How to get grants for design projects

Entrepreneurs can apply for co-financing of design operations, thanks to which the company’s products and services will be adapted to the needs and expectations of clients. The competition “Design for SMEs” is funded by the European Union’s European Funds Program for Eastern Poland. The call for proposals budget is quite large, amounting to PLN 100 million. Funding applications can be submitted until August 29. Entrepreneurs should take into account that representatives of the Polish Enterprise Development Agency (PARP), that is, the recruitment organizers, may terminate the competition ahead of time. This will happen when the amount of co-financing that potential beneficiaries will apply for is more than 200 percent. budget for this recruitment.


A great convenience for entrepreneurs is the possibility to apply for support for the entire design process with just one request for co-financing.

Grzegorz Karwatowicz, a lawyer at SWK Legal, confirms that the grants are intended for representatives of small, medium and micro enterprises.

– Applicants must run a company in the East of Greater Poland, i.e. in Lubelskie, Podkarpackie, Podlaskie, Świętokrzyskie or Warmińsko-Mazurskie regions. The competition also includes companies from Mazovia, with the exception of Warsaw and its surroundings – explains Grzegorz Karwatowicz.

Smart regional specialties

The lawyer draws attention to the preferred projects in the call for proposals.

– Projects implemented by small and medium-sized companies whose revenues from production activities or services constitute the largest proportion of sales. This condition applies to the last closed fiscal year. Projects that fit regional smart disciplines that are common to at least two of the aforementioned macroregions will also be welcomed – Grzegorz Karwatowicz underlines.

It recommends that entrepreneurs, before deciding to participate in the competition, familiarize themselves with the project selection criteria, on the basis of which experts will evaluate applications for co-financing. Thanks to this, he adds, they will check whether the projects they are planning have any chance of getting financial support.

Agnieszka Wykrzykowska, senior director at Grant Thornton, explains that the grants will fund the costs of projects that include conducting a design audit, as well as developing and implementing a design strategy.

– It is about actions taken by the entrepreneur that take into account the design processes. The end result should be introducing innovations to the market – Agnieszka Wykrzykowska emphasizes.

The current competition is a continuation of the “Design for Competition” call from the previous financial perspective. At that time, it consisted of two phases.

Entrepreneurs first applied for funding to develop a design strategy. Then they can compete for grants to implement it. The possibility of applying for financial support for the entire design process under a single co-financing application is certainly a great help for entrepreneurs, Agnieszka Wykrzykowska assesses.

The subsidies will cover the costs of training and consulting services needed to implement the design strategy. They will also finance spending on the purchase of fixed assets other than real estate and software, as well as intangible assets in the form of patents, licenses and know-how. In addition, entrepreneurs will be able to count on co-financing construction works and materials. There is one condition: it must be related to the installation of machinery and equipment, and its value must not exceed 10 percent. The value of the purchased fixed assets needed to implement the project.

An expert from Grant Thornton draws attention to the financial criteria of the projects participating in the call for proposals.

Eligible costs for the project must not be less than PLN 200,000. zlotys. However, co-financing of costs related to conducting a design audit and developing a design strategy may not exceed PLN 70,000. zlotys. The maximum support for the entire project is 3 million PLN. Most importantly, PARP representatives require potential recipients to contribute at least 15% of their own contribution. Agnieszka Wykrzykowska points out.

Conditional grant

What is new in the competition is the co-financing of training and consulting services in the form of a non-refundable grant. The investment financing will be distributed in the form of conditional support. This means that it is subject to return if certain conditions are not met by the entrepreneur. To run a company for more than five years from the date of the recruitment announcement. If this is not the case, then the representative of a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise will have to return, respectively: 25%, 30% and 40 percent of the co-financing amount covered by the conditional support. PARP may reduce the amount of this refund. In what cases? If the entrepreneur maintains or increases the average number of employees within two years after completion of the project.

Agnieszka Wykrzykowska has good news for entrepreneurs who have a design audit and a jointly funded design strategy as part of the “Design for Competition” competition.

– If it is up-to-date and not implemented in the company, it can be used in the current competition and apply for a subsidy for its implementation – Agnieszka Wykrzykowska emphasizes.

What is financing for

• Costs of consulting services related to conducting a design audit and developing a design strategy

• Costs of consulting services required to implement the design strategy

• Purchase of fixed assets other than developed and undeveloped real estate

• Acquire software and other intangible assets in the form of patents, licenses, know-how and other intellectual property rights

• Construction work costs and material costs for training services

• Costs of establishing and maintaining an advance payment guarantee

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