Digital Adoption Program For SME’s in Romania

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Digital Adoption Program For SME's in Romania


The objective of the Program:

Supporting the digitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which could  subsequently contribute to increasing competitiveness, fostering innovation in  these enterprises and facilitating new working arrangements. This subcomponent will address  one of the main challenges facing  SMEs: the pressure to adapt their business models to  digital realities.

Indicative timetable for the call for proposals:

  • Guide publication date: 15.12.2022.
  • Start date and time of submission of projects: 15.02.2023,  00.
  • Closing date and time of the submission of projects: 30.06.2023,  24:00.
  • Project evaluation  phase period: 03.07.2023 – 16.08.2023.

Estimated period  for signing contracts: 15.09.2023-15.11.2023.

Financial allocation of the call for proposals:

The total value  allocated to this call is EUR 327,500,000 divided into the following intervention fields:

–  EUR  32.75 million for component 012 IT services and applications dedicated to  digital skills and inclusion;

–  EUR  294.75 million for the strand: 010 Digitisation of SMEs.

This budget will be  allocated  by development regions, for the Center area the  allocation being of 38,873,699.65 EUR (11.87% of the  total budget).

Applicants must comply with the de minimis  ceiling.  The maximum total amount of de minimis aid that the single enterprise can benefit from for a period of 3 consecutive years  (last 2 fiscal years  before the  date of granting the  de minimis  aid and the year of granting  the de minimis aid), cumulated with  the value of the financial allocation  granted in accordance with  the provisions of this call, will not  exceed the  equivalent in lei of EUR 200,000.

The value of the non-reimbursable financial assistance:

The amount of  non-reimbursable financial assistance of a project is between:

a) EUR 20,000 and EUR 30,000 for the microenterprise;
b) EUR 20,000 and EUR 50,000 for small business
c) EUR 20,000 and EUR 100,000 for medium-sized enterprise;

Validity of the aid scheme

The project implementation period  is 12 months and cannot exceed June 30, 2025.

Eligible applicants cumulatively meet the following conditions:

a) Are small, medium-sized or micro-enterprises (SMEs);
b) Are established no later than 31.12.2021;
c) Did not have their activity interrupted / suspended in 2022;
d) Recorded operating profit in  2022;
e) Undertakes to bear from its own resources the co-financing provided for in the terms of this Guide;
f)  Does not carry out activities with erotic or obscene products, activities in the field of gambling, as well as those that contravene public order and / or legal provisions in force;
g)  Do not own web  pages containing  obscene acts or materials;
h)  Do not fall into the category of “enterprises in difficulty” in 2022, as defined in  the guide;
i)   Is not in a state of insolvency, bankruptcy,  judicial reorganization, dissolution, liquidation or temporary suspension of business or is not  in  similar situations following a procedure of  the same nature as provided for by  national legislation or regulations;
j)   Are not the subject of a recovery order, following a decision  declaring State aid  illegal and/or incompatible with the common market;
k)  Are not related to the tobacco industry (production, distribution, processing and trade);
l)   Do not provide for cloning for reproductive purposes;
m) does not carry out gambling activities (production, construction, distribution, processing, trade or related software);
n)  Does not engage in sexual trade;
o)  Does not involve live animals for experimental and scientific purposes  in so far as compliance with the ‘Council of  Europe Convention for  the protection of vertebrate  animals used for experimental and other purposes  scientific ‘cannot be guaranteed;
p)  Does not carry out real estate, financial development activities, such as purchasing or trading in  financial instruments.
q)  Does not carry out activities related to the exploitation/extraction, processing, distribution, storage or combustion of solid fossil fuels  and oil, as well as investments related to  gas extraction;
r)   Request de minimis aid the amount of which falls within the limits set out in this Guide;
s)   Undertakes that at the end of the project implementation to reach at least 6 of the  digital intensity criteria, according to the Digital  Economy and Society Index  (DESI), respectively to become an enterprise:

  1. In which more than 50% of the employed persons use computers with Internet access for business purposes  (one different user  for each employee who uses the  computer);
  2. Using an ERP software package to share information between different commercial functional  areas;
  3. Having the maximum contracted download  speed of the  fastest    fixed-line internet  connection of at least 30 Mb/s;
  4. Where online sales accounted   for more than 1% of  total turnover and  web sales to  private consumers (B2C) more than 10% of  web sales (relative to the project submission  period);
  5. Use IoT;
  6. Use at least one  social network (enterprises using the networks are considered to be those that have a user profile, account or user license depending on the requirements,  and  type of social media;  businesses that pay exclusively for posting ads (banner ads) either directly to the owner of  the social network  (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or indirectly through  businesses that offer online services for posting automatic  social media advertising messages (e.g. SoKule,  etc.) are excluded for this criterion);
  7. Utilizează CRM;
  8. Buy sophisticated or intermediate cloud computing services  (it is a model that allows anytime, convenient and/or on-demand network access   to a  shared group of  configurable computing resources   – e.g.  networks, servers, storage, applications, and services — that can be quickly provided and launched with minimal  management effort or interaction  from a service provider.  There are three models of cloud computing services: Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS));
  9. Use AI technology;
  10. Buys cloud computing services used on the internet;
  11. Achieves e-commerce sales  of at least 1% of total sales (in sales of goods or services through  e-commerce, the order is placed through websites, applications or messages of type EDI1 by methods specially designed to receive orders. Payment can be made online or offline.  E-commerce does not include orders written by e-mail);
  1. Use two or more social networks.

