Expanding Acceleration Ecosystems 

Expanding Acceleration Ecosystems 

The SCALEUP destination aims to strengthen and expand cooperation among innovation actors to better support the next generation of innovative companies. Actions will help innovation ecosystems support companies to better seize and create opportunities to sustain their growth and gain a new competitive advantage..

Incubators, accelerators, and different types of "business builders" play a critical role in providing growth support to start-ups. Because of the diverse innovation landscape in Europe, start-ups from better-connected innovation ecosystems benefit from more local accelerators with more funding opportunities and better-qualified business support services than their counterparts elsewhere. Although there are no credible benchmarking studies on European accelerators, most global or European rankings do not include accelerators from Europe's least connected ecosystems. This geographic gap often requires start-ups from less connected ecosystems to move to more established hubs in other parts of Europe. As a result, there are fewer scale-ups in less connected innovation ecosystems, creating unbalanced business activity and job opportunities. Elevating Acceleration Ecosystems should reverse this flow by making "modest" and "moderate" innovation ecosystems more attractive to international companies interested in setting up their businesses outside of established hubs and exploiting the potential of local ecosystems.

The calls under Elevating the scalability potential of European business (2021) HORIZON-EIE-2021-SCALEUP-01, with a budget of 13.75 M€ and containing the following topic HORIZON-EIE-2021-SCALEUP-01-01 (CSA): Expanding Acceleration Ecosystems, with a budget of 5M€. A European contribution of 1M€ per project is expected, so 5 projects are expected to be funded.

Expected opening date: 13 July, 2021.





Expanding Acceleration Ecosystems 


Link to the call page



10 November 2021 5 p.m. Brussels time

Funding programme:

Horizon Europe


Work programme

HE Main Work Programme 2021–2022 – 10. European Innovation Ecosystems (EIE)

Funding body:

European Commission


Budget (€):

5 000 000 euro


The project results that the EC intends to co-fund should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Increased openness, competitiveness, and overall potential to develop innovation ecosystems and create high value-added local jobs;
  • Balanced business activity across Europe;
  • Improved quality and diffusion of business acceleration services in the development of innovation ecosystems.



The action supports co-designed programs of activity, of at least two years' duration, jointly proposed by business acceleration entities located in less connected innovation ecosystems ('modest' and 'moderate') and innovation hubs ('strong innovators’ and ‘innovation leaders'), to improve the quality of business acceleration services, their networked deployment and large-scale support, such as:

  • sharing best practices, knowledge, tools and methods related to business acceleration;
  • exchange of promising start-ups and SMEs, including women-led businesses, with participation in acceleration programs abroad and placement in foreign financing institutions;
  • exchange of acceleration program experts, including evaluators, subject matter experts, mentors, and investors;
  • establishing links between local actors in ecosystem development, especially research, educational institutions and local authorities and incoming startups, international accelerators and experts to improve technology and knowledge transfer to provide them with innovative solutions;
  • creation of a virtual platform with an overview of accelerator programs, financial resources, mentors, events in partner ecosystems.


To ensure that the impact of the action goes beyond the consortium members and their respective countries, the consortia are encouraged to work closely with innovation agencies in their respective territories and beyond, and seeks synergies with relevant EU initiatives such as the Enterprise Europe Network.