Subsidies to support the international strategy and action of SMEs in the Valencian Community 2024

What are they and what is the objective of the subsidies to support the international strategy and action of SMEs in the Valencia Region in 2024?

In April 2024, a new call for grants was launched to support the international strategy and action of SMEs in the Valencian Region. This initiative, financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund, has as its main objective to boost the internationalisation of Valencian companies.

To this end, specialised consultancy will be provided, including expert support and accompaniment services at all stages of the internationalisation process. In this way, the aim is to enable Valencian companies to establish a solid international strategy that will allow them to expand their operations beyond Spain’s borders.

The regulatory bases of this initiative outline the conditions and requirements for the application and granting of aid to cover the costs related to the internationalisation process of SMEs.

The grant is presented as an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Valencian Community to access resources and specialised consultancy to develop a successful international strategy. Through this call, the aim is to facilitate the growth and expansion of Valencian SMEs in the global market, thus promoting the economic development of the region.

Internationalisation costs to be subsidised for SMEs in the Valencian Community (2024)

What internationalisation costs are eligible for these grants?

The call for subsidies for the year 2024 in the Valencian Community contemplates a wide range of eligible costs aimed at improving the internationalisation of SMEs. Below, we detail the expenses that can be covered by these grants, as long as they are services provided by consultancies specialised in internationalisation:

  • Strategic consultancy for the definition or revision of the company’s export strategy. This type of consultancy helps SMEs to develop or adjust their international action plans to improve their competitiveness in foreign markets.
  • Strategic consultancy on the digitalisation of international activity, including digital marketing, online marketing channels abroad, artificial intelligence applied to internationalisation, and other technological aspects that enhance the company’s global presence.
  • Strategic consultancy on international public procurement, facilitating companies’ access to business opportunities through tenders and public contracts in foreign markets.
  • Strategic consulting for the sustainable growth of international activity, ensuring that SMEs can expand in a responsible and environmentally friendly way in their global operations.
  • Strategic consultancy aimed at the design, development and positioning of the brand in international markets. This service helps SMEs to build and strengthen their brand identity outside Spain.
  • Strategic consultancy for expansion in foreign markets. This may include consultancy costs related to the incorporation of the company abroad or those derived from the contracting of professional services necessary for the operation of the company abroad, such as legal, tax and/or labour, human resources, or real estate advice, among others.
  • Strategic consultancy on any other specialised aspect of the internationalisation of companies, such as those associated with international financing, logistics, etc. These expenses must be justified by the company in the report provided to IVACE in the application phase.
  • Expert support or accompaniment services at any stage of the internationalisation process. These services ensure that SMEs have the necessary support throughout the international expansion process.

These are the expenses that the call will NOT subsidise for SMEs in the Comunitat Valenciana (2024)

While the call for grants for 2024 offers extensive support for the internationalisation of SMEs in the Valencian Region, it also clearly establishes which expenses are not eligible and how the costs associated with these grants should be managed. The following expenses will not be considered eligible:

  1. Cost of intermediation services in foreign markets. This includes services intended to act as an intermediary between the company and customers or potential partners abroad.
  2. Services for the establishment and operation of distribution networks abroad. Expenses related to the creation and management of distribution networks outside Spain will not be covered by these subsidies.
  3. Agency contracts, representation or similar actions. Grants shall not cover the costs associated with the employment of commercial agents or representatives, or any other action directly linked to the commercial activity of the company.
  4. In general, any expenditure which is not clearly defined or which is not directly aimed at achieving the objectives of the call will be excluded. In case of dispute, the criterion of the IVACE will prevail.

How should SMEs manage the costs associated with these internationalisation grants?

In order to ensure the correct use of grants, beneficiary SMEs must follow certain guidelines when managing the associated costs:

1. Request for tenders: Before contracting expenditure of EUR 15 000 or more, excluding VAT, with the same supplier, the beneficiary company must request at least three tenders from different suppliers. These companies must not be linked to each other or to the beneficiary company.

2. Selection of the most economical offer: Among the offers received, the company must choose the most economical one. This obligation also applies when the sum of the amount of several consultancies is equal to or greater than 15,000 euros and the service is provided by a single supplier, or by several linked suppliers.

3. Requirements for tenders:

    • Materials: Tenders must be sufficiently detailed, specifying the services to be performed and their price, and must be comparable in content.
    • Formal: Tenders must be dated and contain the necessary data to correctly identify the sender, including the logo or seal of the entity.

4. Justification report: In case of not opting for the lowest bid, the company must submit a justification report explaining the reasons for this decision.

5. No duplication of aid: The costs associated with subsidised projects may not receive aid from other calls for proposals from this or any other administration. In other words, duplicity of aid for the same project will not be permitted.

6. Timing of the project: The project must not have been completed before the date of the grant application. This means that only projects in progress or starting after the grant application date will be funded.

