Aware of the relevance of creating synergies and promote intra-Belgian collaboration, Innoviris, the DGO6 of the Walloia Public Service and the Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO, ex-IWT) worked together to send a clear signal to Belgian SMEs by promoting collaboration between companies from different Belgian regions.
This work led to the development of the BEL-SME programme, an instrument which encourages the development of joint R&D projects between Belgian companies. For the beneficiaries, an effective collaboration between partners will be rewarded by a maximum increase of 15% compared to normal intervention rates.
In real terms, the initiative is based on the following principles:
- A joint call for projects by Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen, DGO6 and Innoviris for trans-regional R&D projects from SMEs
- Funding institutions organise a centralised consultation process with regard to the projects to be financed, but maintain decentralised evaluation and funding
BEL-SME supports collaboration projects between Belgian SMEs established in different regions and encourages the pooling of expertise to the benefit of those enterprises. However it is based on the existing regional funding schemes. Therefore, each partner is asked to submit its individual work plan (sub-project) to its regional funding agency, and a very short “umbrella” form must be sent to describe the collaboration and the joint character of the global project.
Projects will be evaluated by the funding agencies of each involved partner but a joint decision will be taken.
What are the eligibility conditions ?
To be selected as a BEL-SME project, the proposals must :
- Be innovative and aim at developing new or higly improved products, processes or technological services (the technical risk level will be assessed
- Aim at concrete results having a clear market potential
- Involve at least 2 SMEs from 2 different Belgian regions (participation of research organisations is possible but only as subcontractors of the participating SMEs), those SMEs must all participate in the economic results of the project,
- Demonstrate a balanced participation of the partners within the project
Part of the work may be outsourced to subcontractors, however at least 50% of the work in the complete project has to be performed by the participating SMEs,
To receive a financial support from Innoviris, the partner(s) must:
- develop all or some of its activities within the territory covered by the Brussels-Capital Region
- present an innovative experimental development project
- show that the project is likely to have a favourable impact on the economy, employment and/or sustainable development of the Brussels-Capital Region
- show one’s ability to finance one’s share in the project
- have fulfilled its obligations in the context of previous support initiatives allocated by the Region.
- Not be an undertaking in difficulty in accordance with the applicable European legislation (page 19, point 18)
The funding modalities applicable for Flemish or Walloon partners can be found on the call guidelines (see the Tool Box in the upper left corner of this page).
How to submit an application ?
As mentioned here above, BEL-SME projects are joint collaborative projects however the work plan of each partner must be individually submitted to one’s regional funding agency. A dratf unsigned consortium agreement and a very short “umbrella” form must be sent in parallel to describe the joint objectives and outline the benefit of the collaboration.
- The common form which must give a global overview of the project and the draft (unsigned) consortium agreement must be submitted electronically by the project coordinator before the deadline of August, 25th, 2017, noon, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The funding application from Brussels-based partners must also be submitted on August 25th, 2017 – at noon- at the latest via the Shape application form. It must be sent both electronically to email@example.com and by regular post (or delivery).
The common application form and guidelines can be found in the Tool Box in the upper left corner of this page.
Type of financial intervention
Financial aid is normally allocated as a grant.
Rate of financial intervention (maximum)
45% Micro/small enterprise
35% Medium enterprise
25% Large enterprise*
The basic rate will be increased by 15% in the case none of the partners is responsible for more than 70% of the budget.
* Large entreprises can only be funded if their participation is essential to reach the project goals.