About GO-SME

Goals and mission

The aim of GO – SME is to share the best practices of participating RFOs and their mutual learning on how to design a programme that would be able to select the most promising early-stage innovation projects of start-ups and highly innovative SMEs with international ambitions determined to turn strong, innovative business ideas into winners on the market.

Throughout Europe, the fragmentation of innovation ecosystems and the lack of connectedness among public national and regional agencies appear to be some of the main bottlenecks towards ensuring the support of the most promising SMEs in the EU. There is a need for a pilot action that will create an enhancing, supporting, and cooperative environment across the EU that will allow national and regional agencies to establish schemes supporting innovative SMEs and start-ups, to select disruptive and breakthrough ideas with the potential to scale up. Furthermore, many agencies do not have yet schemes that could finance feasibility studies and other early-stage innovative activities of SMEs

This project has several sub-objectives all contributing to the main goal – to select the best SMEs and start-ups for the EIC Accelerator and to support SMEs in their innovative ideas in order to boost their growth.

  • to learn from best (and bad) practices of RFOs already using schemes for highly innovative SMEs and start-ups,

  • to motivate agencies from widening countries to design best schemes for SMEs and startups with the view of filling possible gaps in relation to the services provided by the European Innovation Council,

  • to establish comparable schemes and sets of selection criteria, thus developing the most suitable ways to support SMEs,

  • to cooperate in the setting-up of schemes for SMEs and startups, sharing know how and best procedures to select the most promising ones,

  • to share a pool of (international) experts and the best practice to work with (international) experts,

  • to learn from best (and bad) practice and cooperation of RFOs in coaching and mentoring services,

  • to mutually open up pools of coaches and mentors,

  • to offer special services to running projects which will be judged as the most promising by an independent international panel.

The added value of the project rests in its ambition to design national and regional programmes supporting innovative SMEs which could act as a pipeline for the EIC Accelerator and be part of the “plug-in mechanism”. At the same time, it can serve as a pilot project for a possible partnership co-funded from innovation ecosystems in the Horizon Europe programme.