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Second call for SME growth grant 2021

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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 second call for 2021 will be open from July 12 to August 31. Growth projects can be submitted that revolve around internationalization, digitalization or sustainable and circular business.



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 where services, products or processes are made smarter through data.
- The growth trajectory must show sufficient challenge and ambition and reach beyond common evolutions in terms of digitalization.
- The following are not eligible: projects that are purely aimed at increasing maturity with regard to cyber security, the development or implementation of digital applications such as an ERP system, setting up a webshop, digital marketing and marketing automation or converting data from a paper medium to a digital medium in order to digitize existing processes and make data digitally available within the organization.

Sustainable and Circular Business:
- Both for companies that are taking the first step towards sustainable and circular business, and for companies that are already active in this and are taking the next (substantial) new step.
- The pathway focuses on one or more circular economy strategies with a view to efficient and smart use of materials or closing material cycles.
- The project addresses the manufacturing or construction industry or its related value chain.
- Not eligible: pathways that do not have a substantial impact on the business and only focus on flanking or supporting measures such as energy efficiency or the use of renewable energy.



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 hiring of a strategic staff member
- The advice of one or more service providers, with each individual advisory assignment costing at least 20,000 euros.
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.



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) :
Recruitment strategic profile Advice external service provider(s)
Which costs? Gross base annual salary X 1,596 -personnel and operating costs
-displacement costs
-Guidance costs for implementation
Support percentage 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.



The call will be open from July 12, 2021 through August 31, 2021. A digital application form will be available on the VLAIO website at the time the call opens.
Questions about this project call? Please contact our grant expert