With the PwC Incentives Hub, we strive at remaining up to date on the latest news in grants and incentives and share the latest insights. In that respect, this newsletter outlines the most important developments on Belgian grants and incentives.
The SME-portfolio (KMO-portefeuille) supports training and advice for a.o., small and medium enterprises. As of September 13th, this instrument has been extended with support for investments in cybersecurity. All applications relating to training and advice linked to cybersecurity within the company submitted after September 13th 2021, can obtain increased support of 45% for small companies and of 35% for medium-sized companies, with a maximum of € 7.500 per year.
Blue Deal water saving investments
The Flemish Blue Deal project call focusses on SMEs investing in technologies that save on the use of drinking, ground and/or surface water. The Blue Deal flows out of the Flemish governments’ goal of structurally tackling the fight against drought and water scarcity with major investments in the context of the Flemish Resilience and Recovery Plan. Support amounts to 20% for a small and 10% for a medium-sized company of investment costs linked to the project, with a maximum of € 500,000 and a minimum accepted project cost of € 10,000.
Strategic Transformation Support (STS)
With this instrument, companies or groups of companies can obtain support for the implementation of a strategic transformation project of innovative nature. Support extends to both investment and training efforts linked to the transformation project.. The STS framework was updated in the fact that as a large company, you can only apply for investment aid in a regional aid zone. The regional aid map that defines these aid zones for a certain period will expire at the end of 2021. This means that if a large company still wants to apply for investment aid under this measure, they must submit their file to VLAIO by the 4th of October 2021 at the latest.
Department of Work and Social Economy (WSE)
Several times a year, the Department of Work and Social Economy launches a project call for intervention in the costs related to carrying out an innovation project. The project must be focussed on conceptualizing and developing innovative activities as well as optimizing and innovating the existing business processes in order to do business in a future-oriented way. Within this mechanism, circular economy projects are also eligible e.g. recycling projects, waste streams sorting, etc. The maximum subsidy per project is € 50,000. The deadline for this project call is December 31st 2021. The department also reopened the ‘Call for Social Entrepreneurship Innovation’ and ‘Call for Social Entrepreneurship set up’ until December 31st 2021. These calls support either the creation of a social enterprise, for which a maximum subsidy of € 20,000 is granted, or the implementation of an innovative project, for which the maximum subsidy per project is € 50,000.
Support for infrastructure bioeconomy
The Flemish Government wishes to encourage SMEs that want to test new bio-based processes or make their testing infrastructure available for pilot projects of bio based applications. The aim of this support mechanism is to encourage companies to up their use of renewable biomass as a feedstock and to drive them towards a sustainable economy. A budget of €10 million has been made available to support this goal. The resources will be used to, among other elements, support SMEs’ access to pilot plants, matchmaking between the primary sector and industry and to strengthen projects related to bioeconomy within the spearhead clusters.
New developments in relation to Brexit and the impact on Flemisch companies
Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) launched a new call for Special Export Support Brexit. The call focuses on the realization of start-up Brexit-related projects of Flemish exporters. These projects either need to fit into the relance plan following the Brexit and relate to activities to promote international business or project that mitigate the impact of the Brexit on the company. Experienced Flemish exporters can obtain a grant of € 10,000. Submissions for this call are open until November 12, 2021.
Reorganisation Walloon aid for Research and Development
The Walloon government followed the Flemish path and recently reorganised its aid for Research and Development.
The Walloon administration (SPW Économie, Emploi, Recherche) has drastically reformed the regional aids reserved for R&D projects. The aim of the reform is to simplify, clarify and categorise the different funding programmes, which continue to represent an annual budget of 356 million euros.The dual objective of the reform is to better accommodate the beneficiaries towards the adequate facilities, and to better concentrate available public resources. This is done by establishing a clear link with the Specialised Intelligence Strategy to meet the 70% financing objective towards innovation strategies areas. Doing so, the Walloon administration aims to ultimately better support access to these funding mechanisms and rationalize the organisation of the different funds. It will now be possible to access all different funds through the dedicated Research Portal (recherche.wallonie.be).
In practice, this reorganisation of the different types of aid, as well as their funding rates remain unchanged. However, the aid programmes have been reorganised in five axes:
- Project : support to companies for a R&D project that aims either at acquiring new knowledge or at using knowledge for the development of a product, a process or a service. The project may also enable the strengthening of the company’s scientific and technological potential or the development of a process or organisational innovation.
- Human : assistance to companies for any industrial research project with the aim of completing a doctoral thesis carried within a university research unit.
- Expertise : support to companies to rely on external expertise.
- New Entreprise : supports the creation of innovative companies within universities and colleges.
- International : support to universities to increase their excellence through the acquisition of new knowledge, to achieve international competitiveness and visibility.
In case you have any questions regarding this update, please contact your usual PwC contact or:
- Tom Wallyn : firstname.lastname@example.org
- Emilie Etoundi : email@example.com
- Pierre Demoulin : firstname.lastname@example.org