A windfall of financial aid for Catalan businesses
Starting in May, a whole series of calls for applications for direct aid from the Generalitat to boost the competitiveness of Catalan companies in seven different areas will be open. These grants, which are awarded in chronological order of application, can reach up to 20,000 euros in areas such as digitisation and Industry 4.0.
Part of the €200 million annual budget of Acció, the Generalitat’s agency dedicated to promoting the competitiveness of Catalan businesses, will be available in the form of “coupons” from May. These coupons offer a direct economic discount that companies can exchange for an expert service in internationalisation, innovation, sustainability or new technologies through the advice of Acció’s accredited suppliers.
The windfall of millions is distributed in seven different calls for proposals. In addition to accompanying companies in their digitalisation or international expansion, this year’s grants will also help them to access European research and innovation programmes or to reformulate their strategy.
Once the calls for proposals have been opened, it should be noted that grants are awarded in chronological order of application and are usually sold out in a short time. Projects can be implemented between 1 January 2023 and 30 September 2024.
The best endowed vouchers
The calls for proposals with the highest grants are those aimed at digital transformation and towards Industry 4.0, with amounts of up to 20,000 euros per project.
The one for advanced digital technologies will allow the contracting of consultancy services to test technologies that contribute to the digital transformation of the company. It will be possible to do this through the technological facilities of the Digital Innovation Hub of Catalunya. Projects may include, for example, technological feasibility studies, analysis of new disruptive business models or the development of proofs of concept or new prototypes.
Industry 4.0 aims to facilitate the first steps to implement technologies such as 3D printing, ‘big data’, the internet of things or robotics, among others, with the aim of improving products, services or company processes.
The necessary internationalisation
Another important area for businesses today is internationalisation. In this area, there are two calls for proposals: one for initiation to exporting and another dedicated to increasing sales around the world through digital channels.
The first includes the possibility of making an international promotion plan, with a maximum grant of 2,500 euros, or subcontracting an export manager, for which a subsidy of up to 8,000 euros is envisaged.
The second allows access to a consultancy service to define the international digital strategy, carry out a complete analysis of the company’s online presence or design an action plan for digital channels. The maximum grant for each project is 6,000 euros.
Strategy, innovation and sustainability
Two new calls for proposals this year are for strategy and European R&D programmes. In the first, with grants of up to 8,000 euros, an advisor accompanies the company in the analysis of changes in the environment, to see the effect they may have on the business model and identify new opportunities and challenges. The second aims to help companies access European research and innovation grants in a collaborative way. The grants, of up to 12,000 euros, provide advice on how to prepare proposals and create a consortium, as well as support in the application of the regulations.
The last call for proposals, with grants of up to 8,000 euros, is aimed at moving towards climate neutrality. Actions can be related to the use of technologies to develop sustainable materials, move towards renewable energies, work to improve efficiency in the use of water, energy or biodiversity, among others.
An ambitious objective
More than 3,800 Catalan companies have already benefited from this type of Acció aid in previous calls for proposals, which have helped them to make their first exports, implement or develop new technologies or adapt their business model to changes in the environment.
With more than 35 years of history, Acció has set itself the goal of making Catalonia the most competitive economy in Southern Europe by 2030. Its grants and services aim to create a more sustainable, digitised and innovative business ecosystem, increase the number of internationalised companies and continue to make Catalonia a pole of attraction for foreign multinationals.
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