Following these guidelines, SMEs in the Valencian Region will be able to properly manage the costs associated with internationalisation and make the most of the subsidies offered by the IVACE for the 2024 financial year.

Who can apply for the subsidies for international action of the Valencian Community (2024)?

The subsidies in this call for applications are aimed at SMEs with registered offices in the Valencia Region that wish to improve their international strategy and competitiveness in foreign markets. In order to apply for these grants, SMEs must meet the following requirements:

  1. Registered office: The company must have its registered office in the Comunitat Valenciana.
  2. Legal prohibitions: They must not incur in any of the prohibitions established in Article 13.2 of Law 38/2003, of 17 November, General Law on Subsidies. This includes, among others, the prohibition to receive public aid for being in a situation of crisis or not being up to date with their tax and Social Security obligations.
  3. Additional requirements: They must comply with the rest of the requirements established in Article 4 of Order 20/2016, of 19 October. This order establishes the regulatory bases for the granting of aid by the Instituto Valenciano de Competitividad Empresarial (IVACE).

For the purpose of this call, an SME is an entity whose characteristics comply with Annex I of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of 17 June 2014. This Regulation defines SMEs as enterprises which employ fewer than 250 persons and whose annual turnover does not exceed EUR 50 million, or whose annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 43 million.

Types of SMEs excluded from these VC subsidies (2024)

SMEs carrying out activities included in sections K and L of the National Classification of Economic Activities (CNAE 2009), approved by Royal Decree 475/2007, of 13 April, are excluded from this call. These sections correspond to:

  • Section K: financial and insurance activities.
    Section L: Real estate activities.

How to apply for subsidies for the internationalisation of SMEs in the Valencian Community?

The procedure for applying for grants will be carried out electronically. The steps and requirements for submitting the application are detailed below:

  1. Single application per enterprise: Only one application per applicant enterprise will be accepted. This application may include requests for several modalities of specialised consultancy or accompanying service, depending on the needs of the enterprise. If the same company submits different applications, only the last one registered within the deadline will be considered valid.
  2. Application requirements: The application must comply with the requirements established in Law 39/2015, of 1 October, on Common Administrative Procedure for Public Administrations. In addition, it must include all the documentation required by the call for applications.
  3. Correction of faults: If the application does not meet the requirements or lacks documentation, the applicant will be required to correct the fault or provide the necessary documents within a period of 10 working days from the day following receipt of the request. If they fail to do so, they will be considered to have withdrawn their application, subject to a decision under the terms provided for in administrative legislation.
  4. Electronic means: All requests and notifications will be made by electronic means. If the applicant does not comply with the content of the request within ten calendar days, it will be understood that the notification has been rejected and the notification procedure will be considered to have been carried out.
  5. Delegation of incident resolution: The head of the International Promotion Area of IVACE will be in charge of resolving incidents that occur before the award, such as cancellations, change of applicant or change of project.

Criteria for assessing and scoring projects for the award of grants

For a project to be approved under this call for proposals, it must achieve a minimum score of 50 points. Projects will be prioritised according to the criteria specified below, with a total weighting of 100 points:

a) Characteristics of the project (Maximum 65 points)

  1. Coherence between the objectives proposed by the company and the consultancy to be carried out (Maximum 25 points): How the objectives proposed by the company are aligned with the consultancy to be carried out will be evaluated.
  2. Quality of the international strategic approach presented (Maximum 40 points)
  • Clarity and justification of the report: The report must be clearly written, well justified and reasoned (Maximum 20 points).

  • Planning system: The report must include a planning system for the design and implementation of the international strategy (Maximum 10 points).
  • Definition of resources and team: The report must specify the resources and the team that will be in charge of monitoring the design and implementation of the strategy resulting from the consultancy work (Maximum 10 points).

b) Characteristics of the applicant company (Maximum 25 points)

  1. Economic viability (Maximum 10 points): The degree of economic solvency of the applicant company will be assessed.
  2. Human resources (Maximum 5 points): The availability of human resources in the international area of the company for the correct execution of the international promotion plan will be assessed.
  3. Degree of internationalisation (Maximum 10 points): The level of internationalisation already achieved by the company will be considered.

c) Social criteria (Maximum 10 points)

As action measures to promote equal opportunities between women and men and the social and labour integration of people with disabilities, the following social criteria are established in the assessment of applications:

  1. Equal Opportunities Plan: That the applicant company has an Equal Opportunities Plan, even if it is not required by current legislation.
  2. Percentage of women in the workforce: The percentage of women in the company’s workforce will be assessed, as well as the percentage of hours dedicated to the project by women.
  3. Wage gap improvement: The improvement of the applicant company’s wage gap compared to the national average will be considered.
  4. Hiring of people with functional diversity: The percentage of people with functional diversity hired above the minimum legal requirement will be assessed.
  5. Contracts with persons in situation or at risk of social exclusion: Contracts with persons in situation or at risk of social exclusion, special employment centres or insertion companies, in addition to those required as complementary measures, will be taken into account.
  6. Contributions to NGOs and charities: The amounts contributed by the applicant to NGOs and charities will be taken into account.

