Today espaitec (the Science, Technology and Business Park of the Universitat Jaume I) has brought together researchers, companies and university staff members in a conference to present the SME instrument. This is a practical event where attendees have been able to evaluate the possibility of adapting their strategy to this financial tool, worth 3,000 million euros, for the 2014-2020 period and is framed within the general 2020 Horizon Call.

This instrument supports SMEs with three well-defined objectives. The first is to improve SMEs’ profitability and growth by combining new or existing knowledge transfer to innovative, groundbreaking and competitive solutions. The second is to capture and distribute innovations. The third objective is to increase private investment in innovation. These are the three different phases, and there is a guidance and tutoring service.

Phase 1 intends to complete a technology and economic feasibility study from an innovative idea/concept for the industry sector (new products, processes, design, services and technologies or new applications in the existing technologies market). In this case, financing amounts to 50,000 euros and projects must last some 6 months.

Phase 2 is to support the innovation projects that demonstrate companies’ high potential in competitiveness and growth terms. Proposals are based on a devised business plan, regardless of it being through Phase 1 or by any other means. Proposals must fall within the 0.5-2.5 million euros range, and aid increases to 70% of costs. Projects must last between 12 and 24 months.

In Phase 3, SMEs can benefit from indirect support services, and from EU-supported financing facilities.

The selected beneficiaries will be offered support guidance and tutoring in Phases 1 and 2. This service is accessible through the Enterprise Europe Network. In all three phases, this network also supplements support by providing access to its offer of innovation and internationalisation services.