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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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 European Affairs and Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto 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.

 

Grant Scheme 1 - Research, Development and Innovation

Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) is essential for businesses to keep abreast and maximise their growth potential through the development of innovative products and solutions. This RD&I scheme supports various actions falling under the Smart Specialisation Areas in line with the National Research and Innovation Strategy 2020 and specifically addresses the following areas:

Manufacturing / Aviation and Aerospace / Health / ICT /

Tourism Product Development / Maritime Services

Under this scheme, 4 measures are supported in the form of non-repayable grants:

 

Measure 1 – Feasibility Studies

This measure supports eligible enterprises to conduct a feasibility to assess the viability of undertaking a specific R&D project.

Eligible costs: Personnel costs / Consultancy services and equivalent

Enterprise Size

Aid Intensity

Micro/Small

70%

Medium

60%

Large

50%

 

Measure 2 – Research and Development Projects

This measure supports eligible enterprises that are planning to undertake R&D projects that are aimed at developing new products, services or solutions, including Key Enabling Technology, at pre-commercialisation stage having a minimum Technology Readiness Level 6. The planned action should be supported by a feasibility study to ensure that the project has a clear scope and is of strategic importance. Projects having at least two independent parties collaborating for the exchange of knowledge or technology, known as Effective Collaboration Projects, are entitled to additional aid intensity as shown in the table below. 

Eligible costs: Personnel costs / Consultancy services and equivalent / Equipment and instrument cost / Additional overheads

Enterprise Size

Aid Intensity

Effective Collaboration Projects

Maximum Aid Intensity

Micro/Small

45%

+15%

60%

Medium

35%

+15%

50%

Large

25%

+15%

40%

 

Measure 3 – Investment in Research Infrastructures

This measure supports eligible enterprises to set up facilities with the aim to provide research infrastructures that perform an economic activity, to support the development and exchange of knowledge, expertise and the creation of technology transfer possibilities among undertakings.

Eligible costs: Tangible assets directly required to set up the infrastructure / Intangible assets such as patents, licences, software and technical knowledge directly required to implement the action.

Enterprise Size

Aid Intensity

Micro / Small / Medium / Large

50%

 

Measure 4 – Process Innovation

This measure supports eligible enterprises to develop or implement a new or significantly improved product or delivery method.

Eligible costs: Personnel costs / Consultancy services and equivalent / Equipment and instrument cost / Additional overheads

Enterprise Size

Aid Intensity

Micro / Small / Medium

50%

Large (on condition that the project is implemented in effective collaboration with an SME where the SME incurs at least 30% of the eligible costs)

15%

The maximum grant value under each measure may not exceed the threshold outlined in Article 4 of the General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). This scheme is managed through an open rolling call with the list of cut-off dates scheduled as follows:

  • Friday 30th October, 2020 at noon
  • Monday 30th November, 2020 at noon

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Grant Scheme 2 - e-Commerce

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 16th October 2020 at noon
  • Friday 30th October 2020 at noon
  • Friday 13th November 2020 at noon
  • Monday 30th November 2020 at noon
  • Wednesday 16th December 2020 at noon
  • Thursday 31st December  2020 at noon
  • Friday 15th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 29th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 12th February 2021 at noon
  • Friday 26th February 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 17th March 2021 at noon
  • Tuesday 30th March 2021 at noon
  • Friday 16th April 2021 at noon
  • Friday 30th April 2021 at noon
  • Friday 14th May 2021 at noon
  • Monday 31st May 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 16th June 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th June 2021 at noon

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Grant Scheme 3 - Start up Investment

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 October 2020 at noon
  • Monday 30th November 2020 at noon
  • Thursday 31st December  2020 at noon
  • Friday 29th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 26th February 2021 at noon
  • Tuesday 30th March 2021 at noon
  • Friday 30th April 2021 at noon
  • Monday 31st May 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th June 2021 at noon

View more

Grant Scheme 4 - SME Growth

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:

  • Monday 30th November, 2020 at noon
  • Thursday 31st December, 2020 at noon
  • Friday 29th January, 2021 at noon
  • Friday 26th February, 2021 at noon
  • Tuesday 30th March, 2021 at noon
  • Friday 30th April, 2021 at noon
  • Monday 31st May, 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th June, 2021 at noon

View more

Grant Scheme 5 - SME Diversification and Innovation

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 October 2020 at noon
  • Monday 30th November 2020 at noon
  • Thursday 31st December  2020 at noon
  • Friday 29th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 26th February 2021 at noon
  • Tuesday 30th March 2021 at noon
  • Friday 30th April 2021 at noon
  • Monday 31st May 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th June 2021 at noon

View more

Grant Scheme 6 - SME Internationalisation

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 October 2020 at noon
  • Monday 30th November 2020 at noon
  • Thursday 31st December  2020 at noon
  • Friday 29th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 26th February 2021 at noon
  • Tuesday 30th March 2021 at noon
  • Friday 30th April 2021 at noon
  • Monday 31st May 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th June 2021 at noon

View more

Grant Scheme 7 - SME Consultancy Services

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 16th October 2020 at noon
  • Friday 30th October 2020 at noon
  • Friday 13th November 2020 at noon
  • Monday 30th November 2020 at noon
  • Wednesday 16th December 2020 at noon
  • Thursday 31st December  2020 at noon
  • Friday 15th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 29th January 2021 at noon
  • Friday 12th February 2021 at noon
  • Friday 26th February 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 17th March 2021 at noon
  • Tuesday 30th March 2021 at noon
  • Friday 16th April 2021 at noon
  • Friday 30th April 2021 at noon
  • Friday 14th May 2021 at noon
  • Monday 31st May 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 16th June 2021 at noon
  • Wednesday 30th June 2021 at noon

View more

 

 

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.

 

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