The Access4SMEs, the network of the H2020 National Contact Points for SMEs and Access to Risk Finance, and EuroQuity, the leading European online matchmaking platform connecting high potential SMEs and investors, are launching the new “Access4SMEs” e-community dedicated to  companies who have received the Seal of Excellence from the EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Program seeking to raise funds.

The European Commission has developed a first-class evaluation system engaging independent, international experts who assess submitted projects on grounds of innovation and marketability. SMEs who have been evaluated favourably but due to limited funds could not be financed, receive the “Seal of Excellence”, a quality label awarded by the European Commission to innovative and close-to-market projects submitted under Horizon 2020.

This initiative is aiming to facilitate access to risk finance for “Seal of Excellence” SMEs who will be offered greater visibility, matchmaking services and support services under a dedicated on-line community which has been launched on the EuroQuity platform.

This new “Access4SMEs” Community will bring together companies bearing the “Seal of Excellence” label and investors looking for a pan-European quality deal flow including EU-backed venture funds and Horizon 2020 SMEs and Access to risk finance “National Contact Points” as Business support structures. The community already gathers more than 400 members.

This on-line community allows every “Seal of Excellence” company to gain an instant visibility among the main EU business angels’ networks, VCs, corporate investors and new business partners. It validates to investors the quality of SMEs’ projects, displaying the EU label and project features as key aspects of their European ambition and of their innovation potential.

The main objective is to boost access to finance for this high-potential group of EU SMEs, but also to increase the visibility and deal flow potential of EU and non EU-backed equity funds towards cross border audiences.

It also offers a set of free services that will help these companies grow on a European level:

- Visibility and access to European investors

- Possibility to pitch online in front of investors during e-pitch sessions

- Connections with NCPs

EuroQuity is a non-profit online service for SMEs and investors. It offers secure matchmaking services and qualified relationships to find high-potential companies in which to invest and respectively reliable investors, advisors, partners (including other companies for commercial, technical and industrial partnerships). In total, EuroQuity is currently bringing together nearly 6,000 investors, 4,000 companies, and 2,200 project leaders, 2,300 advisors from France, Germany, Belgium and North Africa. In addition, the platform has managed to generate more than 300 million investments since 2008.

About Access4SMEs and NCP organizations: ACCESS4SMES is a 30 months Coordination and Support Action established with the aim to empower the network of National Contact Points (NCP) for Small Medium-sized Enterprises – SMEs and Access to risk finance –  ARF under Horizon 2020.The overall objective is to facilitate transnational cooperation among NCPs for SMEs and ARF, upgrade their skills and tools in order to raise their standard of support, identifying and sharing good practices across SME/Industry dedicated instruments in Horizon 2020 in close collaboration with other EU networks.

About the Seal of Excellence: The Seal of Excellence was launched by Commissioner of Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and Commissioner of Regional Policy Corina Creţu on 12 October 2015. It is a quality label awarded to projects submitted to Horizon 2020 which were deemed to deserve funding but did not receive it due to budget limits. It recognizes the value of the proposal and supports the search for alternative funding. This quality label is a guarantee for investors to find high standard projects from European SMEs with strong feasibility and capacity of development.