2 million

The objective of this Call is to reinforce procurement of eco-innovation by establishing trans-national networks of green public and private procurers in order to overcome the fragmentation of demand for eco-innovative solutions in Europe and to share the additional risks and costs of buying and using eco-innovative solutions.

Link to documents:

EU ETV pilot programme – Call for proposal 2011-2012 on the Setting-up of Verification Bodies

  • Deadline: 7 September 2012 (17.00 Brussels local time)

Budget: €2 million

This Call is addressed to Verification Bodies which have been specifically accredited for Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) by a national Accreditation Body or are in the process of accreditation. The funding to be allocated will help them partially cover the 'fixed costs' of the ETV system and to facilitate implementation.

Link to documents:

Last Significant Update Reason

A new Call for Proposals under the CIP - Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP) has been launched.

The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, and in particular the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP) aims to improve, encourage and promote all forms of innovation in enterprises.

The objective of this Call is to reinforce procurement of eco-innovation by establishing trans-national networks of green public and private procurers in order to overcome the fragmentation of demand for eco-innovative solutions in Europe and to share the additional risks and costs of buying and using eco-innovative solutions, with a view to contribute to the Eco-innovation Action Plan implementation.

The total budget available for the call is €2 million.

The deadline for submissions is 20 October 2012, 17:00 Brussels time.

For more information, visit the DG Environment website (opens new window).

A Call has also been launched under the EU ETV pilot programme for the Setting-up of Verification Bodies. with a deadline of 7 September 2012.

Key Criteria

EIP is an initiative designed to assist enterprises in the Member States of the European Union.  Both public and private organisations, including SMEs, may participate in appropriate actions.

In addition, the scheme is open to third countries comprising:

  • EFTA countries which are members of the EEA, in accordance with the conditions laid down in the EEA Agreement.
  • Candidate countries benefiting from a pre-accession strategy, in accordance with the general principles and general terms and conditions for the participation of these countries in Community programmes established in the respective Framework Agreement and Association Council Decisions.
  • Countries of the Western Balkans, in accordance with the provisions to be determined with those countries following the establishment of framework agreements concerning their participation in Community programmes.
  • Other third countries, when agreements so allow.

Eligible applicants must have:

  • The financial capacity to complete the proposed operation.
  • Stable and sufficient sources of finance to ensure the continuity of their organisation throughout the project and to play a part in financing it.
  • The technical capacity to complete the proposed operation.
  • The operational capacity to complete the operation.
  • The capacity to manage scale activity corresponding with the size of the project for which a grant is requested.
  • Adequate professional qualifications and experience to complete the project.

Eligible Expenditure

The EIP provides for action to support, improve, encourage and promote:

  • Access to finance for the start-up and growth of SMEs and investment in innovation activities.
  • Creation of an environment favourable to SME cooperation, particularly in the field of cross-border cooperation.
  • All forms of innovation in enterprise.
  • Eco-innovation.
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation culture.
  • Enterprise and innovation related economic and administrative reform.


Actions may include:

Access to finance for the start-up and growth of SMEs

  • Increasing the investment volumes of risk capital funds and investment vehicles promoted by business angels.
  • Providing leverage to SME debt financing instruments.
  • Improving the financial environment for, and the investment readiness of, SMEs.

SME cooperation

  • Fostering services in support of SMEs.
  • Contributing to measures helping and encouraging SMEs to cooperate with other enterprises and other innovation actors across borders, including SME involvement in the field of European standardisation.
  • Promoting and facilitating international business cooperation, including at regional level and through SME networks favouring the coordination and development of their economic and industrial activities.

Innovation activities

  • Fostering sector-specific innovation, clusters, innovation networks, public-private innovation partnerships and cooperation with relevant international organisations, and the use of innovation management.
  • Supporting national and regional programmes for business innovation.
  • Supporting the take-up of innovative technologies and concepts and the innovative application of existing technologies and concepts.
  • Supporting services for transnational knowledge and technology transfer and for the protection and management of intellectual and industrial property management.
  • Developing and exploring new types of innovation services.
  • Fostering technology and knowledge through data archiving and transfer.

