The Central Innovation Program for SMEs (ZIM) is the program of choice for limited technical innovations from SMEs that are to be developed and brought to market in 1-2 years. Not well suited for software projects.

  • Maximum grant per company: EUR 135,000 – 270,00

  • Flat rate: + 100 % of personnel costs for companies, 85 % for research institutions.

  • Subsidy: 30-60 % of the costs + lump sum

  • Funding body: Federal Government -> BMWK -> AiF/Euronorm/VDI-VDE
  • Program budget: approx. 530 million euros per year
  • Funding topics: Development of innovative products, processes or technical services without restriction to specific technologies and sectors
  • Eligible to apply: SMEs and medium-sized companies with up to 1,000 employees
  • Formats: In-house (individual project), consortia (2 or more SMEs), networks (6 or more SMEs)
  • Application: single-stage, possible on an ongoing basis
  • Requirements: Innovation, technical risks, economic exploitation
  • Difficulty level: Easy

ZIM formats

  • Individual project: One SME

  • Cooperation project: at least two companies or at least one company and one research institution

  • Innovation network: six or more SMEs form a network that is organized by a network manager.

ZIM funding rates