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Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (STEP) to ease financial support to business investments

von der Leyen
von der Leyen

The European Commission proposed on 20 June the Strategic Technologies for Europe Platform (‘STEP'). The STEP is intended to reinforce and leverage existing EU instruments to quickly deploy financial support to the benefit of business investments. The STEP shall also allow directing existing funding towards technology fields that are crucial for Europe's leadership, thus contributing to a level playing field for investments throughout the Single Market.

The STEP shall build on existing programmes such as InvestEU, Innovation Fund, Horizon Europe, EU4Health, Digital Europe Programme, European Defence Fund, Recovery and Resilience Facility, and cohesion policy funds. However, the Commission has received critical remarks for not proposing to invest fresh funding in the platform.

In the context of Horizon Europe, this initiative will provide up to €2.63 billion in funding to the EIC Accelerator (of which €0.8 billion are redistributed from the programme's pillar 2), supplying equity-only to non-bankable SMEs and small mid-caps carrying out breakthrough and disruptive innovation in critical technologies and regardless of whether they previously received other types of support from the EIC Accelerator. STEP could be a significant development in terms of financing Europe’s leading tech champions and addresses the need for the EU to provide large-scale equity-financing to an increasing number of companies that require follow-on financing rounds or larger investment amounts.