What is SME Instrument?
SME Instrument is a fantastic initiative by the European Commission to reward and encourage innovation in Europe. Through different themes such as “Disruptive Innovation” to more specific calls such as “Engaging SMEs in the space research and development sector” there is something for every innovative and hungry SME! This funding scheme helps SMEs take their products or services to the market. This could be the chance you have been waiting for to take your company or idea off the ground, but first, you have to fight off the competition from other SMEs submitting to the same call!
So how do you go about writing the SME Instrument proposal? Unlike RIA and CSA proposals, SME Instruments are structured more like business pitches. You need to sell why your company is the one that deserves the funding from the European Commission through storytelling and an impactful proposal. Don’t forget that the impact section for SME Instrument is worth 1.5, making it the most important section to pay attention to!
Bearing this in mind, let’s look at some tips to perfect your pitch!
1 Know where you stand!
SME Instrument proposals come in different phases from conceptualisation to commercialisation so you have to know what TRL your product/service is at to apply for the right phase.
Make sure you know all the details of your SME, turnover, employees, etc. to make sure that you apply for the right phase at the right time! A detailed account showing that you know your company inside and out can make for a more convincing pitch.
2 Tell a story
I just mentioned how the SME Instrument proposal should be written more like a pitch than in other EU funding calls, but this is not to say it must be written exactly like a normal business pitch (for tips on pitching for start-ups click here). Disruptive innovation and inspiration will not be shown through a simple pitch showing what your business does, you need to be more convincing than that!
In your proposal make sure to tell the story of why you deserve to be among all the other great SMEs that have won funding. What makes your company stand out from the rest? What will make your product/service provide the most impact not only in Europe but internationally? Tell a larger story of where you could fit in the new landscape of the ever-changing European innovation economy!
3. Look at expertise and examples
There is so much support out there for those who want to get involved with EU projects, don’t let all these resources go to waste! Here are some helpful links to help you perfect your pitch from experts:
- Subscribe to the SME Instrument newsletter
- Take a look at the Draft Work programme for SME Instrument from the EC
- Follow the official SME Instrument Twitter account: @H2020SME
- Subscribe to the H2020 virtual summit where there is a whole day dedicated to SME Instrument, and an interview on communication and dissemination on EU projects by me
- For more intensive information and guidance, subscribe to our seminars and webinars
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