Ten Irish businesses with each receive €50,000 in funding from the European Commission in the first wave of grands under its SME Instrument scheme.

The €3bn programme was launched under Horizon 2020 to help innovative small firms get ideas from the lab to the market. 

A total of 155 SMEs from 21 countries have been selected to receive €50,000 each to finance feasibility studies to develop their innovation strategy. 

In addition, SMEs can benefit from up to three days of business coaching.

Spanish SMEs were particularly successful in the first round, with 39 proposals selected, followed closely by SMEs from Britain and Italy. 

In total, there were 2,666 applications for the first grants.

Successful applicants will be formally notified in August by the Executive Agency for SMEs, which manages the programme.

Commenting on the announcement Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, said: "The response to the new SME Instrument is encouraging. We hope many of the business plans being financed will mature to become real products and services, generating growth and jobs for our economies."