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European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)
Call for proposalsClosed

Startup Europe (HORIZON-EIE-2024-CONNECT-01-02)


Publication date
Opening date
Deadline model
Deadline date
25 April 2024, 17:00 (CEST)


This action will connect local digital and deep tech start-up ecosystems and support cross-border acceleration activities for start-ups that demonstrate traction (i.e. market-product fit or at least a seed round raised). Among the start-up ecosystems to be connected, specific attention will be given to the inclusion of ecosystems in ‘moderate’ or ‘emerging’ innovator countries and/or regions.

While cross-border acceleration activities are open to all European start-ups demonstrating traction, the action will also target scale-ups identified in Horizon Europe (e.g. though the EIC -including the EIC Scaleup 100 action - and EIT-supported companies), the Digital Europe Programme (e.g. from European Digital Innovation Hubs), and the use of Innovation Radar intelligence and other relevant data sets. Targeting of start-ups funded by national programmes, particularly those part of “Plug-in” certified programmes (see EIC Work Programme 2022 Annex 5) should also be considered.

Project results are expected to contribute to the following expected outcomes:

  • Increasing the market footprint of European start-ups in strategic digital technologies and deep tech innovation, notably Artificial Intelligence, Advanced Computing, Cybersecurity, Next Generation Internet, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Metaverse, Energy, Greentech, AgriTech, and Fintech;
  • Better connection of start-ups, including European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) and European Innovation Council (EIC) supported start-ups and Seal of Excellence holders, to relevant local and/or European ecosystems, communities, and potential new markets;
  • A scaling up of capabilities in matching technology solutions developed by highly innovative European Union (EU) funded digital and deep tech start-ups with investment and growth opportunities in collaboration with other initiatives such as: the EIC, the EIT and the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), InvestEU, the Digital Europe Programme, Women TechEU, public and private buyers, or investors and corporate innovation ventures, and start-up villages.

In pursuit of the above outcomes the projects are expected to prioritise:

  • Start-ups that have either already achieved market-product fit or have raised at least a round of financing (seed or later); and
  • Start-ups established in ‘moderate’ or ‘emerging’ innovator countries and/or regions; or
  • Women-led start-ups.

Target groups

Start-up ecosystem builders, business angel organisations, venture capital entities, accelerators, incubators, start-up associations, clusters.



Deadline to apply is: 25 April 2024, 17:00:00 CET.