The innocheck-bw Initiative – Which EU Funding Options are Best for my Project?

Website set up by Steinbeis Europa Zentrum offers funding advice for SMEs

Horizon Europe, the Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development relaunched by the European Union in 2021, provides a variety of funding opportunities for research and innovation initiatives. Something companies are less likely to realize is that small and medium-sized enterprises may also apply for funding for their innovation projects. By offering the innocheck-bw portal, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum supports companies in their searches for suitable funding.

Horizon Europe is now the ninth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development funded by the European Union. Its aim is to support cutting-edge research and innovations “Made in Europe.” With a total budget of €95.5 billion for the period 2021 to 2027, it is the most extensive European funding program to date.

How SMEs can participate in the program

Horizon Europe is organized into three “pillars.” Pillar I revolves around Excellent Science. Primarily offering funding opportunities for cutting-edge research, it focuses strongly on universities and other research institutions. Pillar II, Global Challenges and European Industrial Competitiveness, focuses on concrete calls for funding. Under a variety of topics and challenges, international consortia can apply for support with potential solutions to specific problems. As members of such consortia, not only are SMEs eligible to receive funding, at the same time they can become more international in outlook and establish transnational networks with other enterprises, research institutions, and organizations. Pillar III, Innovative Europe, is of particular interest to companies with the funding instrument European Innovation Council (EIC). It is particularly targeted at SMEs, offering financial support for the development of highly innovative ideas, from the stages of fundamental research to market entry. The EU is offering up to €4 million in grants to innovation projects involving SMEs, as well as up to €15 million in investments. There will be new calls for such funding in 2022.

Funding advice precisely tailored to SMEs: innocheck-bw

To help SMEs, startups, and scaleups gain access to EU funding, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor, and Tourism has joined forces with Steinbeis Europa Zentrum and set up an online portal called innocheck-bw. The idea is to allow SMEs to assess their innovation projects by answering a questionnaire. In addition to receiving made-to-measure recommendations on suitable national and European funding instruments, they are also provided with relevant links to further information and connected to experts at Steinbeis Europa Zentrum for further advice on fundig opportunities. The support offered by the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labor, and Tourism not only makes it possible to offer Baden-Wuerttemberg companies advisory services through inocheck-bw, they can also receive feedback on draft project proposals. Also free of charge, this service is available at various stages of the application process. In addition to funding advice and support with applications, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum also organizes regular webinars and training on EU funding – for all target groups, covering a variety of topics.

Click here to go to the portal:


Dr. Katrin Hochberg (author)
Project Manager
Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Steinbeis 2i GmbH (Stuttgart/Karlsruhe)

Miriam Mohr (author)
Project Manager
Steinbeis Europa Zentrum
Steinbeis EU for YOU (Stuttgart/Karlsruhe)