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Applying for an EU Grant for your Business

- Updated: 05/11/2009

Any new business in Spain would be wise to take advantage of all grants and incentives that they qualify for and are available to them. In theory at least – there is a reasonable amount of financial assistance available through the EU and also at national, regional, provincial and local level, especially for small and medium size businesses that are just starting out.

Applying for an EU Grant for your Business

But in reality finding out about the exsistance of these grants, qualifying for them, successfully applying for them and getting the money paid into your Bank account is a different matter altogether. You need to set the ball rolling as early as possible and not bank on anything coming to fruition – if you do receive a grant then look upon this as a bonus to go towards re-investment. The process of application can take considerable time and even when a grant is eventually approved, getting it paid into your bank can take time. It is receommended that you start the whole process with an Asesor or advisor who is familiar with the whole process and therefore in a strong position already to start your application.

A good source of information about grants and financial incentives for businesses is the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade . This contains some good information about the criteria for grants from central government and those awarded by autonomous communities, municipalities and city councils.

Some of the Spanish Chambers of Commerce also have information, as do the one-stop business creation offices ( Ventanilla Unica Empresarial/VUE), although their information is usually not available in English. The Madrid Chamber of Commerce, however does have information available in English on its website, which is a good starting point.

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The Dirección General de Política de la PYME is the association of small and medium-size businesses in Spain and is an important organisation in the Spanish business world and can give entrepreneurs a considerable amount of support. If you are unable to speak Spanish well then this should be something that you advisor should do on your behalf.

Bear in mind that any grant or incentive offered by the state or by an autonomous community is governed by the regulations which the EU has established for all its members. Aid and incentives are permitted only in areas which meet EU criteria, of which details can be found on the Invest In Spain website.

European Union Grants :

European Union (EU) grants can be particularly difficult to track down, but a number of sources can help you with your search :

- There is an EU-funded website called ‘GUIDE’, which simplifies the search for information about grants (both state and private) available throughout Europe. Information is available in all official EU languages. It lists a full database of thousands of grants, loans, cash awards and venture capital schemes etc...

- Econet is a Spanish company that specialises in indetifying and Obtaining Information about grants availabe – much of the Information can be provided in English. The European Union also has it's own website in English where many such grants are listed.

- The website of the Dirección General de Política de la PYME. Go to ‘ SIE Bases de Datos’ and then ‘ Ayudas de la Union Europea’ - but again, this site is only available in Spanish...

Regional Grants :

Each of the 17 Spanish Regions has it's own investment promotion agency. The website of the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade gives links to all the relevant websites – some of this information is provided in English, but on the whole they are Spanish language sites. All of these Regional grants are still in accordance with, and regulated by the EU.

Other Grants & Incentives :

Financial incentives are offered at various levels (autonomous community, municipal and city council) to companies which create and continue to offer employment among ‘disadvantaged’ groups. If you employ people who have been unemployed for more than six months or you employ women ( especially older women ) in an industry where women are traditionally underrepresented ( Engineering, Manufacturing etc... ) you will qualify for rebates of between 20 and 100 per cent on your employer’s social security contributions. If you create jobs among the local community, you may also benefit from significant subsidies, especially during the first year after your company is incorporated. Your local Chamber of Commerce will give you details incentives that apply to your situation, and further information can be found on the Invest in Spain website.