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Application deadlines for new ERDF grant schemes for SMEs announced

Deloitte Malta Tax Alert

The first open calls for applicants to participate in two new schemes - SME Growth Grant Scheme and Start-up Investment Grant Scheme - offered by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to benefit qualifying Maltese SMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) for the 2014-2020 programming period will close on 30 September 2016 at noon (UTC +2). The new schemes are summarised below.  

The ERDF Business Enhance Grant Scheme portal provides information on both schemes, including links to the online applications, guidance notes and implementation guidelines for applicants.

Overview of new schemes

Both new schemes fall under priority axis 3, “Enhancing Malta’s Competitiveness through Investment in SMEs” under Malta’s ERDF operational program 1 for 2014-2020, “Fostering a Competitive and Sustainable Economy to Meet our Challenges,” and will remain available until 31 December 2020. The overall budget allocated for the SME Growth Grant Scheme is EUR 8 million, while the budget for the Start-Up Investment Grant Scheme is EUR 7 million. Both schemes will be administered through a series of competitive calls, with the first calls closing on 30 September 2016.

SME Growth Grant Scheme: This scheme aims to assist SMEs by providing support in the form of nonrepayable grants to partially finance investments in tangible and intangible assets, to implement the SME’s growth strategies related to the extension of the capacity of an existing establishment or the setting up of a new establishment. The investment should result in the growth of the undertaking and an increase in the number of employees (full-time equivalent) employed by the undertaking.

Start-Up Investment Grant Scheme: This scheme recognises that start-ups face greater challenges than other enterprises, particularly in accessing financing for productive investment to economically exploit their ideas and sustain their survival during their early years. The scheme aims to assist start-ups that are micro or small enterprises, and that have not yet distributed profits and were not formed through a merger, in the first three years following their establishment.

Support will be available in the form of nonrepayable grants to partially finance the initial productive investment costs in tangible and intangible assets required by the start-up for its operations, in line with an approved business plan to implement its business growth strategies. The investment should be aimed at the potential business growth of the start-up, and a resulting potential increase in the number of employees (full-time equivalent) employed by the applicant.  

Maximum aid available

SME Growth Grant Scheme: The scheme will offer grants for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, capped at EUR 500,000. The extent of the aid available will depend on the size of the enterprise and the date of the issuance of the grant:

Size of enterprise

Grants issued up to 31 December 2017

Grants issued from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020

Micro or small enterprise

35% of eligible costs

30% of eligible costs

Medium-sized enterprise

25% of eligible costs

20% of eligible costs

 

Start-Up Investment Grant Scheme: The scheme will offer grants for micro and small enterprises, capped at EUR 300,000. The grants will cover 50% of eligible costs.

Eligible costs

Eligible costs under both schemes consist of the following items, if procured from external sources:

  1. Costs for leasing/rental of privately owned operational premises required for the operations of the undertaking for the extent and duration of the project;
  2. Construction/upgrading costs required to render the premises operational for the purpose and the extent of the project;
  3. Costs related to patents/licenses bought or licensed for the extent and the duration of the project and that are essential to the effective implementation of the project; and
  4. Costs for purchases of new equipment, machinery and/or plant required for the project.

The costs for the first three items above each may not exceed 10% of total eligible expenditure for the project.

Additional information

The ERDF Business Enhance Grant Scheme portal provides information on both schemes, including links to the online applications, guidance notes and implementation guidelines for applicants.

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