EBA: Grants for business. Where to get money for opening or development?
On August 17, 2023, EBA Southern Ukrainian Office held the second online meeting "Grants for business: where to get money for opening or development?" within the project "In Search of Investments". During the event talked about current grant programs for representatives of small, medium and large businesses, as well as possible additional competitive offers and options.
Context in which grant programs can be more effective
Before turning to grant programs, it is worth understanding that there is a context through which financiers perceive the possibility of receiving and using a grant. And this context is mostly focused on business development. Business can be built horizontally and vertically. And the grant itself can be one of the bricks for building a successful vertical business. Moreover, you need to understand what the company has to deal with after receiving grant funds. Building a vertical business means a situation where the product produced by the company is the driving force/raw material for the development of another direction. In this way, a certain business model is formed, which allows you to scale the existing business and increase profits. Therefore, with the help of grants, you can effectively integrate other areas into your own business. And this is why you need to understand the context in which grant programs will work for you.
Read more about some grant products below.
Grants from “Diia”
According to statistics for 2022-2023, the scope of using grants from ”Diia” among small and medium-sized businesses is quite wide. Thus, among the main areas of grant support, we can distinguish: trade (grocery and industrial stores, online sports equipment stores), production (artificial stone processing, frozen semi-finished products, production of wallpaper/cosmetics/sausages/
Today, existing businesses can use the following programs from "Е-Robota”:
· A grant for own business in the amount of up to 250,000 UAH earmarked for equipment, raw materials and rent (the decision is made by the State Employment Service).
· A grant for a processing enterprise in the amount of up to 8 million UAH with targeted use for equipment (the decision is taken by the Ministry of Economy ).
· A grant for veterans and their family members in the amount of up to 1 million UAH with a targeted purpose for fixed assets, software, raw materials, services, rent, as well as the purchase of a franchise (the decision is made by the State Employment Service) .
· A grant for a garden in the amount of 140,000 to 400,000 UAH per 1 hectare with targeted use for any expenses (the decision is taken by the Ministry of Agriculture ).
· A grant for a greenhouse in the amount of up to 7 million UAH for 2 hectares with a target use for the creation of a greenhouse (the decision is taken by the Ministry of Agriculture).
The key conditions for receiving the above-mentioned grants are as follows: from the moment of start, conduct activities for 3 to 5 years, create official jobs, pay taxes (personal income tax 18%, martial tax 1.5% and SSC 22%), which in general adds almost 50% to the salary "on hand". If these conditions are not fulfilled, the grant must be returned. Non-profit organizations and limited liability companies can apply for these grants .
Grants EU4Business, GIZ
The international cooperation program "EU4Business: recovery, competitiveness and internationalization of SMEs" is jointly financed by the EU and the German government and is implemented in Ukraine by the German federal company Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit, GIZ. Actually, the EU4Business program itself has been operating in Ukraine since 2020 and is aimed at supporting the economic stability, recovery, and growth of Ukraine, creating better conditions for the development of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as strengthening their innovative and export potential. In general, the activities of the program are aimed at 5 main directions. Firstly, it provides support to institutions that are responsible for the implementation of the national export strategy of Ukraine and the free trade agreement with the EU in order to improve their regulatory and administrative potential. Secondly, the program cooperates with government agencies, as well as with private businesses, to remove technical and administrative barriers to trade. Thirdly, EU4Business provides support to selected economic clusters in different regions of Ukraine in order to develop their export potential. The fourth direction is cooperation with territorial communities to promote the development of infrastructure for SMEs in the regions, as well as to stimulate innovation at the local level. And finally, the program supports business intermediary organizations and small and medium-sized enterprises directly to strengthen their innovative, export and competitive potential. The target audience of EU4Business is micro, small and medium-sized enterprises with the number of employees up to 249 working in Ukraine.
Today, businesses will be interested in 3 available programs that are on the market from EU4Business:
· The program of large grants for small and medium-sized enterprises (30 grants up to 25,000 euros) , the purpose of which is to support Ukrainian small and medium-sized businesses by providing 30 enterprises with irreversible financial assistance in the form of grants of up to 25,000 euros each. The total budget of the grant program is 750,000 euros. The program supports companies creating products and services with an innovative component and/or a focus on expanding exports. Coverage - all regions of Ukraine under the control of the government of Ukraine. You can apply via the link https://portal.usf.com.ua/ .
