Opportunities Map of EC and EIC initiatives

X2.0 is an EU-funded programme for technological growth

X2.0 will upscale and enable growth of promising deeptech startups, connect more and less innovative ecosystems, and contribute and reinforce the offer of EIC and Startup Europe. Motivated by this, we would like to overview the key European, startup oriented initiatives and opportunities.


EIC: The European Innovation council is the subprogram (Pillar 3) under the Horizon Europe programme aiming to support game changing innovations throughout the lifecycle from early-stage research to market deployment and scale ups of startups and SMEs. With a budget of €10.1 billion, the EIC supports European innovators through different calls (EIC pathfinder, EIC transition, EIC accelerator) and services (Business Acceleration Services). Specifically, EIC Pathfinder covers the advanced research to develop the scientific basis to underpin breakthrough technologies and untested disruptive ideas. EIC Transition aims to validate technologies and develop business plans for specific applications, previously funded in an ERC or a FET call and EIC Accelerator (former SME instrument) supports projects for deep-tech SMEs to launch an innovative, high-impact and high-risk product on the market, leading to exponential growth.

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EUROSTARS: Eurostars is part of the European Partnership on Innovative SMEs, under the Eureka umbrella. The programme reaches SMEs wishing to collaborate on R&D projects that create innovative products, processes or services for commercialization. The programme consists of collaborative projects between 2 or more SMEs and/or universities and research centers from more than 37 countries (Horizon Europe eligible countries and Horizon Europe associated countries)

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CASCADE FUNDING: Cascade funding, or also known as Third Party Financial Support, is a European Commission mechanism that distributes smaller amounts of public funds in a more agile way, supporting specific topics such as the incorporation of new technologies, the promotion of startups and sector pioneers, etc. The main objective of this funding method is to simplify administrative procedures for applicant entities, mostly SMEs and startups, thus allowing some EU-funded projects to issue, in turn, open calls for further funding. In other words, cascade funding is a simplified public funding opportunity, designed to facilitate a greater capillarity of EC funds and actions, facilitating the participation of SMEs and startups, since for them, participating in a European project means dealing with a large amount of bureaucracy. This mechanism offers funds, ranging from 50,000 to 150,000 euros to startups and micro-SMEs

Regarding the sectors that can benefit from this type of funding, the vast majority of cascade grants cover digital areas, such as Industry 4.0, data, embedded systems, but they are also being extended to blockchain or energy saving technologies. However, funding can be allocated to various types of specific activities, from studies, to experiments, pilots, developments, etc.

Search Funding & Tenders (europa.eu) – Cascade calls


EIT: The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) is an independent body of the European Union set up in 2008 to deliver innovation across Europe. By bringing together more than 2900 partners, the EIT is Europe’s largest innovation ecosystem and connects innovators and organisations. EIT powers innovators and entrepreneurs across the EU and beyond to turn their best ideas into cutting-edge products and services. EIT partnerships are divided into different communities, sectorized as follows:

  • EIT Climate-KIC: Working to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy
  • EIT Digital: Driving Europe’s digital transformation
  • EIT Food: Leading a global revolution in food innovation and production
  • EIT Health: Giving EU citizens greater opportunities to enjoy a healthy life
  • EIT InnoEnergy: Achieving a sustainable energy future for Europe
  • EIT Manufacturing: Strengthening and increasing the competitiveness of Europe’s manufacturing industry
  • EIT Raw Materials: Developing raw materials into a major strength for Europe
  • EIT Urban Mobility: Smart, green and integrated transport
  • EIT Culture & Creativity: Transforming Europe’s Cultural & Creative Sectors and Industries

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START-UP EUROPE: Startup Europe is an initiative of the European Commission to connect high tech startups, scaleups, investors, accelerators, corporate networks, universities and the media. It is supported by a portfolio of EU funded projects and policy actions such as the EU Startup Nation Standard, Innovation Radar and the Digital Innovation and Scale-up Initiative (DISC). The initiative is fully aligned with the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) strategy of the European Commission.

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