EU Grant Schemes for SMEs

Mitigate against repercussions brought about due to COVID-19

In view of the present situation, where businesses are having to re-think their business strategy or implement actions especially by offering their products or services through an e-commerce facility to mitigate against the repercussions due to COVID-19, the Measures and Support Division are administering Grant Scheme 2: e-Commerce and Grant Scheme 7: SME Consultancy Services on a more regular basis for entities that qualify as SMEs. Details for these schemes are outlined further below.

It should be noted that entities qualifying as SMEs i.e. 'eligible entities' are those which fall under one of the following categories:

  • Micro (headcount < 10 and annual turnover / annual balance sheet < €2million)
  • Small ( headcount < 50 and annual turnover or annual balance sheet < €10million)
  • Medium-sized enterprises  ( headcount < 250 and annual turnover < € 50 million or annual balance sheet < €43million)

In terms of the process for applying under one of these schemes, the entity must fill in an online application through the Business Enhance website and following evaluation by the Measures and Support Division will receive an approval of the grant. Once this is approved, work by the selected service provider can commence. It should be noted the Measures and Support Division are targeting a turnaround time of approximately 2 weeks in order to evaluate applications and confirm aid to businesses as quickly as possible in light of the current situation. 

Should you require any further information or have any queries on these schemes, including on entity eligibility, please do not hesitate to reach out to us on so that we can guide further.

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ERDF GRANT SCHEMES

Under Operational Programme I (OPI) for Malta’s EU Cohesion Policy programme for 2014-2020, €51m have been earmarked for ERDF Grant Schemes in aid of enterprises. The Measures and Support Division within the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs has been designated as the Intermediary Body (IB) responsible for centrally administering and managing these grant schemes.

The seven grant schemes are aimed at supporting SME investments within the ICT sector and various initiatives to enhance SME competitiveness. These seven grant schemes are described in further detail below.

 

e-Commerce Grant Scheme

The e-commerce grant scheme supports SMEs to part-finance investment towards the design, development, implementation and delivery of an e-commerce website and/or a mobile application, or the upgrade of an existing website or mobile application, to enable online sales/bookings through the integration of an e-commerce payment gateway featuring a product/service catalogue and a shopping cart.  

Eligible costs:

  • Domain name registration; 
  • Hosting fees; 
  • Content Management System (CMS) software including required licenses;
  • e-commerce Website and/or Mobile Application design in line with the brand identity of the organisation; 
  • Shopping Cart integration; 
  • Other Set-up fees (including setting up and configuration of the CMS system, system design, customisation and development, integration with payment system/s, implementation of the required security features, testing and go live).

Grant amount: Maximum grant is €5,000, part-financing up to 50% of eligible expenditure

Cut-off dates:

  • Friday 30th September 2022 at noon
  • Friday 14th October 2022 at noon
  • Monday 31st October 2022 at noon
  • Friday 18th November 2022 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022 at noon
  • Friday 16th December 2022 at noon
  • Friday 30th December 2022 at noon 

SME Consultancy Services Grant Scheme

This grant scheme is designed to facilitate access to external consultancy services. The measure supports SMEs by granting a lump sum payment of  €4,000. The scheme primarily supports services related to the development of process and system reviews, business plans and business recovery plans, feasibility studies and organisation and operations reviews. 

This scheme is managed through an open rolling call with the list of cut-off dates scheduled as follows:

  • Friday 30th September 2022 at noon
  • Friday 14th October 2022 at noon 
  • Monday 31st October 2022 at noon
  • Friday 18th November 2022 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022 at noon
  • Friday 16th December 2022 at noon
  • Friday 30th December 2022 at noon

Start-Up Investment Grant Scheme

This grant scheme seeks to assist start-ups established for less than three years. The scheme supports investment in tangible and intangible assets required by the start-up for its operations in line with an approved business plan. This includes assistance with the lease of private operational premises, construction and upgrades of such premises, purchase of new plant, machinery and equipment and patents and licenses. The maximum grant is capped at €300,000 part-financing eligible expenditure up to 50%. This Scheme shall be administered through an open rolling call with the list of cut-off dates scheduled as follows:

  • Friday 30th September 2022 at noon
  • Monday 31st October 2022 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022 at noon
  • Friday 30th December 2022 at noon

SME Growth Grant Scheme

This scheme seeks to support SME efforts and initiatives to increase their national and international market presence, in the form of grants to part-finance investments towards the implementation of their growth strategies related to the extension of the capacity of an existing establishment, or the setting up of a new establishment. This includes assistance with the lease of private operational premises, construction and upgrades of such premises, purchase of new plant, machinery and equipment and patents and licenses. The maximum grant under this scheme is capped at €500,000, with aid intensity varying by the size of the undertaking as shown below:

