On August 30th, 2022, the Deputy Minister of Development and Investments presented the new NSRF Program “Competitiveness” regarding the support for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new program amounts to 4 billion euros and is confined to four pillars:
- Enhancing entrepreneurship and competitiveness (41%)
- Access to financing and funding tools (24%)
- Enhancing research and innovation (20%)
- Developing of the human capital (reskilling and specialized training of staff (13%).
The rest of the budget will cover the technical assistance needed for the program’s implementation.
According to the Deputy Minister, the program will operate on a “first come, first serve” basis. The invitations – which are expected to be issued in early October – will remain open until the funds concerned have been used up. The first enterprise to apply will be the first to be evaluated “with simplified and almost automated criteria”.
If accepted, the enterprise will be given a timeframe to implement the investment and the government amins not to provide any extensions to the predetermined timeframes.
The aids are divided into three main lines of action:
- Financing and funding tools, including co-financed loans and tools for supporting share capital;
- Green transition of small and medium-sized enterprises;
- Digital transformation of small and medium-sized enterprises.
As for the green transition, the program provides for three sub-cases:
- Energy upgrades regarding the efficiency of equipment,
machinery, and buildings
- Enhancement of the circular economy (recycling practices, treatment of waste)
- Enhancement of the green production procedure by incorporating green and renewable energy sources
Regarding the digital transformation, we notice a different set of sub options:
- Basic digital transformation (basic tools)
- Enhanced digital transformation (for enterprises aiming to expand their technological and digital maturity by establishing systems like ERP)
- “Cutting-edge” digital transformation (for enterprises that already incorporated technologically advanced options and aim to “cutting-edge” solutions of the 4th industrial revolution
It is evident that all the lines of action are focused on minimizing the production cost and increasing the enterprises’ competitiveness. The final interesting part of this program is that the actions can – and possibly will – be amended while the invitations are still open. As the Deputy Minister put it, the invitation will be amended in order to incorporate eligible costs that did not exist when it was first issued. Every enterprise will be able to submit an amended or second application as to these costs.
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