Under 'Access to Risk Finance', Horizon 2020 helps companies and other types of organisation engaged in research and innovation (R&I) to gain easier access, via financial instruments, to loans, guarantees, counter-guarantees and hybrid, mezzanine and equity finance.
The concrete goal is to support and facilitate access to sources of debt and equity financing by innovative companies of all sizes and also by research centres and universities, public-private partnerships, special-purpose companies or projects, and joint ventures.
Particular support is required for innovative SMEs (and in some sectors, microenterprises), especially in the start-up phase or after diversifying into new markets. The availability of early-stage and growth-stage equity finance for innovative firms also needs improvement, with better access to finance a must for the concept and proof-of-concept stage of the innovation process. For commercial-scale, first-of-a-kind demonstration plants and their market uptake and wider deployment, a more predictable and stable supply of risk capital is needed: this is a key factor in attracting the public and private input necessary for commercialisation to happen. The availability of debt finance for R&I infrastructures also needs enhancing.