· A grant program from EU4Business for small businesses (50 grants up to 10,000 euros) , the purpose of which is to preserve the industrial and economic potential of Ukraine, restore the supply of critical goods and services, and support their production in conditions of martial law. Assistance will be provided to 50 small enterprises registered in the form of an LLC no later than December 31, 2019. Coverage - all regions of Ukraine under the control of the government of Ukraine. The application is submitted through the Diya portal at the link .
· Grant program for micro-businesses (750 grants up to 4,000 euros), the purpose of which is to restore the activities of micro-entrepreneurs and strengthen the resilience of micro-businesses in war conditions. The application can be submitted through the Diya portal.
Grants from EBRD
The war was a challenge, but the EBRD, together with donors, responded flexibly to the needs of small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine. Grant support for business from the EBRD is implemented with financing from the USA, Sweden, Switzerland and Ireland within the framework of the EBRD Small Business Promotion Fund (Fund donors: Ireland, Italy, Korea, Luxembourg, Norway, the USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and Taiwan Business - EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund ), the EU and Sweden within the framework of the "Women in Business" program. Grants for business relocation within Ukraine became an interesting and new product of the EBRD in response to the war .
So, among the main EBRD instruments for SMEs in Ukraine, we can highlight:
· Grants for consulting projects. For many years, it has been one of the main products of the EBRD for SMEs in Ukraine, which has been adjusted according to the needs of the war and today. The organization provides support for consulting projects implemented by external consultants, supported by the EBRD and financed by donors. The program is aimed at providing assistance to small and medium-sized businesses that need professional knowledge and experience to grow and ensure competitiveness and involves the involvement of experienced consultants to identify needs and further business development. It helps to assess the needs of your business, to attract a suitable consultant, to accompany the project from the beginning to its completion, to compensate up to 85% of the project cost (without VAT) with local consultants, or 100% with international experts. Projects can have a budget from several thousand euros to 10-15-20 thousand euros, depending on the scope and complexity of the work.
· Participation in international exhibitions, B2B meetings. In the conditions of war, business is actively looking for new markets, and the EBRD continues its constant support for the development of new markets through collective participation in international exhibitions. The first event of 2022, at which Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises were presented, was supported already in March 2022, in the first month since the beginning of the war. In total, since the beginning of the war, more than 40 enterprises have taken advantage of such opportunities and created new channels for international sales. Collective participation is from 6 companies. Companies are selected on a competitive basis. The organization considers the list of expenses for each exhibition individually. These can be such expenses as a fee for participation in the exhibition, per diem (accommodation, travel), travel expenses, etc. These costs are compensated, not advanced. One of the above 6 companies assumes an organizational role and assists the EBRD in organizational matters.
· Grants for relocation. A very useful and necessary project for business in today's conditions. Because the war started by Russia in Ukraine has a great impact on enterprises and they are forced to move to relatively safer regions of Ukraine in order to protect their workers, save equipment and restart operations. Thanks to donors, we are compensating the costs of relocation within Ukraine from war-affected territories, which was carried out from February 24, 2022. For this, assistance in the amount of 2.4 million euros was received from Switzerland and the USA through the EBRD Small Business Assistance Fund. Submission of applications ended on January 31, 2023. Yes, EBRD received more than 300 applications. In this way, up to 80 companies will be supported. Compensation is up to EUR 30,000 per company. Expenses related to the transportation of the equipment, disassembly, packing, adjustment and repair of the equipment after transportation, adjustment of a new location for production needs are subject to reimbursement. These costs must not be pre-paid by other organizations or support funds. And also preference was given to manufacturing companies in the consideration of applications. The EBRD is currently finalizing applications.
· Professional development trainings. The EBRD continues to actively implement trainings for businesses on current topics. For example, corporate management for women. The training program provides consideration of issues that will be relevant during the post-war recovery of business in Ukraine. The cost of training is UAH 35,000, the EBRD compensates 85% of this cost. Interested persons should submit their applications by September 4, 2023. The free training program "Economic Recovery Bootcamp" is also currently running on the Prometheus educational platform. The program is designed for anyone who wants to start, rebuild or scale their wartime business. Among other educational programs, trainings on online sales, cyber security, migration from Russian software, etc. can be highlighted.
Among the invited experts at the event were: Andrii Yakshin - finance director, co-founder of outsourced finance directors’ service go4CFO, business finance trainer, actively works with grants from «Е-Robota», Maryna Kovtun - the head of the support component for business organizations and SMEs, EU4Business program, GIZ. Kateryna Kryvoshey