Eco-innovation activities

  • Supporting the take-up of environmental technologies and eco-innovative activities.
  • Co-investment in risk capital funds that provide equity, inter alia, for companies investing in eco-innovation.
  • Fostering eco-innovation networks and clusters and public-private partnerships in eco-innovation, developing innovative business services, and facilitating or promoting eco-innovation.
  • Promoting new and integrated approaches to eco-innovation in fields such as environmental management and the environmentally friendly design of products, processes and services, taking into account their whole life cycle.

Entrepreneurship and innovation culture

  • Encouraging entrepreneurial mindsets, skills and culture, and the balancing of entrepreneurial risk and reward, in particular for women and young people.
  • Encouraging a business environment favourable to innovation, enterprise development and growth.
  • Supporting policy development and cooperation between actors, including transnational cooperation of national and regional programme managers, in particular with a view to fostering the SME-friendliness of programmes and measures.

Enterprise and innovation related economic and administrative reform

  • Collecting data, analysing and monitoring performance, and developing and coordinating policy.
  • Contributing to the definition and promotion of competitiveness strategies related to industry and service sectors.
  • Supporting mutual learning for excellence in national, regional and local administrations.


To implement the actions described above, the following instruments and activities will be operated:

  • Financial instruments for SMEs.
  • Services in support of business and innovation.
  • Innovation and eco-innovation pilot and market replication projects.
  • Policy analyses, development, coordination and twinning.
  • EIP support measures.

These actions comprise:

Financial instruments for SMEs

The following financial instruments will operate:

  • The High Growth and Innovative SME Facility (GIF).
  • The SME Guarantee (SMEG) Facility.
  • The Capacity Building Scheme (CBS).

In more detail these are:


The GIF is operated on behalf of the Commission by the European Investment Fund, and carries out the following tasks:

  • Contribute to the establishment and financing of SMEs and the reduction of the equity and risk capital market gap, which prevents SMEs from exploiting their growth potential, with a view to improving the European venture capital market;
  • Support innovative SMEs with high growth potential, in particular those undertaking research, development and other innovation activities.

The GIF consists of two windows:

The first window, called GIF1, covers early stage (seed and start-up) investments.  It targets invest in specialised venture capital funds such as early stage funds, funds operating regionally, funds focused on specific sectors, technologies or RTD, and funds linked to incubators which , in turn, provides capital to SMEs.  It may also co-invest in funds and investment vehicles promoted by business angels.

The second window, called GIF2, covers expansion stage investments and invests in specialised risk capital funds which, in turn, provide quasi-equity or equity for innovative SMEs with high growth potential in their expansion phase.  GIF2 investments avoid buy-out or replacement capital for asset stripping.

GIF may invest in intermediaries by working, where appropriate, with national or regional schemes aimed at developing small business investment companies.

The SMEG Facility

The SMEG Facility is operated by the EIF on behalf of the Commission, and will carry out the following tasks:

  • Provide counter-guarantees or, where appropriate, co-guarantees for guarantee schemes operating in the eligible countries.
  • Provide direct guarantees for any other appropriate financial intermediary.

The SMEG Facility consists of four windows:

The first window, (a) debt financing via loans or leasing, reduces the particular difficulties SMEs face in accessing finance due to the perceived higher risk associated with investments in knowledge related activities such as technological development, innovation and technology transfer, and due to the lack of sufficient collateral.

The second window, (b) microcredit financing, encourages financial institutions to play a greater role in the provision of loans of a smaller amount which would normally involve proportionately higher unit handling costs for borrowers with insufficient collateral.  In addition to guarantees or counter-guarantees, financial intermediaries may receive grants to partially offset the high administrative costs inherent in microcredit financing.

