Non-EU deep-tech startups can apply to the EIC

The EIC Accelerator details the option for entities from non-EU countries to receive funding from the EIC if they intend to establish an entity in the EU.

The EIC Accelerator is the most ambitious public funding programme for start-ups in Europe. Part of the EIC (European Innovation Council), which has a budget of over 7 billion eur from 2021 to 2027, the EIC Accelerator supports disruptive deep-tech startups and scaleups. Its appealingness is remarkable, offering blended finance to SMEs of all sizes with no necessary requirements for financial track record. Successful applicants can obtain grants of up to €2.5 million and investments of up to €15 million. Besides, contrary to most EU funding programmes, the EIC Accelerator supports mono-beneficiary applications, which is especially attractive for startups that are hesitant to join the much bureaucratised consortia calls.

The EIC Accelerator implements many differences as compared to its predecessor, the SME Instrument. One of the  most interesting differences is that the application process is also open to non-associated countries, as it can be read in the  EIC official Work Programme:

In order to apply you must meet one of the following eligibility conditions: 


One or more natural persons (including individual entrepreneurs) or legal entities, which are either: 

a. from a Member State or an Associated Country intending to establish an SME or small mid-cap (as defined above) in a Member State or Associated Country by the time of signing the Accelerator contract or, in the case blended finance is awarded, at the latest when agreeing on its investment component; 

b. intending to invest in an SME or small mid-cap in a Member State or an Associated Country and who may submit a proposal on behalf of that SME or small mid-cap, provided that a prior agreement exist with the company. The contract will be signed with the beneficiary company only; 

c. from a non-associated third country intending to establish an SME (including start-ups) or to relocate an existing SME to a Member State or an Associated Country, by the time of submitting a full application. Your company must prove its effective establishment in a Member State or an Associated Country. The Commission may set specific conditions and milestones in the contract to ensure that the interest of the Union is met.

Companies from Horizon Europe (non-EU) associated countries (including the UK) can apply to the EIC and Horizon Europe programmes directly, not needing to establish a EU-based entity.

The EIC Accelerator could become a powerful tool to attract deep-tech innovation to the EU.This mechanism could be interesting for deep tech startups that are not based in the EU but also for European expatriate researchers and innovators who could leverage the funding to move back home bringing talent and innovation back to Europe.

Image by TheAndrasBarta from Pixabay

Share this post

related post

Featured insights

Swiss start-ups left stranded by the EIC

Swiss startups have been hit by the recent issues between Switzerland and the EU. Although the Swiss Governmental Agency SERI (State Secretariat for Education, Research