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The KMU-innovativ funding initiative is specifically aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). It intends to shorten procedures for innovative research projects and make it easier to access funding in order to support cutting-edge research in the SME sector.

Targeted support for SMEs

That is why there is a so-called pilot service (“Lotsendienst”) for businesses that have previously had little or no experience of realising research and development projects. It provides guidance on which support is appropriate and how to apply for funding.

There is also a simplified credit assessment to give small businesses a better chance of obtaining funding. Furthermore, researching SMEs receive special help with particularly high-risk projects.

Planning is also made easier: there are fixed deadlines and time limits for the evaluation of project outlines and decisions on funding applications.

Funding for the technologies of the future

Funding is provided for a broad range of research and development fields in the following technological areas:

  • Bioeconomy
  • Electronics and autonomous driving
  • Research into civil security
  • Medical technology
  • Information and communications technology
  • Materials research
  • Human-technology interaction
  • Photonics and quantum technologies
  • Production technology
  • Resource-efficiency and climate protection

As a rule, funding lasts for up to three years.

Enormous response

This research funding for SMEs began in 2007. So far, a total of almost 1.3 billion euros has been allocated to research projects in which roughly 2,900 SMEs have been involved.

KMU-innovativ is part of the High-Tech Strategy and the "Vorfahrt für den Mittelstand" ten-point programme of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to promote innovation in SMEs.