The third window, (c) guarantees for equity or quasi-equity fund investments in SMEs, includes investments which provide seed capital and/or capital in the start-up phase, as well as mezzanine finance funds, in order to reduce the particular difficulties which SMEs face because of their weak financial structure, and those arising from business transfers.

The fourth window, (d) securitisation of SME debt finance portfolios, mobilises additional debt financing for SMEs under appropriate risk-sharing arrangements with the targeted institutions.  Support for those transactions is conditional upon an undertaking by the originating institutions to grant a significant part of the resulting liquidity of the mobilised capital for new SME lending in a reasonable period of time.

The amount of this new debt financing is calculated in relation to the amount of the guaranteed portfolio risk and is negotiated, together with the period of time, individually with each originating institution.


The CBS is operated with international financial institutions, including the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EIF and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB).

It carries out the following tasks:

  • Improve the investment and technology expertise of funds investing in innovative SMEs or SMEs with growth potential.
  • Stimulate the supply of credit to SMEs by enhancing the credit appraisal procedure for SME lending.

The CBS consists of the Seed Capital Action and the Partnership Action.

The Seed Capital Action provides grants to stimulate the supply of venture capital for innovation SMEs and other SMEs with growth potential, including those in the traditional economy, through support for seed and start-up funds or similar organisations.  Support may also be provided for the long-term recruitment of additional staff with specific investment or technology expertise.

The Partnership Action provides grants to financial intermediaries to cover the cost of technical assistance to improve their credit appraisal procedures for SME debt financing, with the aim of stimulating the supply of finance to SMEs in countries with low banking intermediation.

For the purpose of the Partnership Action 'low intermediation' relates to banking in countries where domestic credit as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product is significantly below the Community average according to relevant data established by the European Central Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

Services in support of business and innovation

Services in support of business and innovation, in particular for SMEs, are encouraged, and for this purpose financial support may be granted to business support network partners to provide the following:

  • Information, feedback, business cooperation services and internationalisation services.
  • Innovation, technology and knowledge transfer services.
  • Services encouraging the participation of SMEs in the Seventh Framework RTD Programme.

Details concerning these services are as follows:

  • Information, feedback, business cooperation services and internationalisation services:
    • disseminating information relating to the functioning and opportunities of the internal market for goods and services, including signposting to tender opportunities;
    • promoting pro-actively Community initiatives, policies and programmes that are relevant for SMEs and providing information to SMEs on the application procedures for such programmes; 
    • operating tools to measure the impact of existing legislation on SMEs;
    • contributing to the carrying-out of impact assessment studies of the Commission;
    • operating other appropriate means to engage SMEs in the European policy-making process;
    • assisting SMEs to develop cross-border activities and international networks;
    • supporting SMEs to find relevant partners form the private or public sectors through appropriate tools.
  • Innovation, technology and knowledge transfer services:
    • disseminating information and raising awareness regarding innovation-related policies, legislation, and support programmes;
    • engaging in the dissemination and exploitation of research results;
    • providing brokerage services for technology and knowledge transfer, and for partnership building between innovation actors;
    • stimulating the capacity of firms, especially SMEs to innovate;
    • facilitating linkage to other innovation services, including intellectual property-related services.
  • Services encouraging the participation of SMEs in the Seventh RTD Framework Programme:
    • raising awareness among SMEs regarding the Seventh RTD Framework Programme;
    • helping SMEs to identify their RTD needs and to find partners with similar RTD needs;
    • assisting SMEs in the preparation and coordination of project proposals for participation in the Seventh RTD Framework Programme.

Eco-innovation pilot and market replication projects (also reported separately)

The Community will provide support to projects concerned with the first applications or market replication of innovative or eco-innovative techniques, products or practices of Community relevance, which have already been technically demonstrated with success but which, owing to residual risk, have not yet significantly penetrated the market.  These shall be designed to promote broader utilisation of such techniques, products or practices within the participating countries and facilitate their market uptake.

