However, tracking down the right one for you and actually getting the money in your company bank account is another matter altogether. Try to set the process in motion as early as possible but don’t factor it in to your financial projections. The application process can take months, even years. Even when a grant is eventually approved, getting it through the system to where you need it – in your business – is a tortuous process.
You will need the advice of someone who’s familiar with what’s available and knows about regulations and qualifying conditions. The financial adviser who helps you with your business plan is the best place to start finding your way through the maze of financial aid.
Another good source of information about grants and financial incentives for businesses is the website of the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade (www.investinspain.org). This contains detailed information about the criteria for grants from central government and those awarded by autonomous communities, municipalities and city councils.
Some of the Spanish Chambers of Commerce also have information, as do the one-stop business creation offices ( Ventanilla Unica Empresarial/VUE), although their information is not always available in English. The Madrid Chamber of Commerce has information available in English on its website, which is a useful reference point (www.cameramadrid.es/ingles).
Finally, the Dirección General de Política de la PYME (www.ipyme.org – in Spanish only), the association of small and medium-size businesses in Spain is an important organisation in the Spanish business world and can give entrepreneurs a considerable amount of support. If you aren’t a fluent Spanish speaker, find someone who is to help you make contact with them.
Bear in mind that any grant or incentive offered by the state or by an autonomous community is governed by the regulations which the EU has established for all its members. Aid and incentives are permitted only in areas which meet EU criteria, of which details can be found on the Invest In Spain website (www.investinspain.org).
European Union Grants
European Union (EU) grants can be particularly difficult to track down, but a number of websites can facilitate your search, including the following:
- www.grant-guide.com – An EU-funded website called ‘GUIDE’, which aims to simplify the hunt for information about grants (both state and private) available throughout Europe. Information is available in all official EU languages. There’s a searchable database of literally thousands of grants, loans, cash awards and venture capital schemes.
- www.econet.es – Run by Spain’s leading grants consultancy firm, Econet and providing information in English;
- www.europa.eu.int – The European Union’s own website, which you can access in English;
- www.ipyme.org – The website of the Dirección General de Política de la PYME. Go to ‘ SIE Bases de Datos’ and then ‘ Ayudas de la Union Europea’ (in Spanish only).
Grants at National Level
Many of the information sources of information about grants and subsidies at a national level are only in Spanish. However, Econet’s website (www.econet.es) can be accessed in English. Econet acts as an intermediary between applicants and awarding bodies, helping with advice and qualifying information and is one of the key organisations to contact in order to obtain the grant you need. The association of small and medium-size businesses will also help with grants and incentives at a national level, some of which are aimed specifically at small and medium-size businesses ( pequeñas y medianas empresas/PYME). Details of loans available to PYMEs are detailed below.
Grants at Autonomous Community Level
Each of the 17 autonomous communities in Spain has an investment promotion agency. The website of the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Trade (www.investinspain.org) provides links to all the relevant websites. A few of them are available in English, but most are only in Spanish and. Bear in mind that any grant or incentive offered either by the state or any autonomous community is governed by the regulations which the EU has established for all its members. Aid and incentives are only permitted in areas which meet their criteria. This information is also detailed on the Invest In Spain website.
Other Grants & Incentives
Financial incentives are offered at various levels (autonomous community, municipal and city council) to companies which create and foster employment among ‘disadvantaged’ groups. If you employ people who have been unemployed for more than six months or you employ women, especially older women, in an industry where women are traditionally underrepresented, you will qualify for rebates of between 20 and 100 per cent on your employer’s social security contributions.
If you create jobs among the local community, you may also benefit from significant subsidies, especially during the first year after your company is incorporated. Your local Chamber of Commerce will give you details incentives that apply to your situation, and further information can be found on the Invest in Spain website (www.investinspain.org).
This article is an extract from Making a Living in Spain. Click here to get a copy now.