The first step towards the setting up of an EIC was made in 2017, with the appointment of 15 independent individuals to form the High-Level Group of Innovators, whose role was to advise on the design of an EIC in Horizon Europe, with a two-year mandate (2017/2018). Based on the initial advice of the group, and the legal framework of Horizon 2020, an EIC pilot initiative was launched in October 2017. With a budget of €2.7 billion, and the objective of funding the scaling-up of the most exciting innovations of our most talented innovators, the pilot combined and re-focused existing funding schemes to ensure funding reached top innovators.
One of the two instruments of the EIC along with the Pathfinder, the Accelerator is a blended finance model which builds on the SME Instrument Phase II, enhanced and focused on initiatives with a clear EU added-value. Support will be awarded to clear potential market-creating innovation and scale-up of companies confronted with a finance gap due to their high-risk nature. Support for assessing business opportunities and developing business plans may be granted in the context of Pathfinder transition activities within portfolio of project, or as part of an Accelerator project.