The amount of 300 million euros is currently available to businesses in Greece as a form of direct support for the implementation of innovative investment plans for growth and modernization or to boost their export activity. These aids come from NSRF (National Strategic Reference Framework) resources and in particular through the Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation (EPAnEK), managed by the Ministry of Economy and Development. The ‘‘emblematic’’ programmes of EPAnEK that are currently in progress, are the ‘‘twin’’ actions ‘‘Digital Step’’ and ‘‘Digital Leap’’, ‘‘Quality Modernization’’ and ‘‘We Do Business Outside’’.
The first and third programmes are focused on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, while the second concerns only medium-sized enterprises,in accordance with the definition of community. That is, enterprises that employ from 50 and in each case fewer than 250 employees and the annual turnover does not exceed € 50 million or the total annual balance sheet does not exceed € 43 million.
The ‘‘twin’’ actions
The “Digital Step” and the “Digital Leap” actions,with a total public spending of € 100 million (from € 50 million each), have been designed to boost the beneficiary businesses either to make their first digital steps or be upgraded even more.
The percentage of the subsidy is set at 50% of the investment plan which will be submitted and the interested parties will be able to acquire new equipment, software and Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The amount of the grant may be up to 200,000 euros.Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have completed at least two full accounting periods and keep B and C category accounting books until 31.12.2017 are entitled to participate in the actions. The closing date for applications is October 2 2018. It is to be noted that the expiration day of the initial deadline was September 17, but a slight extension was given.
‘‘The Digital Step’’ refers to digitally immature businesses (low or middle digital rank), which can submit an investment budget plan of between € 5,000 and € 50,000.
The ‘‘Digital Leap’’ refers to digitally mature businesses respectively (higher or highest digital rank), which will be able to submit an investment budget plan of between € 55,000 and € 400,000.
Under the two actions, the following costs are subsidized:
- Supply, transport, installation and operation of new machinery and other ICT equipment necessary for the operation of the business and the security of the provided services.
- Software supply and parameterization.
- Online shop necessarily with features:
-At least two languages
-Ordering, storage and electronic payments software
- Services related to:
- hospitality (hosting, collocation)
- internet connection
- digital advertising (google ads, facebook ads)
- development of digital advertising material
- development and / or certification of digital security policy,
- data transfer or software parameterization
- Employee cost (new staff).
The said programme concerns the boosting of existing medium-sized enterprises, and as a matter of priority, those active in the nine strategic areas of EPAnEK in order for them to upgrade and improve their competitive position in the internal and external market by investing in their modernization and quality upgrading.
With a budget (public spending) of 150 million euros and a subsidy rate of 50%, the programme subsidizes investment plans ranging from 50,000 to 400,000 euros, including the acquisition of new modern machines and equipment in general, necessary for the operation of the enterprise and the pursuing of its economic activity, the introduction of quality management systems, the designing, the standardization and certification of products.
Additionally,costs of transport procurement, consultancy services for the monitoring of the investment plan as well as full wage costs for newly recruited staff are being boosted.
The submission of applications has begun since June 27 and will remain open until the available budget is exhausted and 18 months after the initial publication of the call at the latest.
Eligible areas of activity
As already mentioned,the submitted investment plans concern – as a matter of priority – the following strategic areas of the Operational Programme ‘‘Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation’’ (EPAnEK):
- Agri-Food / Food Industry
- Supply chain
- Cultural and creative industries (CCIs)
- Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
- Materials – Constructions.
It is noted that companies with even one of the following ineligible NACE (Activity Code Number) are excluded from the action:
- Plant and animal production, hunting and relevant activities
- Forestry and logging
- Fishery and aquaculture
It is underlined that investment projects with a budget of less than € 50,000 are considered ineligible and cannot be submitted. If the investment plan has a budget of more than € 400,000, the excess amount will be considered a 100% private contribution to the project.
In this case, although the excess costs are not subsidized, the subject of evaluation and monitoring – control is the entire investment plan including the extra cost. In any case, the deadline for the completion of the funded investments may not exceed 24 months from the date the decision of inclusion has been adopted.
The categories of eligible programme costs are briefly as follows:
- Machinery – Equipment
- Quality Management System Certification,
- Design, standardization and product certification
- Drafting and monitoring of the investment plan
- Employee cost (new staff) supported by the ECB (European Central Bank) (use of a flexibility clause).
We Do Business Outside
With a budget of € 50 million, the “We Do Business Outside” programme aims at boosting small and medium-sized businesses, so they can participate in international trade fairs. In particular, through the “We Do Business Outside” programme, small exporters will be able to take up to € 50,000 in total within 30 months to strengthen their extraversion.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, which have completed at least one accounting period of 12 months before the date of the electronic submission of the application for funding, have eligible Activity Code Numbers
(NACE) for products they wish to promote through their participation in trade fairs, they already produce / process these products, are already engaged in export activity and at least 2% of the annual turnover comes from exports of products they produce / process.
Applications may be submitted until June 2018, unless the available budget is exhausted.
Terms and conditions
Every business can apply for funding up to € 100,000.
The budget per trade fair amounts to the following figures:
- up to 20,000 euros per fair in the case of participation with a booth of up to 20 square metres, with a maximum public grant of 10,000 euros
- up to € 35,000 per fair in the case of participation with a booth of up to 50 square metres, with a maximum public grant of € 17,500
- up to € 50,000 per fair in the case of participation with a booth of more than 50 square metres, with a maximum public grant of 25,000 euros.
What is funded
The eligible costs under the programme are as follows:
- Cost of participation and registration costs in the Fair catalog
- Travel and accommodation costs for up to 4 representatives of the company participating in each trade fair, such as air tickets and individual transportation to and from the trade fair area
- Accommodation in the country where the fair takes place.
- Stand rent, construction / modulation costs and equipment rental (e.g. audiovisual equipment).
- Cost of sending and returning exhibits, including the cost of insuring them
- Remuneration of specialized external partners necessary for the management / operation of the stand (e.g. interpreter, stand guard, etc.)
- Cost of leaflet design and translation
Expenditure is eligible from the date on which the application for funding is submitted electronically for up to 30 months from the date of the decision to put the investment projects into action.