Grant-scheme for start-ups

SUPPORT MECHANISM:

This instrument will provide start-ups with seed-money for the commercialization phase of their innovative projects/ideas. This support serves as leverage in preparation for the next round of investment from private/VC or similar sources. Start-ups can receive support for finalization of product/service prototype, for testing in operative environment, product demonstration, for activities connected with the process of launching their product/service in the market.  

IMPLEMENTING AGENCIES:

Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts

ELIGIBILITY:

Eligible applicants are knowledge and innovation based enterprises up to three years following their registration with clear ambition for growth; which are unlisted, have not yet distributed profits and have not been formed through a merger.

Timeline:

On 9th of May 2016 the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts launched a grant scheme for co-financing start-ups worth initially 3 million Euro. The call for proposals is open till the end of 2016, when an interim evaluation will be executed. Re-opening of the call will follow and will be open till the end of 2020. Total planned budget allocation for this call in the period 2016-2020 is cca 15 million Euro (can vary according to disbursement).

MONITORING + EVALUATION METHODS

Indicators for measuring this program success are set in coherence with the EU metrics for implementation of funds for regional development (developed within EU cohesion and regional policy). 

Policy issue that the instrument is adressing is the lack of smart money for startups (Croatia lacks VC funds, for being a small market/country has not been seen as attractive enough for such funds to open local offices) that by being a new enterprise and an innovation venture have difficulties in accessing capital. This instrument bridges that gap and offers financial support for finalization of products/services and for reaching potential clients and customers. 

Grant intensity is 90% of eligible project costs (includes costs of product finalization, related outsourcing costs, personnel that works on the project, marketing costs, travel etc.). Maximum amount granted per single project is 200.000,00 €.

CHALLENGES + LESSONS TO DATE:

First evaluation will be done in early 2017. Lessons learned during the implementation in 2016 will be built in, and a revised version of the call will be re-launched afterwards.

NOTES + ADDITIONAL CONTEXT:

Backgroundof policy, in the context of country’s situation, existing policy framework, etc.

This program is a continuation of a pilot program started in 2013. It was implemented in 2013 and 2014. Croatia joined the European Union in July 2013 which gave access to EU cohesion policy funds. The Operative Program for usage of those funds in the period 2014-2020 envisaged a significant amount of resources to be allocated for supporting SMESs, in particular research and innovation activities, including start-ups. In May 2016 the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Crafts launched a grant scheme for co-financing start-ups, based on the positive evaluation of the pilot scheme launched in 2013.