Companies can obtain up to €15,000 subsidies from the Flemish government for training, advice, export or exploration of technology. Thanks to the KMO Portefeuille (SME portfolio), which replaces the former BEA (Budget Economic Advice), innovation and internationalisation should get an even lower threshold. The SME portfolio is an interactive web application with which entrepreneurs can easily request subsidies from the Flemish government for initiatives concerning one of the following four areas: training, advice, export or exploration of technology. A combination of the four areas is also an option.
SMEs as well as liberal professions are eligible, as long as they have one of the acceptable main activities and legal forms (see http://www.kmo-portefeuille.be/). The most striking differences with BEA are the higher maximum amount (up to €15,000 or in exceptional cases even €25,000) and the new area of 'internationalisation'.
Requesting the KMO Portefeuille(SME portfolio) is entirely done online. The first time you have to register with your electronic identity card or with a federal token, after which you only need to reregister. The application procedure always starts with the concluding of an agreement with a recognised service provider, active in one of the four areas. You then need to submit the subsidy request via the web application within 14 calendar days.
What can I get subsidies for via the KMO Portefeuille (SME portfolio)?
Entrepreneurs can request subsidies from the Flemish government for initiatives concerning one of the following four areas:
Training courses must always be followed at a recognised service provider and aim for the improvement of the functioning of the business. This can be an IT course, language or management training, a communication skills course, etc.
In addition, unlike BEA, legal obligations are now considered. Training support can amount up to 50% of the cost, with a maximum of €2,500 a year.
This concerns advice specifically for companies with international ambitions in the field of export or investment. It regards written and targeted advice concerning opportunities for companies that want to internationalise their activities.
Several examples: establishing foreign branches, entering into a joint venture, but also a licence sale or a market study. Exceptions that do not allow subsidies can be found on the website. The support can amount to 50% of the cost, with a maximum of €5,000 a year.
Advice given by a recognised service provider is only eligible if is it in writing and tailor-made to the company in question. The advice must include three aspects: an analysis of the problem, the actual advice and an implementation plan, e.g. a communication plan or a marketing study. Compulsory legal advice is not eligible, other exceptions can be found on http://www.kmo-portefeuille.be/.
A specific form of advice is strategic advice, which concerns more in-depth feasibility studies or studies that prove the economic and financial feasibility of a project, e.g. in the event of a market introduction or a merger. Please note that a stricter procedure applies here. For instance, the advice contract is checked in advance and the actual advice is verified before a payment is made. For standard advice the subsidy can amount to up to €5,000, for strategic advice there is a maximum amount of €25,000 a year. In both cases the support percentage is maximum 50%.
4. Exploration of technology
This concerns technological advice on an innovation request regarding a product, a process or a service. The knowledge centre offering the advice will have to carry out some study work tailor-made to the SME. The main difference with other types of advice is that this advice contains a detailed technological component.
Examples include carrying out exploratory (laboratory) tests or a study of suitable technologies. Advice that is not eligible includes patent studies, marketing activities, the development of prototypes, etc. A complete list of exceptions can be found on http://www.kmo-portefeuille.be/. The maximum amount of support for the exploration of technology is 75%, the absolute limit being €10,000.