Call for proposals: Upgrading of micro and small enterprises by developing their skills in new markets

The Program “Upgrading of micro and small enterprises by developing their skills in new markets” is financed by the Operational Program “Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship, Innovation (EPAnEK)” of PA 2014-2020 and primarily aims to upgrade the level of business organisation and operation of SMEs, in eight (8) strategic sectors of the country, so as to harness their competitive edges, improving their position on the national and international markets.

The priority strategic sectors are:

  • Agri-food / Food Industry;
  • Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs);
  • Materials / Construction;
  • Logistics;
  • Energy;
  • Environment;
  • Information and Communication Technologies, ICT;
  • Health.

The enterprises will receive aid for upgrading through increased investments in their technological and commercial modernisation, adopting the use of ICTs, increasing the degree of standardisation and certification of products, developing integrated services, improving the quality of products and services offered. Simultaneously to the transfer of technology and know-how, productive force skills are expected to be enhanced and the competitiveness of SMEs to be increased.

Eligible Enterprises

  • Existing small and micro enterprises, as defined in the Commission Recommendation 2003/361/ΕC, are those, which operate exclusively in the eight (8) priority strategic sectors of EPAnEK (see above). Existing are enterprises that had been established before 31/12/2013.
  • New small and micro enterprises, which operate exclusively in the eight (8) priority strategic sectors of EPAnEK and have been established before 31/12/2015.

Activities not supported by the ERDF (ΕC. 1301/2013, article 3 par.2) and the requirements of the De minimis Regulation (ΕC. 1407/2013, article 1), as well as activities with respect to the restaurant sector, retail trade and tourism are excluded.

Conditions of participation

  • they must operate in Greece and make an investment in a specific region;
  • they must operate exclusively under one of the following forms: undertakings of a corporate / commercial character (Societe Anonyme, Limited Liability Company, Partnership or Limited Partnership and Private Company) and sole proprietorships;
  • should not be in a state of bankruptcy, being wound up or under special administration;
  • should not constitute undertakings in difficulty in the sense attributed by the law on state aid;
  • there should be no outstanding aid recovery procedures against them;
  • to have or to commit to procuring the appropriate infrastructure with the purpose of minimising the obstacles for people with disabilities, wherever required and necessary. Infrastructures mean the building infrastructure, as well as the electronic applications addressed to the customers (e.g. webpages and other electronic applications, such as electronic information and/or service points, etc.);
  • to submit up to one investment proposal per Tax ID No.;
  • the total amount of de minimis aid received in the past by the enterprise, including the aid from this Action, should not exceed €200,000 (or €100,000 in the transport sector) within a three year period (current financial year and two (2) previous financial years) before the date of proposal inclusion.

Public enterprises, public entities or public organisations and/or their subsidiaries, as well as similar enterprises are not entitled to submit a proposal.

Project’s Budget – Geographical Distribution

The program is financed with the total amount of €130,000,000 (Public Expenditure) and will be realised in two (2) cycles of calls (1st cycle in 2016: 60% and 2nd cycle in 2016: 40%). The present programme of the 1st cycle is financed with the total amount of €78 million (Public Expenditure) and is allocated to the regions throughout the country as follows:

  • Eastern Macedonia & Thrace, Central Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly, Western Greece: €48,840,000
  • Western Macedonia, Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Northern Aegean, Crete: €7,200,000
  • Attica: €16,800,000
  • Sterea Ellada: €3,000,000
  • Southern Aegean: €2,160,000
    TOTAL: €78,000,000

The Public Expenditure of the program is co-financed by the Greek State and the European Union and specifically the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with application of the flexibility clause for financing interventions that fall under the scope of aid of the ESF.

Aid Schemes

In the context of the program –in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1407/2013 (De Minimis)– projects with a total investment budget (subsidised budget) from €15,000 up to €200,000 will be subsidized.

The aid rate is set at a maximum of 40% of the eligible expenses of the investment plan. In the event of new personnel being hired, the aid rate is increased by 10 points only after the achievement of this target is certified.

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 one of the EU member states.

Project Duration: twenty four (24) months from the issuance date for the inclusion of the investment plan.

Eligible Expenditure categories:

  • modernisation and qualitative upgrading of building and other infrastructure;
  • the simplification / automation of operational and productive activities, through the modernisation of equipment and the introduction and/or increase of ICT usage;
  • redesign and certification of business operations and products through organisational innovation techniques, restructuring actions, product/service redefinition by using Design methodologies;
  • acquiring know-how on new products and services through participation in fairs, conferences, etc.;
  • relocation to existing industrial areas (VIPE), business parks and technology parks;
  • third party fees.

It should be noted that the payroll cost of existing or new personnel to be employed in the specific project is eligible, with the implementation of the flexibility clause.

The beginning of expenditure eligibility is set as the date of the proclamation’s publication (11/02/2016).