Funding tools

European Funding Programs


Horizon 2020 Framework programme for Research and Innovation

‘Horizon 2020’ is the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation which strives to stimulate the economy and secure the science and technology base and industrial competitiveness for the future, contributing towards a smarter, more sustainable and more inclusive society. SMEs can participate in the EU research programme Horizon 2020 (H2020) in the following areas:

Innovation in SMEs

Is a broader action to develop the ecosystem of innovation support to SMEs in Europe. Generally, the actions are designed to provide opportunities to Member States and regions to enhance their services through collaboration, peer-learning and uptake of new approaches. In addition, several actions will focus on the identification, further development of skills and expertise among SMEs as well as the dissemination and exploitation of project results.

Societal challenge ‘Secure, clean and efficient energy’

The Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency Call 2018-2020 provides support to energy actors through:

  • Research and innovation in more energy-efficient technologies and solutions;
  • Market uptake measures to remove non-technological barriers by (a) facilitating policy implementation; (b) building capacity; and (c) mobilising large-scale investments in sustainable energy.

The Call focuses on five main areas: (1) consumers; (2) buildings; (3) industry and services; (4) policy-driven innovations; and (5) innovative financing.

Societal challenge ‘Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials’

The specific objective is to achieve a resource- and water-efficient and climate change resilient economy and society, the protection and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems, and a sustainable supply and use of raw materials, in order to meet the needs of a growing global population within the sustainable limits of the planet’s natural resources and ecosystems.

Activities will contribute to increasing European competitiveness and raw materials security and to improving well-being, whilst assuring environmental integrity, resilience and sustainability with the aim of keeping average global warming below 2 °C and enabling ecosystems and society to adapt to climate change and other environmental changes

European Innovation Council Pilot-scheme

The European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot supports innovators developing breakthrough innovations with the potential to create new markets and boost jobs, growth and prosperity in Europe.

  • SME-instrument
  • Fast Track to Innovation

Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE)

The LIFE Programme is the EU’s funding instrument (a continuation of LIFE+) to support the protection of the environment and climate action.

Eco-innovation projects

Eco-innovation projects focus on cleaner production, environmental management and new products and services to make sustainable development become a business reality.

Interreg Mediterranean


The Interreg MED Programme is a European transnational cooperation programme adopted by the European Commission and co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

It provides funds for cooperation projects developed and managed by public bodies – and in some cases by private entities – in the Northern regions of the Mediterranean. Its territory covers 57 regions from 13 European countries (including 3 countries in pre-accession to the EU), from Portugal to Cyprus.

For 2014-2020, the total budget of the Programme is around 275 million euros.

Its overall objective is to promote sustainable growth in this area. As a consequence, the projects co-funded by the Programme should be focused on the following thematics:

  • blue growth
  • green growth
  • social innovation
  • cultural and creative industries
  • energy efficiency in public buildings
  • renewable energy
  • low carbon urban transports
  • sustainable maritime and coastal tourism
  •  biodiversity protection

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National funding Programs

ΕΣΠΑ 2014-2020

National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF-ESPA)
Operational Programmes 

The objectives of the European Structural and Investment Funds of the European Union, which co-finance the Partnership Agreement (PA) 2014-2020, are implemented through Operational Programmes.

The Operational Programmes are multiannual programs that are effective throughout the programming period 2014-2020 and are related to sectors and/or geographic regions at international, national or local level.

The architecture of the PA 2014-2020 includes:

  • Seven (7) Sectoral Operational Programmes 

The Sectoral Operational Programmes (OP) are related to one or more sectors of the economic and social life and apply geographically across the whole country.

In particular, the Sectoral Operational Programmes of PA are the following:

  • OP Competitiveness, Enterpreneurship and Innovation
  1. OP Transport Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development
  2. OP Human Resources Development, Education and Lifelong Learning
  3. OP Public Sector Reform
  4. OP Techincal Assistance
  5. Rural Development Programme
  6. OP Fisheries and Maritime
  • Thirteen (13) Regional Operational Programmes (ROP), one for each of the 13 administrative regions of the country, including regional-scale activities.

Moreover, Greece participates in European Territorial Cooperation programmes, five (5) of which are bilateral, that is, they are held in cooperation with the countries bordering Greece.

These programmes were drawn up by the competent authorities of the country, in cooperation and consultation with the socio-economic partners and were approved by the European Commission.

Each programme includes strategic priorities and indicative actions that shape its contribution to the achievement of the PA objectives and therefore the implementation of the EU strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

More info:

Επιχειρησιακό Πρόγραμμα Κεντρικής Μακεδονίας 

Operational Programme of Central Macedonia Region

Main objectives

The Operational Programme aims to boost economic development and create job opportunities in Central Macedonia. It contributes to achieving the Europe 2020 targets for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, also in line with the smart specialisation strategy. It should create jobs and help SMEs to become more competitive and innovation-driven. EU funding will also contribute to meeting the requirements of the Union’s acquis, in particular as regards greenhouse gas reduction in and increase energy efficiency.