Policy analyses, development, coordination and twinning

The following may be undertaken in support of policy analyses, development and coordination with participating countries:

  • Studies, data collection, surveys and publications based, where possible, on official statistics.
  • Twinnings and meetings of experts, including experts from public institutions and experts sent by SMEs and other interested parties, conferences and other events.
  • Awareness raising, networking and other relevant activities.
  • Benchmarking of national and regional performances, and work on good practices, including their dissemination and implementation.

EIP support measures

The Commission will regularly undertake the following:

  • Analysis and monitoring of competitiveness and sectoral issues, including for the Commission's annual report on the competitiveness of European industry.
  • Preparation of impact assessments of Community measures of particular relevance for the competitiveness of enterprises and their publication with a view to identifying areas of existing legislation requiring simplification or the need for new legislative measures to make innovation more attractive in the Community.
  • Evaluation of specific aspects or specific implementation measures in relation to the EIP.
  • Dissemination of appropriate information in relation to the EIP.


This scheme is not open to otherwise eligible applicants if:

  • They are bankrupt or being wound up, are having their affairs administered by the courts, have entered into an arrangement with creditors, have suspended business activities, are the subject of proceedings concerning those matters, or are in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for in national legislation or regulations.
  • They have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgement which has the force of res judicata.
  • They have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authority can justify.
  • They have not fulfilled obligations relating to the payment of social security contributions or the payment of taxes in accordance with the legal provisions of the country in which they are established or with those of the country of the contracting authority or those of the country where the contract is to be performed.
  • They have been the subject of a judgement which has the force of res judicata for fraud, corruption, involvement in a criminal organisation or any other illegal activity detrimental to the Communities' financial interests.
  • Following another procurement procedure or grant award procedure financed by the Community budget, they have been declared to be in a serious breach of contract for failure to comply with their contractual obligations.

Contracts will also not be awarded to applicants who, during the grant award procedure:

  • Are subject to a conflict of interest.
  • Are guilty of misrepresentation in supplying the information required by the contracting authority as a condition of participation in the contract procedure or fail to supply this information.
  • Have been declared to be in serious breach of contract for failure to comply with obligations in connection with another contract with the European Commission or another contract financed with Community funds.
  • Have attempted to obtain confidential information or influence the committee or European Commission during the evaluation process of current or previous Calls for Proposals.

Costs which will be ineligible for support comprise:

  • Provisions for possible future losses or debts.
  • Interest owed.
  • Purchases of land or buildings except, where necessary, for the direct implementation of the project, in which case ownership must be transferred to the Beneficiary's local partners (where applicable) or the final recipients of the project once the latter has come to an end.
  • Currency exchange losses, without prejudice to the general terms and conditions of the contract.
  • Recoverable VAT.
  • Costs of preparatory studies or other preparatory activities undertaken previously to contract signature.
  • Inputs which are the subject of a contribution in kind (eg land, immovable property, whether in its entirety or in part, durable capital goods, raw materials, unpaid charity work by a private individual or corporate body).

Measures devoted to the commercialisation of products, process or services, marketing activities and sales promotion are not eligible for support.

Further Information

Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs (COSME) - New Programme for 2014-2020

The European Commission has put forward proposals for the new competitiveness programme for the period 2014-2020.

The new Programme - Competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs (COSME) - has an anticipated n budget of € 2.5 billion (at current prices), and will focus on:

  • Facilitating Access to finance for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
  • Creating an environment favourable to enterprise creation and growth.
  • Encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Europe.
  • Strengthening the sustainable competitiveness of EU enterprises.
  • Supporting the internationalisation of SMEs and improving their access to markets.

The Programme is intended to ensure continuity with initiatives already undertaken by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), building on the results and lessons learnt. While many successful features of the EIP will be continued, management of the Programme will be simplified to make it easier for entrepreneurs and SMEs to benefit from it.

Further information is available on the European Commission website.

Application Procedure

For information on the application procedure, contact the European Commission.


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