Skip to main content
European Commission logo
European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA)
Call for tendersClosed

EIC Partners Call for internationalisation


Publication date
Deadline date
Opening of tenders


The EIC is looking for partners to facilitate the internationalisation efforts of top EIC beneficiaries in key World markets with particular emphasis on United States (including Silicon Valley), Asia, South America and Middle East.

International activities are essential to reinforcing SMEs’ growth and employment, to enhancing competitiveness, and support for long-term sustainability and resilience. In this context, the companies’ full growth potential depends on their ability to access overseas markets, and seize the opportunities presented by growing and emerging markets. However, EIC beneficiaries face a considerable number of difficulties and challenges with market expansion, further emphasised in the current economic context with all its risks and uncertainties.

Despite the uncertainty and difficulties arising from the pandemic situation, EIC beneficiaries indicated that they are planning to expand their activities in new markets, with the vast majority already trying to do so now. Only 5% of companies indicated not having any expansion plans.

EIC beneficiaries will strongly benefit from the establishment of new business contacts in third countries, as business connections enable faster information flow, a better understanding of the new market, deeper knowledge exchange, and more identification of new leads.

The USA is the primary geographic target market for EIC beneficiaries. Companies also highlighted China, Latin America, Japan, and South East Asia as priority overseas markets for expansion.

The future EIC partners should offer services to the EIC beneficiaries to help them ease the existing barriers for internationalisation such as the high financial investment required for the expansion, reaching client base in a target country, and identifying business partners. EIC beneficiaries can strongly benefit from direct technical support in the selected market, which would target some of these issues, particularly measures targeted to increase the knowledge of the target market (trainings), facilitate identification and interaction with leads, support in the establishment of international partnerships in business and R&D, regulatory, foster contacts in local startup ecosystems and set up lasting trustful mentorships.  

The following criteria will be used for the selection of the Partners:

Criterium 1: Excellence and impact of the applicant service offer:

The applicants should have:

  • Relevant and qualified experience in hosting european based deep-tech start-ups in the foreign market selected.
  • Capacity to organise accelerated soft-landing programmes of EIC beneficiaries.
  • Proven support network to offer to EIC beneficiaries in the foreign market selected such as qualified network of mentors and investors.
  • Previous significant experience in holding similar programs
  • Track record in providing value to the Startups, in terms of training, fund raised, scale up, exit opportunities or other similar benefits.

Criterium 2: Alignment of the applicant service offer with the areas of activity and needs of the EIC Beneficiaries.

The EIC beneficiaries cover a wide spectrum of deep tech areas such as the ones indicated below. Please try to indicate if you offer aligns with all or with specific areas of activities.

EIC Call

How the proposed service will solve the needs of the EIC beneficiaries, namely:

  • direct technical support in the selected market,
  • increase the knowledge of the target market (trainings),
  • facilitate identification and interaction with leads
  • support in the establishment of international partnerships in business and R&D ,
  • foster contacts in local startup ecosystems and
  • set up lasting trustful mentorships.  

Criterium 3: Complementarity of the applicant service offer to the EIC Business Acceleration Services.

The EIC is already supporting the internationalisation of the EIC beneficiaries through different initiatives. One of them is the EIC Overseas Trade Fairs Programme (OTF). This programme facilitates the EIC beneficiaries to promote their commercialisation strategy in foreign markets and leverage business opportunities at the most popular trade fairs, strengthening the EU innovation brand around the world.

The OTF Programme is running since 2016, and offers EIC beneficiaries a comprehensive range of business services around the participation on the most popular international trade fairs in different sectors across EU and extra-EU markets including South-East Asia, the Middle East and the United States of America.

The services of the partners applying to this call must contribute to the internationalisation of the EIC beneficiaries complementing the ongoing initiatives of the EIC in this area.

What are the benefits of initiative for EIC Partners?

The EIC Partners can benefit from the initiative in the following ways (non-exhaustive):

Gain direct access to a community of quality-stamped and validated technologies from a wide selection of European Ecosystems (and many associated countries) and across all fields and disruptive innovation areas.

Access the portfolio of over 6000 innovative researchers and start-ups financially supported by the EIC and 430 innovation-driven research teams.

Gain an EIC label to raise each partnership’s visibility on a European level and nurture connections between the EIC and present partner organisations through networking events and community building activities.

Venture into deals with new, up-and-coming innovative start-ups and SMEs within the European deep tech innovation ecosystem.

Pilot and promote new services through EIC Beneficiaries by providing them first-hand experiences and testing of services.

Attain a seat as an EIC Ecosystem Community member and gain the benefits of being on the frontline as a participant in EU-funded programmes with a reputation as a facilitator in the European innovation ecosystems.

Deadline for applications 27 March 2023, 23:59 CET.

Apply here