The EU has several different funding programmes, depending on the nature of the business or project.



Starting a business requires financing. The European Union offers an array of opportunities, which may not always be easy to track down. As new funding elements emerge, it becomes so important to keep up with the changes to steer through bureaucratic processes that may require specialised staff. 

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) may be able to secure funding from a number of EU programmes ranging from COSME (the EU Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and  Medium-sized Enterprises), Connecting Europe Facility and Horizon Europe to REGIONAL and Agricultural Policy funds.

COSME, for example, aims to facilitate financing procedures for SMEs irrespective of the companies’ lifecycle – start, expansion or business transfer. This allows businesses to gain easier access to guarantees, loans and equity capital. EU “financial instruments” are channelled through local financial institutions in EU countries. Potential beneficiaries who wish to find a financial institution in their respective country should visit the Access to Finance portal (see here: www.

Likewise, funding for agriculture-related programmes comes from two funds that form part of the EU’s general budget. These include the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF), that helps finance direct payments to farmers, and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), that co-finances numerous member-state rural development programmes.

SMEs are also eligible for funding under the CEF (Connecting Europe Facility) programme, which finances projects related to energy, transport and ICT. The CEF is managed by INEA, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency. SMEs, meantime, can also get up to EUR 2.5 million each in funding for business support and mentoring. Horizon 2020 areas are managed through the Executive Agency for SMEs, EASME.

Still, funding opportunities can be found in other areas, depending on the nature of the project submitted, its scope and priorities, according to EU Commission guidelines.

Regardless of the sector, most opportunities come through so-called calls whereby applicants and project leaders are selected on a competitive basis to implement projects, usually co-financed by EU grants.

Grants are direct financial contributions from the EU budget and the European Development Fund. They are allocated in the form of a donation to the beneficiaries who meet set criteria.

Authorities responsible for the calls are the EU Commission, the Directorates-General and Executive Agencies attached to the Commission, the Delegations and Offices of the EU to third countries as well as the managing bodies of ERA-NET actions and ERA-NET management bodies. ERA-NET under Horizon 2020 is a funding instrument to support public-public partnerships in preparation, design and implementation, as well as coordination, of joint activities.

Those calls are either announced on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) or on the NETWATCH portal; they provide genuine funding opportunities for European and international organisations.

The Eurofunding database assisting SMEs is provided by Welcomeurope, which lists all European Commission grants.

InnovFin is another programme that works alongside the EU’s Horizon 2020 objectives, and its mission is to support research and innovation throughout the Region. Most of the financing in this programme is handled by the European Investment Bank and comes in several forms.



Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions: Research Fellowship Programme

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions support researchers at all stages of their careers, regardless of age and nationality. Researchers working across all disciplines are eligible for funding. The MSCA also support cooperation between industry and academia and innovative training to enhance employability and career development.

Funding opportunities are available. They are listed online (


Much like COSME, the InnovFin equity programme offers support through equity capital provided to or alongside financial intermediaries investing in SMEs. 

Creative Europe, meantime, is designed to support SMEs in the creative and cultural sectors. Companies in this sector represent around 4 % of the EU’s GDP. Assistance provided by the Creative Europe initiative helps protect financial intermediaries from the risk involved in lending to SMEs in the creative and cultural sectors. Loans under the programme are earmarked for investments in both tangible and intangible assets.

The Jean Monnet activities support programmes that include modules, academic chairs, centres of excellence, networks, associations and projects. The European Youth Portal also provides information and opportunities for young people. Funding opportunities are available under Education and Culture section.





This is the entry point for participants and experts in funding programmes and tenders managed by the European Commission and other EU bodies. 


Check it out here: portal/screen/home 


Here you can:

  • Search and apply for funding opportunities  in calls for proposals
  • Search a call for a tender and submit it
  • Manage your grants
  • Register as an expert, manage contracts  and payments online


Participate in 5 easy steps: 

  1. Find an opportunity
  2. Find partners
  3. Create an account
  4. Register your organisation
  5. Submit your proposal

For more information check out:



Horizon 2020 offers a large variety of funding opportunities. But there are also many other EU programmes, such as: 3rd Health Programme, Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, Consumer Programme, Creative Europe, Erasmus+, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, European Statistics, HERCULE III, Internal Security Fund Borders and Visa, Internal Security Fund Police, Justice Programme, Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions, Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Promotion of Agricultural Products, Research Fund for Coal & Steel, Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme, Union Civil Protection Mechanism.

Links to these programmes are available here: