How to Write a Winning H2020 Proposal - SME Instrument Phase 2: Manual for Applicants and Consultants

9781533188113: How to Write a Winning H2020 Proposal - SME Instrument Phase 2: Manual for Applicants and Consultants
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- develop the right strategy for the proposal

- step-by-step lead the team that prepares the proposal

- focus on the important elements of the proposal

- recognize and avoid mistakes that could kill your proposal

- replicate the best practices used by winning SME Instrument proposals

- prepare a winning SME-2 proposal in accordance with actual evaluation criteria

- save enormous time otherwise spent on getting through 450+ pages of documentation available online


- experienced consultants that want to deepen their understanding of the SME Instrument

- consultation companies that want to save time and resources when transferring their SME-2 knowledge to their junior consultants

- innovative SMEs looking to learn how to pitch their business ideas from experience of the winning Horizon 2020 applicants

- first time applicants for the SME Instrument Phase 2

- applicants re-submitting their proposals to SME Instrument Phase 2

- all SME Instrument applicants interested in getting the insider knowledge on writing winning H2020 proposals


The Phase 2 of the Horizon 2020 SME instrument is a great tool for turning strong, innovative business ideas into winners on the market. Great innovation projects with sound and strategic business plans are awarded with 500.000 EUR to 2,500.000 EUR grant to further develop the business idea into a market-ready product, service or process.

However, only 14% of all of the applicants' proposals to SME Instrument calls do pass the threshold. Why is that? How is it possible, that as much as 86% of the proposals do not even meet the minumum quality threshold? An evaluation insight reveals that there is a similar writing pattern for both successful and unsuccessful H2020 SME Instrument proposals. Most of the winning proposals use similar writing approach, formation and tricks that allow them to be assessed fast and earn exceptional evaluation scores. On the other hand, most of the rejected SME Instrument proposals fail to deliver the right information, contain fatal mistakes or drop out essential but not obvious elements that are critical for success.

This manual contains the step-by-step guidance for writing a winning Horizon 2020 SME Phase 2 proposal, backed with examples of best practices and inside knowledge. Whether you have already applied to SME Instrument's Phase 2 or are applying to the next cut-offs, this manual will help you get the insiders' knowledge, learn the secrets from the winners and win the SME Instrument grant!

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About the Author:

Authors of the tools are an international team of experts with years of direct and hands-on experience in EU funding and have successfully consulted, cooperated, evaluated and managed several EU projects.

Borut Del Fabbro is an experienced project developer and evaluator and serves also as consultant to Venture Capital Funds. He has coordinated numerous successful EU funded proposals and participated in several EU funded projects. He is a tireless executive with a broad set of knowledge ranging from project appraisal and financing to leadership and marketing skills.

Rok Berovic is a project and business development manager with a proven expertise in project management, business planning and strategy, market research, and project planning and implementation. His skills and knowledge have contributed to realization of multiple H2020 and other EU funded proposals.

Dr. Benjamin Leskovec has years of experience in EU funding programmes. As an accomplished entrepreneur, he is known for his ability to recognize feasible project opportunities. He has thus contributed to development and preparation of several EU proposals that led to projects with meaningful outcomes for participants and European society in general.

Helena Suárez Lozano is a visual communication expert. She specializes in creating compelling and effective document designs that facilitate reading and conveying of ideas.

Anja Bartol has international experience and specializes in writing the Impact section of H2020 proposals. She contributed to the thoroughness of the section dedicated to impact.

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