The total amount of aid is the main instrument for investment, R&D, innovation and technical consultancy. Within this framework of aids, the envelope presented today aims to favor the repair of the crisis in the context of the pandemic and its social consequences and to prepare a green, digital and resilient recovery of the economy. The aid package called for 2021, which amounts to a total of 40.5 million euros, is the largest amount offered to SMEs in the history of Aragon and shows the effort being made by the regional government to absorb the transfers from European funds.
The Vice-president and Minister of Industry, Competitiveness and Business Development, Arturo Aliaga, wanted to remind that “the European funds are arriving to Aragón” and stressed that “they are going to be used in the economic reactivation, which is what we were told from Europe, and this economic reactivation goes through more digitalized industries, with more innovation base and more sustainable. Anything that is not sustainable will not be in the market in the medium term”. He also wanted to highlight the work being done by the Department of Industry and the General Directorate of Industry and SMEs because “the aids called involve the mobilization and investment of projects and the maintenance of employment”. The General Director of Industry, Javier Navarro, has recognized that, when summoning these aids, they have looked for the best possible combination of subsidies so that more money reaches the Aragonese companies”:
The beneficiaries of this call will be SMEs and large companies and the two central lines of the budget will be destined to the digital transformation of companies and to the transformation oriented to the environment. Applications may be submitted until December 31, 2021 and the eligible period will be retroactive, from February 1, 2021 to August 31, 2022.
This program aims to respond to an exceptional situation caused by the pandemic that has provoked an evident crisis in the economic activity.
The eligible actions will be divided into five blocks:
-Regional investment aid.
-Aid for industrial research and experimental development.
-Aid for innovation in processes and organization.
-Aid for innovation.
-Aid for Technical Consultancy Services.
And the resources will be destined to:
-Support investment in companies to, in turn, support employment.
-Revitalize the sustainable growth of companies and increase their resilience so that they can continue to operate despite unprecedented disruptions such as the COVID-19 crises.
-Mobilize investments that contribute to the transition to a digital and green economy.
The line of aid is processed on a competitive basis and is aimed at business projects of companies, whether SMEs or large companies, which can be considered as having an industrial or related activity or with differentiated added value, economic or social potential, providing incentives for productive investment, the development of R&D and innovation projects in organization and processes, as well as the protection of industrial property and the development of strategic consultancy projects for competitive improvement and growth.
In the case of large companies, eligible applications must fall into the categories of productive investment and R&D projects. Regarding the contents and themes of the aid applications, the call is aimed at promoting the digital transformation of companies in all possible aspects, including the concept of Industry 4.0, but not exclusively.
The actions related to a contribution towards the objectives of a green and more sustainable industrial activity are another of the priorities of this call, hence it is worth mentioning as an example the interest in supporting projects that incorporate the concept of circular economy to the processes of industry, the development of industrial logistics chains and actions aimed at a transition and energy efficiency in the processes.
The innovation provided by the application is another key aspect, which is also intended to be given special coverage in this call, which seeks to promote value-added initiatives of SMEs, prioritizing those projects that introduce innovative aspects, business modeling, industrial design of products and services, market expansion, increased productivity and competitive capacity or modernization of the means of production, logistics and trade.
Support for value chains in Aragon’s industrial and business fabric is another of the main purposes of this call for proposals. It is based on a twofold objective: on the one hand, to contribute to an economy with a greater specific weight and strategic autonomy of industrial activity, and, on the other, to incorporate added value and a multiplier effect of the aid in Aragon.