The greatest interest among entrepreneurs is still stirred by programmes dedicated to investments in which funding includes construction or expansion of production and warehouse facilities, and the purchase of high-tech equipment. The aim of such projects is to improve the company's competitiveness by extending and improving the existing product range.
The new financial perspective for 2014-2020 offers a variety of activities aimed at development of companies through expansion and equipping. Financial resources are allocated to both regional and national programmes. It should, however, be noted that the grants in this regard are only available for SMEs. Moreover, taking into account the criteria of the competition, the scale of difficulties is really large! All investment projects must be innovative, most often both in terms of technology and products resulting from the realised project.
Examples of investment funding programmes
Smart Growth Operational Programme, Sub-measure 3.2.1 Research to the market
The premise and purpose of "Research to the market" is to enhance innovation and competitiveness through the implementation of R&D results and launching new or significantly improved products. Co-financing of globally innovative implementation projects is to provide an additional incentive to undertake research by companies. Providing support from EU funds in the form of "Research to the market" is also important due to the lack of commercial market instruments for financing risky R&D investments. The institution evaluating application documents and granting subsidies is the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development.
Smart Growth Operational Programme, Sub-measure 3.2.2 Credit for technological innovation
The premise of the measure is to support projects relating to the implementation of technological innovation, resulting from own or acquired R&D. The resulting research results should be in the form of industrial property rights or unpatented technical knowledge. A key aspect of the measure is also planned production of new or significantly improved and innovative products compared to those previously produced in Poland. The institution evaluating application documents and granting subsidies is Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego.
Costs eligible for financing
The projects related to the expansion and equipping of companies cover the following investment costs:
- purchase of real estate;
- construction works and materials;
- purchase or construction of fixed assets in the form of machinery and equipment;
- purchase of intangible assets.
Criteria for assessing applications
In the case of national programmes subsidising corporate investment, there are two crucial factors:
- innovation - both in the case of technology and the product qualities, characteristics and features that distinguish the technology or product compared to commercially available alternatives should be presented;
- market potential - the competitiveness of the proposed solution compared to solutions existing in the market is examined; additionally the expected size of the market is also taken into account as it has a direct impact on the economic success of the project.
There are scores assigned for both these criteria , and therefore, taking into account the large interest of entrepreneurs in this type of measures, they are deciding when it comes to awarding grants. It should be noted, however, that the success of a project and grant award is also driven by such factors as the ability of applicants to finance the project, reasonableness of presented expenditure and the degree of preparation of the project for implementation.
The amount of the grant and the percentage of co-financing may be different - depending on the selected programme, the size of the company and the region in which the investment is made. The illustration below shows the co-financing percentage for each category of businesses and regions:
The above picture shows the percentage of funding for large enterprises. In the case of companies in the sector of small and medium-sized enterprises this value should be:
- increased by 20% for micro and small enterprises;
- increased by 10% for medium-sized enterprises.