These criteria ensure a comprehensive assessment of the applications, taking into account both the quality of the project and the capacities of the company, as well as the social commitment of SMEs in the Valencian Community.

Deadline for applications, required documentation and how to submit an application

Deadline for grant applications

The application for these grants must be submitted within the following periods:

  1. First period: From the day after the publication of the extract of the call for applications in the Diari Oficial de la Generalitat Valenciana (DOGV), 23 April 2024, until 31 May 2024 (both inclusive).
  2. Second period: From 1 June 2024 to 13 September 2024 (both inclusive).

Documentation required to submit the application

In order to formalise the application, it is essential to present the following documentation:

  • Standard application form: Accessible on the IVACE website. Once the application has been submitted in the Electronic Register, a receipt accrediting the submission will be issued automatically, which can be filed or printed by the applicant entity.
  • Project report: It must be completed according to the model available on the IVACE website. This report is crucial for the application of the assessment criteria. A poorly written or difficult to understand report may result in a low score or even in the rejection of the application.
  • Other documentation: Detailed in Article 5 of the call.

How to apply for grants?

The application will be processed electronically. The steps and requirements are detailed here:

  1. Electronic processing: The application and all the formalities of the procedure will be carried out electronically. The applicant entity must have an entity representative certificate issued by the Autoritat de Certificaci贸 de la Comunitat Valenciana or by any entity recognised in the Trusted List of certification service providers established in Spain, published in the electronic headquarters of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
  2. Authorisation: The applicant entity may authorise another person to carry out any procedure related to this call, provided that such authorisation is recorded in the Register of Representatives of the ACCV.
  3. Signature and presentation: The processing of the application implies the signature of the application and its annexes, and it will be submitted in the IVACE telematic registry through its website.
Useful links to consult information related to the application for subsidies for SMEs in the Valencian Region in 2024

Collection of subsidies and deadline for the resolution of the call for proposals for SMEs in the Comunidad Valenciana (2024)

Maximum time limit for decision and notification

The maximum period for deciding and notifying the decision on the applications is six months from the day after the deadline for submitting applications in each tranche of the 2024 call. If this period elapses without an express decision, the applicant companies will consider their applications rejected by administrative silence. However, the Administration is obliged to make an express decision.

The reasoned decision shall be notified telematically to the beneficiary companies and the grants awarded shall be published in the National Grants Database (BDNS). This publication shall include the call for proposals, the programme and budget appropriation, the beneficiary company, the amount awarded and the purpose of the grant.

The resolution of concession or rejection will put an end to the administrative process. The person in charge of the Deputy Directorate of the IVACE (Directorate General for Internationalisation) will be responsible for resolving appeals for reconsideration.

If the proposals for awarding grants exceed the budget allocation, the evaluation committee may propose a limit on the maximum amount of the grant to be awarded to the beneficiary enterprises.

Data generated by the formalisation and development of grants will be treated, whenever possible, as open datasets.

Amount and collection of subsidies for SMEs with a VC internationalisation strategy

  1. The aid will take the form of a grant.
  2. The aid may cover up to 90 % of the eligible costs, with a maximum amount of EUR 40 000.
  3. The aid is subject to the de minimis rule, which stipulates that the total aid granted to a single enterprise must not exceed EUR 300 000 over any three-year period, including the date on which this grant is awarded and the three preceding years. The definition of ‘single enterprise’ is in line with Article 2(2) of Commission Regulation (EU) 2023/2831 of 13 December 2023.

Do you have any doubts? We manage your application to implement the international strategy of your SME in the Valencian Community

This call for grants is excellent news for SMEs in the Valencia Region, providing them with the necessary support to carry out their internationalisation plans and improve their competitiveness in the international arena. At Relomar, we understand the importance of taking advantage of these opportunities. We can support your company or SME in every step of the application process, from strategic planning to effective implementation in international markets.

Our strategic consulting services are designed to align your company’s objectives with the requirements of the current call for proposals. We offer expert advice on defining and reviewing export strategies, digitising your international activity, optimising your presence in foreign markets and much more.

With a team of specialised consultants and a personalised approach, at Relomar we guarantee an efficient and cost-effective execution of your internationalisation projects. We are here to maximise your chances of success, ensuring that each step will meet the required assessment criteria, so that you can access the maximum support available.

Don’t miss this opportunity to take your business to new international horizons. Contact us today for assistance in applying for a grant for your SME.