With €3 billion for 2014-2020, the EU’s SME instrument strives to support
innovation in SMEs and start-ups by filling the gap in funding and
increasing commercialisation of research results.
We assessed whether the SME instrument delivers the expected benefits.
Overall, we concluded that it provides effective assistance to SMEs in
developing their innovation projects and that having the EU branding
helps companies to attract additional investment. The Commission
competently manages the instrument. However, we recommend
improving the targeting of beneficiaries, the geographical outreach and
the selection of projects. Also, more can be done to attract additional
funding that would help bring innovation projects to market.
As the SME Instrument has been redesigned for 2021-2027 as part of the
European Innovation Council (EIC), we make recommendations in
particular for preserving aspects of its design, improving project
selection, enhancing business acceleration services and creating
synergies with other financial instruments.
ECA special report pursuant to Article 287(4), second subparagraph,