Identifying the Ideal Time to Apply for EU Funding for your Business.

William Spiteri Bailey

Partner, RSM Malta

There are currently several opportunities available to commercial entities wishing to grow their business. The Business Enhance Grants managed by the Measures and Support Division are open to both start-ups and established businesses alike. There are several grants available intended to help cover part of the costs of different initiatives such as business plans, shop or factory extensions, new machinery, e-commerce websites etc…

Identifying the appropriate timing for applying  for EU Funding for a project is instrumental. The ideal time to enquire whether your business and the project itself is eligible for EU Funding is either before or upon having decided to carry out the initiative, however it is instrumental that this is done before any expenses related to the project are incurred.

In the case of the Business Enhance Grants as well as the clear majority of other European Funds available, one can not apply for funds to cover the cost of items that have already been purchased. One can start claiming and covering expenses subsidised by EU Funding after a project application has been successful and a grant agreement signed.

Although items and expenditure already incurred prior to award are unclaimable it is advisable that some preparatory work in relation to the project is conducted prior to submitting an EU funding application.

Some funds require either Planning Authority permits or evidence that the applicant has submitted requests for permits. Architect’s Bills of Quantities are also requested at project application stage. Proof of possessing the financing necessary to cover the part of the project that will not be funded by the EU is also required. Proof of match financing can either be in the form of a bank statement attesting to the financing required being in the applicant’s bank account or a bank issued sanction letter for a loan demonstrating that the financing required for the project has been approved by a bank.

One instrumental piece of preparation that must be conducted prior to applying is market research to determine project expenditure. Anyone applying for an EU Funded project must have a clear idea of how much their project will cost. It is advisable to get at least one quote for every item, service or machine one intends to claim through a project. Although quotes may not be requested at application stage they serve to strengthen a project proposal. There have also been instances where quotes have been requested at project evaluation stage.  

Companies applying for EU funding must also have a clean bill of health with the Inland Revenue and VAT Departments. Recent compliance certificated issued not longer then 3 months before the submission date of the project must be submitted with the application. This often precludes companies having pending fines and fees from applying or missing submission deadlines and cut-off dates. Equally as important is ensuring that the company has updated and finalised the management and audited accounts of the preceding two years. In the case of applications from start-ups management accounts may be presented if the company has been in existence for less than two years.

Forethought and advanced planning are instrumental in avoiding disappointment when considering EU Funding for your business growth. If you would like to know if your business or a project that you have in mind is eligible for EU funding and how to go about applying, RSM is here to help.