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EUR 500 m in grants to be awarded for SME digitisation projects

Valentina Pârvu
Valentina Pârvu
Sorin-Adrian Predescu
Sorin Predescu

The Romanian Ministry of European Investments and Projects recently published the extended version of Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), which allocates EUR 2.5 billion to the Romanian private sector, out of which EUR 500 million in awards will be dedicated to 5,000 SMEs for digitisation projects. At the same time, a budget of EUR 2.5 million (0.5% of the total budget) will be allocated to ensure the efficient implementation of the plan by 2026. The EU Commission approved the PNRR on 28 October 2021.

These funds will be split in the following way:

– approximately EUR 150 million will be granted to IT companies for creating advanced digital technologies; and

– approximately EUR 350 million will be granted to both IT and non-IT SMEs for the adoption of digital technologies.

For the creation of advanced digital technologies:

– EUR 127.5 million will be allocated to projects on AI, data and cloud computing, blockchain, IoT, and cybersecurity, with the average financed value of a project being EUR 1.2 million; and

– EUR 20 million will be budgeted for High Performance and Quantum Computing projects, with an average funded value of EUR 1million per project.

The other scheme will be used by IT and non-IT SMEs for the adoption of digital technologies:

– EUR 315 million for digitalisation (through e-commerce, e-business and network economic processes, digital innovation centres, live laboratories, web entrepreneurs and start-ups in the field of ICT, B2B, etc.); and

– EUR 35 million for IT services and applications dedicated to digital skills and digital inclusion (including IT courses and other digitalisation measures).

In each case, the average project value is EUR 65,000 per enterprise (with a minimum of EUR 30,000 and a maximum of EUR 100,000).

The Ministry of European Investments and Projects (who is the provider of these de minimis and state aid schemes) and the scheme administrator (a public institution to be selected) will launch the guidelines for project calls in 2022 and 2023. The scheme for the adoption of digital technologies, however, has an increased degree of maturity since the Ministry of European Investments and Projects stated that it intended using the de minimis aid scheme already approved by Order no. 1468/4255/2020 (i.e. the applicant’s old guide for the 2020 EUR 100 million SME digitisation scheme, which has not been opened for funding).

Apart from the funds allocated for digitisation by SMEs, there will be funds for a whole range of technology objectives, such as creating four innovation hubs in the digital field near IT universities in Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi and Timisoara, in which scale-up companies will be involved.

Valentina Pârvu, Senior Associate CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP SCP
Sorin Predescu, Associate CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP SCP

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