*The 6 DESI criteria are related to the digitization project (associated with the cost elements from the  project budget), regardless of  the number of  DESI  criteria that the company meets when submitting the  project.

t) at the date of signing the financing contract, the applicant has no net payment obligations unpaid in time to the  state budget and  the local budget in  the last calendar year  and has no facts registered in the  tax record.

Ineligible applicants

The aid is intended for  non-IT firms and that is why companies found   to  have carried out authorised activities in  the last fiscal year  (as shown  in the certificate  ) are excluded from financing. ONRC ascertainer) in the fields of the following NACE  classes:

5829 – Editing activities of other  software  products;

6201 – Activities of custom software  development  (customer-oriented  software);

6202 –  Information technology consultancy activities;

6203 – Management activities (management and exploitation) of  the means of calculation;

6209 – Other  information technology service activities;

6311 – Data processing, website administration and  related activities

6312 – Activities of  web portals;

6399 – Other activities of information services n.e.c.;

Also excluded from financing are  firms operating   in:

– fisheries and aquaculture sectors, covered by Council Regulation (EC) No 104/2000 of  17 December 1999 on the common  organisation of the market in  fishery and aquaculture products,”

– the field of primary production  of  agricultural products;

–  the sector of processing and marketing of agricultural products, in the following cases:   where the  amount of  the aid is fixed on the basis of the price or quantity of the products concerned  purchased  from  primary producers or placed on the market by  the undertakings concerned;  ;Ii.     where the  aid is subject to its transfer to  primary producers in whole or in part.

Do NOT finance:

– activities linked to exports to  third countries or to Member States, i.e. aid directly linked to the quantities exported, aid intended for the establishment and operation of a distribution network or intended for the purpose  of  other current expenditure linked to the export activity;

– the purchase of  goods road transport vehicles;

– aid conditional on the preferential use  of  domestic over imported products;

Eligible expenditures

  1. a) expenditure on advisory/analysis services to identify the technical solutions that  the  SME needs, provided that the technical solutions identified and described in the technical documentation  performed, do  the object of the investments within the project related to the  application for financing;
  2. b) expenses related to the purchase of ICT hardware, automation equipment  and robotics integrated with digital solutions and  other related devices and equipment, including for E-commerce, IoT (Internet of Things), blockchain technologies, etc., as well as expenses of  installation, configuration and  commissioning;
  3. c) expenses related to the implementation of the LAN / WiFi network;

d)expenses related to the acquisition and/or development and/or adaptation of software applications/licenses, expenses for the configuration and implementation of databases, migration and integration of  various data  structures existing, for  financial management,  supplier management, human resources, logistics, expenses for the implementation of RPA (Robotic Process Automation), ERP

(Enterprise Resource Planning), CRM (Customer Relationship Mangement), for  IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) systems, blockchain technologies, E-Commerce solutions, etc. and  their integration into BTP (Business Technology Platform),  where  applicable;

e) expenses related to the purchase of a company presentation website;

f) expenses related to the purchase / rental during the implementation and sustainability of the project, of a new  domain name;

g) expenditure on services for transferring archives from analog/folders/paper to digital indexable;

h) expenses related to the procurement of Cloud Computing services during the implementation and sustainability of the project;

i) expenses related to the purchase of services to strengthen the cyber security applicable to software / hosting / networks, during the implementation and sustainability of the project;

j) expenses for services for IT  technical auditing (elaboration of it  technical report);  Entities providing such services may not also be providers for other eligible expenditure under a project.

k) expenses for training the staff who will use the ICT equipment (compulsory expenditure up to a maximum of 10% of the financed value). Within this category of expenses, it will be  mandatory to include courses in  the IT field for the persons responsible for the management and control  of the enterprise, courses that will have the role of help them to become aware of the role of digitalization in the growth of a business.   Digital  competence courses must be accredited by the National Authority for Qualifications or / and with  national / international recognition, etc.

The expenses referred to  in para. (1), points (a) and (j) may not exceed, cumulatively, 10 % of  the  eligible value of the project.

In order to justify the project budget, it  is necessary to submit at least 2  price offers for each purchase of goods / services / works, documents that will be attached to the financing application.

Ineligible expenditure:

a) Expenditure on  mandatory information and publicity activities,  deriving exclusively from  the  Visual Identity Manual on operations financed from the Rerecovery and Resilience Mechanism;

b) The amounts that will exceed the maximum value of the  de minimis  aid and the amount of the related VAT, being borne from the  beneficiary’s budget;

c) other expenditure which does not fall under the category of eligible expenditure described above;

(d) expenditure on administrative  costs;

e) second-hand equipment;

f) personnel costs;

g) financial expenses, i.e. insurance premiums, taxes, commissions, rate and interest on loans;

h) contribution in kind; depreciation;

i) leasing purchases ;

j) the acquisition of land;

k) Consultancy for drawing up the documentation in order to obtain funding under this Program and for the implementation of the project;

The amount of VAT related to eligible expenses, if they are not  deductible expenses, is borne from the  state budget (art. 13, paragraph b) of GEO no. 124/2021).

*Presentation based on the final  guide published on 15.12.2022 on the website  of the Ministry of Investments and European Projects. (includes the changes made to the guide by order no. 71/11.01.2023 and order no.157/27.01.2023).

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