“The approval process is very competitive, but receiving this support has been fundamental for our development as a company.” The commercial director of the Aragonese firm Biocurve, Ignacio Quílez, has explained the experience of his company, specialized in boilers of biomass condensation and installed in the CEEI, with the participation in the European program Instrument Pyme. Biocurve has managed to access financing for its project through this tool, which has allowed it to expand and internationalize its business.
To inform about the requirements of access to the Instrument Pyme program in its call for the period 2018-2020, the public company Aragon Exterior, attached to the Public Business Corporation of Aragon, organized last Wednesday a Breakfast Arex Network attended by more than 20 representatives of Aragonese companies.
Instrument Pyme is a financing tool aimed at promoting the launch of innovative projects of European SMEs, which is framed in the new strategic program of the European Union for Horizon 2020. Since 2015, Arex has accompanied more than 30 Aragonese companies in the task of presenting their innovative projects in Instrument Pyme.
In two years, Arex’s support initiative has facilitated the access of SMEs in the Community for a total value of around 4.5 million euros in project financing. “This is a very interesting opportunity because it allows companies to implement ideas much more quickly, because they obtain financing that allows them to reach the markets at the right time.” It covers the entire pre-commercialization stage of the product with a non-refundable grant that you can request any company individually, “explains Gema Martín, country manager of Inspiralia, the consultancy that collaborates with Aragón Exterior in the advice of companies that go to the public company.
This new call for the SME Instrument maintains the same structure as the previous edition, but presents some new features in the formats and evaluation systems. During the conference, held in Zaragoza, in the Paradise Room of the Patio de la Infanta de Ibercaja, the key concepts of the program were discussed and the conditions that the projects must meet to participate with the greatest guarantees of success were explained. It requires that projects be innovative, that they can have an impact at European level and that they have the capacity to create new markets or to implement existing ones.
SMEs that are interested in accessing this funding can contact Aragón Exterior, which offers advice, contact experts and personalized analysis to Aragonese companies to accompany them at all times during the two phases of this highly competitive process. In addition, in Arex there is a specific line of support that is dedicated to validating potential projects at no cost, studying each case and informing companies about the possible fit of their business within the SME Instrument lines. In case the proposals are viable, Arex accompanies the company in the presentation of its project in any of the four calls held annually.
Instrument Pyme offers non-refundable financing for innovative products and services, both in the development phase of the business model and at a later stage, of product development on a technological and industrial scale. Spain continues to be a leader in Europe in terms of projects presented and financed, having received to date 212 million euros distributed among 532 Spanish companies.
Aragón Exterior has been working since the launch of this interesting European tool to advise and help with the presentation of projects by Aragonese companies. Since March 2015, 31 Aragonese SMEs have participated in it (seven companies in the energy sector, six in the industrial sector, two in biotechnology, two in the agri-food sector, three in the materials and plastics sector and ten related to new technologies).
The percentage of success in the first phase of selection of SME Instrument for companies supported by Aragón Exterior is 50%: of 25 proposals submitted, nine were financed by the European Commission, one obtained funding from the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness, and four others obtained certificates of excellence. In phase 2, on the other hand, the success rate is 30 percent, since of the ten proposals presented, four obtained funding.