“We will announce the first call, titled Technology COVID 19, from the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness in the shortest possible timeframe, specifically on 14 April 2020. Small and medium-sized companies will be able to apply for support in the amount of up to CZK 20 million. At least CZK 300 million in total will be available,” says Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček, adding: “We will support business activities focused on production of medical devices. In particular, this will involve projects that are directly related to the fight against the further spread of the coronavirus by acquiring new technological devices and equipment.”
The government has also approved the programme Czech Rise Up – Smart Measures Against COVID-19, which has the purpose of supporting the rapid introduction of new solutions that can help with the fight against the coronavirus, mitigating the impacts of the disease’s further spread and addressing the ramifications of the crisis. “The programme will support the projects of companies, including start-ups and possibly other institutions, by financing the necessary costs of rapidly introducing solutions into practice. Examples of this are a new respiratory ventilator and an application that facilitates logistics,” says Petr Očko, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade for Digitalisation and Innovation.
The programme was formulated on the basis of a survey of current needs, which was rapidly carried out from 19 to 22 March 2020 in response to the extraordinary measures relating to the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the short time period, the survey received 383 responses from business entities of various sizes, 70% of which were small and medium-sized companies. Nearly half of the respondents (45%) mentioned the necessity of rapid development and deployment of new technologies and solutions, both medical and non-medical, to combat the coronavirus. According to more than half of the survey participants (52%), such solutions must be deployed in a matter of days, i.e. before the expected peak of the coronavirus epidemic. It will be possible to submit aid applications in the coming weeks. At present, it is expected that the programme’s total budget will be CZK 200 million with the possibility of increasing that amount.