By Elsa María Granados
Last Friday, March 4th, the Swiss Government announced the upcoming launch of a new accelerator programme: the “Swiss Accelerator”. It has been created with the objective of endorsing Swiss emergent companies as the EIC Accelerator -one of the Horizon Europe’s programmes for boosting research and innovation- used to do. Due to the present political situation between the Swiss Government and the European Union, Swiss start-ups and SMEs cannot apply to this programme. Thanks to this new programme by Innosuisse, the drawbacks of this situation are going to be tackled.
The official launch of the “Swiss Accelerator” will be on April the 1st of 2022, when Innosuisse will publish the call for projects and all the details.
At the moment, we know what Innosuisse has announced in the Swiss Government’s website: “This funding programme is aimed at individual start-ups and SMEs that are carrying out an innovation project with considerable innovation potential and the goal of quickly and efficiently marketing innovative new products and services.” Another important date for determined applicants is 8 April 2022, when a webinar for applicant start-ups and SMEs will be held.
What’s been happening?
As we shared in a previous article, Swiss companies were affected by disagreements between the Swiss Government and the EU, starting in May, 2021. The decision of Switzerland to withdraw from the trade negotiations, led to the European Commission getting Switzerland out of the list of the Horizon Europe associated countries. Consequently, Swiss successful applicants of the EIC Accelerator were deemed ineligible.
Luckily, SERI (State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation) took charge of the situation and financed the successful applicants. Nevertheless, in the present moment, this situation continues: Switzerland keeps on being a Horizon Europe non-associated country, and therefore Swiss companies cannot apply to the EIC Accelerator anymore. With the “Swiss Accelerator” , the Swiss Government will provide most of the benefits the EIC Accelerator entails. Almost exactly as the EIC Accelerator programme (in terms of eligibility, amount of funding, etc.) , this programme by Innosuisse will back Swiss founders until deals with the EU will permit to come back to the previous situation.
Who is launching the programme?
Innosuisse, the entity which is in charge of the accelerator program, is the Swiss Innovation Agency. Its mission is to connect and bring academia and the market together in order to promote science-based innovation. Thus, through innovation projects, networking, training and coaching, Innosuisse supports Swiss start-ups as well as innovative products and services. In this way, Innosuisse aims to benefit Switzerland’s economic and social interests.
Swiss companies are not the only ones affected
United Kingdom is suffering the same situation. As a non-associated country to the Horizon Europe, due to political issues with the EU, British start-ups and SMEs have got out of research and innovation programs boosted by the European Commission. They have also found a solution on their own –the Safety Net for Horizon Europe Applicants– but, maybe this should stop, don’t you think? How long are politics going to get on the way of science, innovation and development? This is what the new initiative by the European research community, called Stick to Science, defends.
For further details on the «Swiss Accelerator”, read our next article in which new information about the fund is available. In addition, possible interested applicants can consult beforehand all the details on the EIC Accelerator Programme on our web, as both programmes will hold lots of similarities.
Figure 3: Image from https://www.innosuisse.ch/inno/en/home.html .