The SME Diversification and Innovation Grant Scheme is targeted at SMEs seeking to adapt and become more resilient, whilst addressing market challenges through diversification. It is also aimed at enterprises seeking investment to bring to the market significantly improved and advanced products or services to those they already offer.
A sum of €8 million has been allocated to this scheme which is primarily targeted at sectors such as biotechnology, research and technological innovation, yacht repair and maintenance, eco-innovations and environmental solutions, ICT development, and tourism networks with the artisan and craft sectors.
The assistance consists of non-repayable grants up to a maximum value of €200,000. SMEs may receive assistance with aid intensity on eligible expenditure of 50%.
Eligible Undertakings would have to prepare a business plan outlining their focused strategy through a proposed investment. Such undertakings may seek assistance to part-finance investment in tangible and intangible assets leading to:
- the diversification of the output of an existing establishment into products or services not previously produced by the establishment;
- the implementation of a fundamental change in the overall production process of an existing establishment;
- a new economic activity related to the diversification of the activity of the establishment, under the condition that the new activity performed is not the same or a similar activity to the activity previously performed in the establishment;
- the adoption of solutions that lead to the development of a significantly improved product or service;
- the acquisition and integration into the business operation of solutions that are new or significantly advanced than those currently in use by the Undertaking.
- Leasing/rental of privately owned operational premises
- Construction/up-grading costs
- Purchasing of new equipment, machinery and/or plant
- Patents and licenses
- Wage costs related to the wage of a Change Manager employed specifically through the project to drive the necessary change within the enterprise through the diversification or a fundamental change initiative.
This Scheme is demand driven and managed through an open rolling call.
Actions related to the Diversification of the activity of the establishment should result in the beneficiaries engaging in one of the following activities:
- The production, manufacture, improvement, assembly, preservation, processing of goods, materials, commodities, equipment, plant machinery;
- Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences;
- Research and Technological Innovation;
- The repair, overhaul or maintenance of pleasure crafts, yachts having less than 100gt, aircraft, engines or equipment incorporated or used in such vessels or aircraft;
- Information and communication technology (ICT) development activities, software development;
- Eco-innovations, and environmental solutions;
- The creation of tourism products and/or services as a result of networks created between traditional tourism service providers and the crafts and artisan sector;
- The development and provision of tourism products and/or services related to emerging niche markets;
- The development and provision of tourism products and/or services related to the promotion of natural and cultural heritage;
- The development and provision of tourism products and/or services relating to social tourism with specific focus on senior tourists, accessible tourism and active ageing;
- The development of innovative concepts, products and/or services offered by Boutique Hotels and Palazzini;
- The development, and/or provision of E-health solutions;
- The development and provision of services and products promoting healthy living;
- The development and provision of services and products promoting active ageing;
- The development and provision of services and products related to child-day care;
- The development and creation of crafts and artisan products;
- Retail activities by self-employed and family businesses engaged in craft;
- The introduction of products/services that can be marketed and distributed internationally and which are typically more advanced than those prevailing in their respective industry in terms of technology, know-how and skills.