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First call for SME growth grant

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The SME growth subsidy is a subsidy instrument through which the Flemish government supports SMEs in Flanders to achieve a growth trajectory. Up to 50,000 euros in support can be obtained for the recruitment of a strategic profile and for the acquisition of knowledge from an external service provider.

As of January 1, 2021, the SME Growth Grant can no longer be applied for on a continuous basis, but will be based on thematic project calls.

The first call will be open from March 1 to April 30. Growth projects can be submitted that revolve around internationalization or digitization.


1. Internationalization or digitization.

A growth trajectory aligns with one of the themes if it meets the following conditions:


  • Both for companies exporting for the first time and for companies that have experience exporting and want to expand into new markets.
  • Internationalization must pose new challenges to the company to a sufficient degree.
  • The internationalization should result in sustainable economic growth for the site in Flanders.
  • Do not qualify: one-time opportunities or quick wins abroad.



  • For companies looking to substantially increase their digital maturity.
  • The growth trajectory is framed within a transition to a data-driven organization through the smart use and management of data.
  • The growth trajectory must show sufficient challenge and ambition and reach beyond common evolutions in terms of digitalization.
  • Do not qualify: projects aimed purely at increasing maturity in terms of cyber security, digital applications such as ERP, CRM, WMS, digital marketing or marketing automation or the mere conversion of data on a paper medium to a digital medium.
  • Examples of digital transformation projects that received support during a pilot call in July 2020 :
    • A real estate firm is building its own free online estimation tool and wants to develop it further by tapping new online data sources and making the algorithm more performant so that the estimation can be done more accurately.
    • A law firm wants to be a "smart legal solution provider" for Flemish growth and tech companies.Among other things, with the support they want to develop a new tool that automatically generates contracts tailored to the client.
    • An independent bookstore wants to further develop its digital platform BibInform and enrich it with external data from various partners. Commercialization for other independent bookstores is also planned.
    • An SME producing signage and wayfinding wants to develop a custom product configurator, linked to a price calculator and a customer portal with visualization capabilities in a VR/AR environment.
    • A food transporter wants to upgrade its reporting through automated (near-live) dashboarding that will give customers a much better view of the status of operations.
    • An exclusive Benelux importer of garden maintenance machines wants to have a fully tailor-made dealer platform built that will be linked via API links to the company's ERP system.


2. Terms

The grant is awarded for the acquisition or purchase of the strategic knowledge needed to achieve your growth trajectory. The acquisition of this knowledge can be done by:

  • the recruitment of a strategic employee
  • the advice of one or more service providers, with each individual advisory assignment costing at least €20,000.


Recruitment or start-up of the consulting assignment may not take place until the month following the month of submission of the aid application, at the earliest.


3. Amount

The grant will be up to 25,000 euros for the recruitment of a strategic profile and up to 25,000 euros for the advice of one or more external service provider(s):

  Acquisition of strategic profile   Advice external service provider(s)
  What costs?   Gross base annual salary X 1,596.   -personnel and operating costs

-displacement costs

-Guidance costs for implementation

  Aid rate   50%   50%
  Maximum support   25,000 euros   25,000 euros


Thus, a maximum of €50,000 in support can be received per application file. A dossier can be submitted every 36 months.


4. Apply

The call will be open from March 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021. A digital application form will be available on the VLAIO website at the time the call opens.


Would you like to apply for this SME growth subsidy? Contact our subsidy epxert now by calling 051 26 82 68 or by sending an e-mail to