20 décembre 2022

Why you should not apply to the EIC Accelerator.. one of the most challenging  European funding programme for deeptech innovative start-ups and SMEs …

…unless you prepare yourself to be undoubtedly eligible for the Evaluators..

Many companies are jumping sometimes too fast in the preparation of their application for the two steps procedure.

So what should you absolutely consider before applying to the EIC accelerator?

The official version states that the EIC Accelerator supports individual Start-up, SMEs and spinout companies to develop and scaleup game-changing innovations.


First, you strictly need to meet the eligibility criteria and this is in most of the case, where applicants are not focusing from the beginning, considering that if they approximatively tick all the boxes (but not all of them), it will be fine, first mistake!

  • Do you develop a game-changing innovations?
  • Do you develop a high risk/high impact innovation?
  • Do you have the potential to create new markets, transform existing ones and contribute to societal innovation;
  • Do you build on scientific discovery, radical thinking or technological breakthroughs (‘deep tech’)?;
  • Does your innovation activities have already achieved the TRL 4 and are currently in between TRL 5 and 8?;
  • Do you require significant funding over a long timeframe before returns can be generated (‘patient capital’)?.

Needless to say that if you do not have a real innovation, with existing or potential strong IP, (and I mean a Patent or the intention to fill for one (with the proof to make the Evaluators believing you have something to patent), a strong traction and growth (meaning some real revenues to prove your traction from clients and the market and not only some hundreds per year…) and the experienced management team (with real linked skills and expertise) to manage the overall growth of your business, do not apply… at least yet!

In addition, keep in mind it is an Accelerator programme, not a start-up programme, so if you do not generate revenue, you do not have anything to accelerate, so the Evaluators will favour projects with more revenues than you (you are in competition with other projects..).

Second, that said, let’s have a look at the potentiality of your success with numbers

In 2022, only 223 companies have been funded through the 3 cut-offs upon 3078 applications so 7.24%.. and this is in consideration of the selected full applications. If we consider the success rate based on the total of applications submitted (including the short applications), the ratio falls roughly to 3% (based on a total of 7,200 applications submitted between June 2021 and June 2022).

The average success rate for the EIC on step 2 full proposal is thus closed to 6-7% (based on an average of 74 applications selected for 2022).

As competition is fierce, no need to say that an EIC Accelerator application requires hard work, rigour, serious and credible preparation, content, metrics and professionalism.

Third, let’s browse some basic rules to follow in order to increase your chance to be selected among all the others:

  • Rule 1: prepare as much as you can, support all your assumptions by real numbers from verifiable organisations when you talk about the market size, the trends, the competition, all your numbers must be proven and verifiable. On top of it, you do not always need to be right, you need to be coherent and logical with all the numbers and especially with your financial projections (build your projection with logic and make them relevant and verifiable). Note that sometimes for example, two companies from same market apply at same time, so the Evaluators will compare the market studies and the numbers from both projects and will detect immediately who is dreaming and who has a real Knowledge of the said market.
  • Rule 2: consider that you are going to be compared with all the best projects from the 27 member States and beyond so be sexy, make the Evaluators wanting to know more and more about the project as much as they read your project proposal.
  • Rule 3: all your project must be written in consideration of the existing E.U rules, laws and communication, do not prepare your application without taking in consideration that your project is evolving within the E.U eco and geo-politics environment.
  • Rule 4: be aware of the details, the quality of the written English, the way you build your sentences, and on top of it, be sure that the Evaluators will understand exactly what you are trying to express and nothing else.
  • Rule 5: do not be too greedy! If you only need €1.5M for your project, do not over estimate the cost to try to get more, the Evaluators will see it and remember this is public money from all of us..
  • Rule 6: start early and be patient: the overall process takes times, between the preparation of the short and full application (minimum 4 months) and the signature of the grant agreement in case of success, it can take up to 1 year and this is if you are successful at first time.
  • Rule 7: go back to Rule 1 and work again your project to improve your proposal.

The EIC accelerator is a tough competition based on excellence where only the best are funded. Whether you like the application process or you are severely critical about it, preparing an application is always an opportunity to improve your project and raise the quality of your project.

Good luck for your next application!