Minister of Energy, Commerce and Industry Natasa Pilides revealed on Tuesday a new grants scheme aiming to strengthen new entrepreneurship amounting to €30 million.
Speaking during a press conference, Pilides said that in the last four months the Ministry launched schemes amounting to €121 million, noting that grants will reach €166 million by the end of 2021 from a total of €450 million in the programme period of 2021-2027.
“The government’s ultimate goal is to support businesses in concrete terms, as they constitute a strong driving force of economic growth, especially in the current period amid the efforts for the economic recovery and for dealing with the consequences of the pandemic,” she said.
The Minister added that the new grants scheme comes as a continuation of the popular plans to boost youth and women’s entrepreneurship, adding that in the last seven years these schemes assisted 608 young entrepreneurs to start their own business creating jobs at the same time.
Launched on May 17 2021, the new scheme will remain open for applications until the end of the year, Pilides said, adding that the scheme has been redesigned taking into account the difficult economic juncture due to the pandemic as well as necessary improvements compared with previous schemes.
According to Pilides the scheme concerns unemployed persons or employees, young male and female persons aged 18-29 years and men between 30 and 50 years and women aged 30 to 55 years.
Eligible applications are those associated with the primary sector, manufacturing and trade in agricultural products, fisheries and aquaculture, wholesale and retail trade of any product and service and those concerning e-Commerce.
Pilides added that the improvements concern merging the two schemes of youth and women’s entrepreneurship aiming to reduce administrative cost and streamlining the management of applications, noting that the eligible men age group was enlarged to 50 years with a view to provide a new opportunity to more men who lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Under the scheme the maximum project amount per application was increased to €120,000, while funding was increased to 70% for male and female applicants up to 29 years and to 60% for male and female applicants from 30 and 50 and 55 respectively.
Furthermore, the grant ceiling was raised to €84,000 for young persons and €70,000 for men and women applicants regardless of the area of investment, Pilides said, adding that applicants for projects in mountainous or handicapped areas will receive additional points, according to the National Plan for the Development of Mountainous Communities.
According to Pilides the scheme provides for additional points for applications in the sectors of smart skills, while the scheme will provide financing for real estate purchase.