Size of undertaking As of 1st January 2018
Micro and small 30%
Medium 20%

 

This Scheme shall be administered through an open rolling call with the list of cut-off dates scheduled as follows:

  • Friday 30th September 2022 at noon
  • Monday 31st October 2022 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022 at noon
  • Friday 30th December 2022 at noon

SME Internationalisation Grant Scheme

This grant scheme seeks to support SMEs through the provision of grants to part-finance costs for participation in International Business Promotion Fairs held outside Malta. This must be aimed at the internationalisation of the undertaking by introducing their products/services to new markets and by strengthening their international market presence.

The maximum grant is capped at €10,000, part-financing eligible expenditure up to 50% per event (SMEs can avail from such funds more than once). This scheme is managed through an open rolling call with the list of cut-off dates scheduled as follows:

  • Friday 30th September 2022 at noon
  • Monday 31st October 2022 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022 at noon
  • Friday 30th December 2022 at noon

SME Diversification and Innovation Grant Scheme

This grant scheme seeks to incentivise SMEs to adapt and become more resilient and to address market challenges. Innovation can be crucial for the survival of the enterprise to ensure its market relevance and improve its performance. Through diversification, fundamental changes and increased investment, the grant supports SMEs to bring to the market significantly improved and advanced products/services to those already offered, whilst offering timely support to nurture the right environment towards the potential future business growth of the enterprise.

Eligible actions will include investment in tangible and intangible assets resulting in product / service development, significantly improved products or services, fundamental changes in production processes, or the acquisition or integration of innovative solutions within the business model. The scheme is primarily targeted at sectors covering industry, biotechnology, research and technological innovation, yacht repair and maintenance, eco-innovations and environmental solutions, ICT development, and tourism networks.

The maximum grant is capped at €200,000 subject to De Minimis state aid regulations, with aid intensity up to 50% of eligible expenditure. This scheme is administered through an open rolling call with the list of cut-off dates scheduled as follows:

  • Friday 30th September 2022 at noon
  • Monday 31st October 2022 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th November 2022 at noon
  • Friday 30th December 2022 at noon

 

 

Summary of ERDF Grant Schemes

Grant Scheme Allocated funds Max grant Aid intensity Call State Aid
PA 1 – Investing in research, technological development and innovation
RD&I Grant Scheme €20m As per GBER regulations Varying by enterprise size and measure Ongoing General Block Exemption Rules
PA 2 - Consolidating investment within the ICT sector
e-Commerce Grant Scheme €5m €5,000 50% Ongoing De Minimis Rules
PA 3 - Enhancing Malta’s competitiveness through investment in SMEs
Start-up Investment Grant Scheme €7m €300,000 50% Ongoing General Block Exemption Rules
SME Growth Grant Scheme €8m €500,000 25-35% Ongoing General Block Exemption Rules
SME Diversification and Innovation Grant Scheme €8m €200,000 50% Ongoing De Minimis Rules
SME Internationalisation Grant Scheme €2m €10,000 50% Ongoing General Block Exemption Rules
SME Consultancy Services Grant Scheme €1m €4,000 80% Ongoing De Minimis Rules

More information is available on the Government business enhance website.

 

Renovation of Private Sector buildings Grant Scheme

Enterprises today no longer compete with local counterparts but with competitors on the global marketplace. As a result, investment is needed to obtain new digital capabilities and processes to fuel future business growth. This incentive seeks to assist SMEs through non-repayable grants to part-finance investment to digitalise their operations, and hence improve their resilience, efficiency, productivity and customer experience.  

Read more

Cut-off date:

  • Friday 30th September 2022

SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme

Enterprises today no longer compete with local counterparts but with competitors on the global marketplace. As a result, investment is needed to obtain new digital capabilities and processes to fuel future business growth. This incentive seeks to assist SMEs through non-repayable grants to part-finance investment to digitalise their operations, and hence improve their resilience, efficiency, productivity and customer experience.

Read more

Cut-off date:

  • Friday 30th September 2022

Digital Intensification Grant Scheme

Enterprises today no longer compete with local counterparts but with competitors on the global marketplace. As a result, investment is needed to obtain new digital capabilities and processes to fuel future business growth. This incentive seeks to assist SMEs through non-repayable grants to part-finance investment to digitalise their operations, and hence improve their resilience, efficiency, productivity and customer experience.

Read more

Cut-off date:

  • Friday 30th September 2022
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