Call for proposals for the Project “Fostering self-employment among higher education graduates

The Program “Fostering Self-Employment Among Higher Education Graduates” is financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) in the framework of the Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Operational Program (EPAnEK) of PA 2014–2020 and with the application of the flexibility clause for financing interventions that fall within the scope of aid under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Potential Beneficiaries

Tertiary education graduates, who have been born before 1/1/1991, so as to start/ sustain a professional activity related to their field of specialization and organize their own independent professional businesses / enterprises.


  • unemployed higher education graduates, born before 1.1.1991, and registered with OAED’s unemployment registry at the time of submitting the application;
  • natural persons who are tertiary education graduates, born before 1.1.1991, unemployed, and pursue a professional activity related to their field of specialisation.

The professional activities that will be financed by the Program are indicatively the following:

Doctor, dentist, vet, physiotherapist, biologist, psychologist, midwife, lawyer, architect, engineer, surveyor, chemist, agronomist, geologist, forester, oceanographer, designer, journalist, writer, interpreter, guide, translator, professor or teacher, sculptor or painter, cartoonist or engraver, actor, musician, dancer, choreographer, director, set designer, costume maker, decorator, economist, analyst, programmer, researcher or consultant, accountant or tax expert, actuary, sociologist and social worker, etc.

Activities not supported by the ERDF (ΕC. 1301/2013, article 3 par.2) and the De Minimis Regulation (ΕC. 1407/2013, article 1), as well as activities with respect to the restaurant sector are excluded. Retail trade is eligible only if it constitutes a complementary activity necessary for the service delivered (e.g. sale of medicines by a veterinary).

The eligible categories for business activities (Activity Code Numbers – KAD), which will be subsidised in the context of the Action are included in the Call for Proposals of the Program.

The Program’s call will contain means test criteria for both categories of beneficiaries.

Conditions of Participation

The beneficiaries, who will receive aid for investment proposals have to meet, cumulatively, the following conditions:

  • they should have graduated from higher education schools (Universities/Higher Technological Institutes) or their equivalents in Greece or abroad (recognised by the National Academic Recognition Information Centre – DOATAP);
  • born before 1/1/1991;
  • should operate professionally in an activity related to their field of specialisation;
  • each beneficiary should be an eligible natural person to participate in submitting a single investment proposal;
  • their business activity should pertain to the eligible business activity categories, throughout the duration of the investment;
  • not to have income from another business activity;
  • the total amount of de minimis aid, including the aid from this Action, should not exceed the amount of €200,000 (or €100,000 for the transport sector) within a period of three years (current financial year and (2) previous financial years) prior to the date of proposal inclusion.

Project’s Budget – Geographical Distribution

In the context of the program, projects with a total investment budget (subsidised budget) from €5,000 up to €25,000 will be subsidised.

The aid rate for the investment proposals is set at 100% of the total investment budget.

Up to 40% of the corresponding Public Expenditure can be paid in advance by providing a letter of guarantee for the same amount by a bank or other financial institution established in Greece.

The funding shall be provided by the Greek State and the European Union and specifically the European Social Fund (ESF). In order to finance the equipment expenses the ESF flexibility clause will be activated for financing interventions that fall within the aid scope of the ERDF.

The action’s budget for public expenditure amounts to €50 million and will be allocated in two cycles (1st cycle: 65% and 2nd cycle: 35% of the action budget). The present program of the 1st cycle is financed with the total amount of €32.5 million (Public Expenditure) and is allocated to the regions throughout the country as follows:

  • Eastern Macedonia – Thrace, Central Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly, Western Greece: €19,500,000
  • Western Macedonia, Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Northern Aegean, Crete: €5,785,000
  • Attica: €5,070,000
  • Sterea Ellada: €1,261,000
  • Southern Aegean: €884,000
  • TOTAL: €32,500,000

Project Duration: twenty four (24) months from the date for the decision to include the investment plan.

Eligible Expenditure Categories

  • The necessary professional productive equipment at a rate of up to 40% of the total budget of the plan (besides the cost of a new job);
  • The operational cost of an activity (rent of professional premises, insurance contributions, third party services such as electricity, telephony, water, natural gas, mobile professional telephony bills);
  • Expenses for hosting the company at an incubator (provision of secretarial and administrative support, use of equipment, specialised advisory services – market analysis, legal and accounting issues, development of a business plan, human resources issues, specialised education / training services, networking actions for the support of business groups, co-ordination and evaluation of implementation, etc.);
  • Expenses for promotional activities and networking;
  • The cost of salaried work (in the event of hiring an employee) up to one annual working unit (AWU);
  • General equipment (offices, seating, etc);
  • Accessibility interventions for people with disabilities;
  • Third party fees.

It should be noted that enterprises that will be subsidized for their productive equipment should be maintained for at least three (3) years from the completion of the business plan.

The beginning of expenditure eligibility is set as the starting date of the application period (08/03/2016).