Funding priorities

The OP support will substantially contribute to promoting the following key EU and national development priorities:

  • Strengthening research, technological development and innovation
  • Enhancing access to, and use and quality of, ICT
  • Enhancing competitiveness of SMEs
  • Supporting the shift towards a low-carbon economy in all sectors 
  • Promoting climate change adaptation, risk prevention and management
  • Preserving and protecting the environment and promoting resource efficiency
  • Promoting sustainable transport and removing bottlenecks in key network infrastructures
  • Promoting sustainable and quality employment and supporting labour mobility
  • Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination -ERDF
  • Promoting social inclusion, combating poverty and any discrimination – ESF
  • Investing in education, training and vocational training for skills and lifelong learning
  • Technical Assistance Axis

Expected impacts

  • Support of more than 900 SMEs and cooperation of more than 400 enterprises with research institutions
  • Creation of 1,300 employment positions
  • Improved anti-flood measures for additional 300,000 inhabitants and upgraded transport networks for additional 445,000 persons
  • Annual energy savings of 160 ktoe and protection of additional 530,000ha Natura sites
  • Support of 35 business plans for social enterprises creating 175 employment positions and social inclusion measures covering 1,000 disabled people and 6,500 immigrants.

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Αναπτυξιακός Νόμος 4399/1999

Development Law 4399/2016

The Development Law 4399/2016 “Institutional framework for establishing Private Investment Aid schemes for the country’s regional and economic development – Establishing the Development Council and other provisions” aims to promote:

  • the balanced development with respect to the environment resources,
  • technological upgrading,
  • form a new extrovert national identity,
  • improve competitiveness in high value-added and knowledge-intensive sectors,
  • shift the value in the production chain for the production of more complex products,
  • offer better services,
  • attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), and
  • ensure better positioning of the country in the International Division of Labour.

The achievement of these objectives is pursued by the aids of Law 4399/2016, through the schemes provided for in the Special Part hereof:

  1. Aid for Mechanical Equipment (Articles 32-36). Decision of Notice Gov. Gaz. 3380/19.10.2016, Vol. B.  
  2. General Entrepreneurship (Articles 37-41). Decision of Notice Gov. Gaz. 3378/19.10.2016, Vol. B.  
  3. New Independent SMEs (Articles 42-46). Decision of Notice Gov. Gaz. 3377/19.10.2016, Vol. B. 
  4. Innovation-related Aid for SMEs (Articles 47-51)
  5. Synergies and Networking (Articles 52-58)
  6. Financial Intermediary – Funds (Articles 59-61)
  7. Integrated Territorial and Sectoral Projects (Articles 62-64)
  8. Large Investments (Articles 65-69). Decision of Notice Gov. Gaz. 3379/19.10.2016, Vol. B. 

 More info:



EquiFund is an initiative created by the Hellenic Republic in cooperation with the European Investment Fund (EIF).

EquiFund is co-financed by the EU and national funds, as well as funding from the EIF. The European Investment Bank has joined the existing cornerstone investors through the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the core of the so-called ‘Juncker Plan.’ Strategic Partners such as the Onassis Foundation and the National Bank of Greece have also committed to several of the EquiFund supported funds.

EquiFund will pave the way for unleashing the social and economic wealth-creation of young talented human capital in Greece and its diaspora.

If someone is looking to develop an idea, research or business with equity financing, first need to understand which EquiFund window is right.

a) The innovation window

Targets entrepreneurs with a concept or idea that warrants development or researchers who believe their project will yield results. Accelerators and incubators can offer expertise and backing to help get the idea off the ground. Technology transfer funds can provide finance and experience in transforming research into a commercially viable proposition.

  • Innovation Window Funds
    • BigPi Ventures
    • Metavallon fund
    • Uni.Fund
    • Velocity.Partners

b) The early stage window 

Targets start-up founders who foresee a high growth potential for their business.

Venture capital funds can combine financing with expertise, business knowhow and access to networks to help start-up reach its full potential.

  • Early Stage Window Funds
    • Marathon VC
    • VentureFriends 400W

c) The growth stage window

Targets existing business owners who see potential in scaling up their companies.  

Growth capital funds can offer financial backing and knowhow to help scale up your business through export, expansion and digitalisation.

  • Growth Window Funds
    • Elikonos 2
    • EOS Capital Partners
    • Synergia Hellenic Fund IV

More info:

Founded in 2017 in Athens, Greece, Uni.Fund aspires to support the growth of successful ventures that address emerging market needs and leverage the hidden potential that exists in the Greek Universities, R&D and Tech Space. Uni.Fund focuses on people and team development, enhancement of key strengths and the implementation of successful go-to-market strategies. It aims to offer the ideal conditions for growth, surround teams with the right people, and work with them side by side for the whole journey.

The Funds specialties, are: Pre-seed and seed investments in:

ICT / e-business

  • E-business
  • ICT
  • Fintech
  • Insure-tech
  • Health-tech
  • IoT
  • Robotics

Market Innovation

  • Retail
  • Supply chain
  • Creative Industries
  • Tourism
  • Maritime

The broader tech space

  • Hard science
  • Energy informatics
  • Bio-tech
  • Materials
  • Environment

More info:
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