We interviewed Alberto Molowny, General Manager of ColaborAC Consultoría en Subvenciones to learn more in detail the added value offered by the consultancy in public subsidies aimed at digitization or technological projects that enhance the business fabric and what are the upcoming calls that we should keep in mind.
What is the role of an expert consultant in lines of financing for projects? And why is it so important for the business fabric?
The objective of our work as Subsidy Consultancy is to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the multitude of public subsidies and grants that are announced every year, to finance the needs or projects of companies.
For companies in general, it is an added value to have the services that a multisectoral public subsidies consultancy like Colaborac can offer, since we professionalize the process of comprehensive management of subsidies:
On the one hand, we search, locate and inform of all those subsidies applicable to a particular company or sector, creating a catalog of current or upcoming subsidies, which is updated daily.
And, on the other hand, we manage the file in all its phases, from the study of requirements, project strategy, the application process, to the payment of the subsidy and closing of the file. The key is to adapt the projects that the companies have to each line of subsidy to maximize the chances of success.
Public financing could be one of the main considerations for entrepreneurs when starting a business, especially if it is related to the technological field. What considerations do you think they should take into account?
Public administrations, through different subsidy programs, try to encourage companies/entrepreneurs to start new businesses or projects in certain activities, or in the case of companies in operation, to improve existing products, services or processes in order to increase their competitiveness and productivity.
In order to be eligible for this type of subsidies, and in accordance with European policies, projects or investments must have an innovative component, and must incorporate innovative technologies, especially in terms of sustainability and digitalization.
Is there a lot of ignorance about the line of aid and subsidies for digitization or technological projects?
There is actually a lot of general information on grants and subsidies for digitization or technological projects for the business sector, even public web portals such as the National Database of Grants, or the new website of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Government of Spain, allows you to search or filter by categories to access those related to a particular need, such as technology.
It must be taken into account that digitalization or technology applies to all sectors; services, tourism, industrial, primary sector, naval, etc. and the information is not always centralized or available at the moment it is needed. Even so, I believe that having all the information or having knowledge about certain subsidies does not guarantee the success of the subsidy, you should plan the management of the file and adjust to the criteria of each aid to maximize the chances of being a beneficiary, or even divide the project into subprojects to qualify for a greater number of subsidies of various kinds.
"There is a lot of general information about grants and subsidies for digitalization or technology projects for the business sector."
What type of aid related to the technology sector does the entrepreneur value the most? In your opinion, how will the new European Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the Next Generation EU Recovery Instrument boost the economic fabric of the Canary Islands?
By specifying programs or subsidy lines for digitalization or technological developments:
- In the case of the MFF 2021-2027, highlight the Canary Islands ERDF Operational Program, which has among its main objectives the "Digital and Smart Transition":
In this sense, the aids to be called to meet these objectives contemplate, among others, the following actions:
- Digital skills, in which actions aimed at promoting the digital training of citizens, professionals and companies will be carried out.
- Promotion of the digitalization of Canary Islands companies, aimed at financing business projects aimed at their digital transformation in order to contribute to improve their competitiveness and productivity, as well as that of the Canary Islands industry through the digitalization of its entire value chain, in the global concept of Industry 4.0, promoting the industrial transition, in its double digital and ecological approach.
Likewise, the implementation in industrial companies of specialized software for the digital transition derived from the action plan for digitalization will be encouraged. This measure will be completed with a program aimed at the business digitalization of Canary Islands companies, as part of the process of their promotion abroad in the rest of the national territory, as well as in international markets, and of the improvement of their productivity and competitiveness, increasing in turn the number of companies exporting goods and services.
*Source: 220419_Programa-FEDER_IC-CAC-AGE_v4.pdf (gobiernodecanarias.org)
And with respect to the Next Gen EU funds, the PRTR of the Government of Spain, which has already published the actions to be executed until 2026, and anticipates every six months the grants to be convened, with grants already available for the second half of 2022, and which has a special section for digitization or research and development.
The PRTR structures the entire Next Gen fund assigned to Spain in 10 levers and 30 components, which in turn include the investments and reforms to be carried out:
In this case I would highlight the grants to be convened attending to PALACA V: Modernization and digitization of the industrial fabric and SMEs, recovery of tourism and boosting an entrepreneurial Spain nation, and its four components:
Component 12: Industrial Policy Spain 2030
Component 13: Boosting SMEs
Component 14: Plan for the modernization and competitiveness of the tourism sector.
Component 15: Digital Connectivity, promotion of cybersecurity and deployment of 5G.
To this end, the grants will be called taking into account the importance of SMEs in the business fabric, so that digitization and green transformation become a reality in Spain. The aids are going to try to favor investment and boost business creation and growth, increasing the size and productivity of companies and consolidating our country as a place of reference in supporting entrepreneurship and in particular technological startups, with a comprehensive approach, adopting the best international practices to make Spain an entrepreneurial nation.
Along the same lines, they intend to promote a coherent plan for the digitization of the entire value chain in key sectors, to take full advantage of the synergies and opportunities of new technological and data management developments in the agri-food and logistics chain, commerce, tourism, health and mobility.
Finally, the aid will pay special attention to tourism as a sector seriously affected by the crisis, given its weight in our economy and its high degree of international competitiveness.
*Source Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Gobierno de España (planderecuperacion.gob.es)
In both cases, both the ordinary European budget and the new recovery instrument aim to boost European regions, including the Canary Islands, and with respect to their business fabric, to be more digital, sustainable, innovative and therefore more competitive and productive companies with greater capacity for growth.
How can we keep track of current and upcoming calls for proposals?
This is a somewhat complex task since subsidies are not stock products and are not always available. Both on the public website of the National Grants Database, on other sectoral public websites, or on the website of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan, they publish the current calls for proposals, and in some cases the next ones.
Colaborac, as a consulting entity in public subsidies, we have developed a digital tool that allows us to develop a catalog of subsidies, in force or upcoming, applicable in the Canary Islands, with the ability to be managed, and align them to the projects or needs that companies may have. This allows us to plan in advance a project to be subsidized, and not to miss any subsidy opportunity.
How much preparation time is required to apply for a call for proposals?
In this case it will depend on several factors, such as the type of subsidy (if it is open or has an application deadline), its requirements and evaluation criteria, the type of report or project to be included in the application, the complexity of the project or action to be subsidized, etc. But normally the deadlines for submitting the application range from 5 days to 1 month, once the call has been published in the official gazette. Resolutions usually have a term of up to 6 months.
Are there any upcoming calls regarding technological investment?
Yes, in addition to those indicated in the PRTR (next Gen) for the second half of the year, such as Kit Digital, or the Tech fund, I would highlight the so-called Industry 4.0 or the Program for the improvement of competitiveness, sustainability, creation and business growth in the Canary Islands, which include among their eligible and fundamental investments for success, the incorporation of innovative technologies.
Do not miss next July 22nd at FIT Canarias (Adeje) the seminar "Grants and Subsidies to Improve the Competitiveness of your Company" in which we will discover from the hand of Intelequia, Aurum Rooms and Colaborac the most demanded concerns about grants and subsidies to implement the most cutting-edge technological solutions in security and artificial intelligence to optimize sales channels in the hotel tourism sector.