Up to € 200,000 non-reimbursable funding for SMEs through the Regional Operational Programme (ROP) addressing innovative SMEs (Proof of Concept)
During the last couple of months, the launch of a new funding programme of up to € 200,000 through the ROP (Regional Operational Program) for innovative SMEs is debated within the call entitled “Proof of Concept”.
At the beginning of last year (March 2020), the Managing Authority for the Regional Operational Program (ROP) published in public consultation the Applicant’s Guide for Investment Priority 1.2 – Increasing innovation in companies by supporting multisectoral approaches resulting from the implementation of “Initiative less developed Region” in Romania – Proof of Concept.
For the operationalization of the scheme, Order 4003/2020 on the approval of de minimis aid scheme to support SMEs in order to carry out processes for the development of innovative conceptual models in the fields of smart specialization, within the ROP 2014-2020 was also published in the Official Gazette no. 1060.
Despite these preliminary steps, the call for projects has not yet been launched being likely to open it in the next period, the Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration estimating as a possible deadline for launching the appeal quarter 2/2021.
This call will support investments made by companies in the category of SMEs, from all development regions, both in urban and rural areas.
The main purpose of the program is to demonstrate the functionality and to verify a certain concept of product, service or process that can be realized and placed on the market.
The innovative concepts that will be developed must address the following areas of smart specialization:
- Information and communication technologies, space and security
- Energy, environment and climate change
- Eco-nano-technologies and advanced materials
- Other areas identified at regional level
The process of developing the innovative conceptual model will be supported by granting a de minimis grant, whose value will be of minimum 25.000 € and maximum 200.000 €. Being a de minimis aid, the value of the non-reimbursable financing granted will be established according to the aids of this type received by the applicant SME in the last three consecutive financial / fiscal years, within the minimum and maximum limits mentioned above.
The grant must be limited to 90% of the eligible expenses for the development of conceptual models.
From the perspective of typology, the consultative version of the guide states that projects must fall into one of the following situations:
– they start from an experimental laboratory demonstrator (TRL 3) and materialize an innovative conceptual model through a technology validated in the laboratory (TRL 4) (a development stage is completed)
– they start from an experimental laboratory demonstrator (TRL 3) and implement an innovative conceptual model through a small or enlarged technology validated as a unitary assembly by reproduction of similar real operating conditions (TRL 5) (it goes through two stages of development).
A summary of this call in Romanian can be found here.
More information on grant programs can be found here.