SME Growth Grant
What is the SME growth grant?
The SME growth subsidy is a subsidy instrument with which the Flemish government supports SMEs in Flanders in their own growth trajectory. That growth trajectory must be in line with one of the following important social themes:
- Digitization: Use data to make products, services and processes smarter
- Internationalization: sustainable growth through exports
- Circular sustainable business: commit to energy transition, climate transition, circular business, environment or biodiversity.
- Innovation: grow sustainably by bringing an innovative product to market or establishing an innovative business process
The grant is awarded for the acquisition or purchase of the strategic knowledge you need to achieve your growth trajectory. The acquisition of this knowledge can be done by:
- the recruitment of a strategic employee who will strengthen your company in the areas in which knowledge is lacking for the realization of the growth trajectory
- Seek the advice of a service provider to procure missing knowledge
When can I apply for the SME growth grant?
To be eligible, your project must score satisfactorily on 4 evaluation criteria:
- Ambition: This criterion assesses whether the applicant has a concrete and ambitious vision of how the company will internationalize, digitize, innovate or do sustainable and circular business. The trajectory translates into a sustainable growth or increase in the competitiveness of the company.
- Transformation: this criterion assesses whether the growth trajectory provides a substantial and new twist to current business operations and impacts multiple critical business processes.
- Substantiated approach: This criterion assesses whether the company has a well thought out roadmap to achieve and perpetuate the projected growth trajectory in the company.
- Need for knowledge & expertise: This criterion assesses whether the company would not be able to successfully implement the growth trajectory without the acquisition of certain knowledge and expertise. It also assesses whether the service provider in question and/or the strategic profile to be recruited does possess that missing knowledge and expertise.
How much is the SME growth grant?
The support intervenes for 50% in the eligible costs with a maximum of 50,000 euros.
Eligible costs are:
- the salary cost for the strategic employee's first year of employment
- the invoices for the advice of the external service provider (minimum 20,000 euros)
How do I apply for the SME growth grant?
The SME Growth Grant is awarded through competitive calls by theme.
In 2023, there will be 3 calls in which the application can be submitted under the 4 themes each time:
- Call 1: March 27 - May 22, 2023
- Call 2: August 28 - September 25, 2023
- Call 3: December 18 - January 22, 2024
The support can be requested either only for the recruitment of a strategic employee (max. 25,000 euro support), or only for an external service provider (max. 25,000 euro support), or for the two together (max. 50,000 euro support).
The support must be requested online in a VLAIO web application, at the latest in the month before the project starts.
The main component of the application file is the growth trajectory description (in a mandatory Word template).
In addition, there are a number of mandatory attachments.
Want to know more about the SME growth grant?
Do you have the ambition to grow in terms of digitalization, internationalization, circular sustainable business or innovation?
Then inquire with our grant expert Jos about support options.