CzechInvest has evaluated the projects that applied for aid in the first call of the Potential Programme, and a total of CZK 1.1 billion has been distributed to the successful applicants. The Potential Programme is part of the Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation (OPEI), which is administered by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic (MIT), while CzechInvest handles receipt of applications and general administration of funding.
The aim of the Potential Programme is to support the expansion of the number of companies that perform their own research, development and innovation activities. Companies can obtain support for investments involving the establishment or expansion of development centres (departments) focused on research and development of products or technologies, including development of specific software needed for innovation of production which is an inseparable part of products or technologies. “As its name implies, the aim of this programme is to increase the potential of business entities operating in the Czech Republic and to facilitate their success in the face of European and global competition,” says Alexandra Rudyšarová, acting CEO of CzechInvest, commenting on the nature of the Potential Programme.
The original allocation for the Potential Programme’s first call was CZK 600 million. However, in light of enterprises’ intense interest in the programme, Minister of Industry and Trade Martin Říman eventually approved an increase of the total amount by CZK 500 million to the final CZK 1.1 billion. The first call for submission of applications within the Potential Programme was announced by the MIT on 25 April 2007; parties interested in applying for aid could submit registration applications to CzechInvest from June to the end of 2007. The period for submitting full applications was from August 2007 until the end of February 2008.
Within the first call CzechInvest received 113 full aid applications in which applicants requested CZK 1.9 billion. Aid requests were assessed by 13 evaluation committees, which decided in favour of 69 submitted projects on the basis of predefined criteria. All companies that submitted aid applications in the first call are currently listed in the evaluation results. At the same time, decisions on the provision of aid are being issued to successful projects.
Those interested in applying for aid from the Potential Programme can submit their registration applications within the second call from March 2008 until the end of September 2009. This time CZK 2.58 billion will allocated to successful applicants. Compared with the already closed first call, a positive change consists in the expansion of the group of possible applicants. In addition to small and medium-sized enterprises, now large enterprises can also receive aid. “Aid is available to start-up companies that are backed by a parent company or other entity with a controlling interest and that have closed at least two consecutive accounting periods. Thanks to the Potential Programme, companies can become more competitive from the very beginning of their existence,” adds Rudyšarová.
The current calls for all programmes within OPEI are gradually being announced in the form of cyclical or, as the case may be, continual calls for submission of aid applications. More detailed information on the calls is available on CzechInvest’s website (http://www.czechinvest.org/podnikani-a-inovace). Information on business-support programmes is also available on the Green Information Line at 800 800 777 weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. In addition, those interested in European programmes can send their queries by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal and telephone consultations are provided by CzechInvest’s network of 13 regional offices every weekday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. A list of the agency’s regional offices, which are located in every regional capital, can be downloaded from http://www.czechinvest.org/regionalni-kancelare.