Food industry specific call for applications was launched in Hungary to support middle-size food SMEs to invest in manufacturing capacities and technologies.
The EDIOP 1.2.6-8.3.4-16 (“Support for complex investments of medium-sized companies in the food industry with a combined loan product”) call for applications was specifically designed for medium-size food industry companies. The transition to a market economy posed a major challenge for the food and drinks sector, with several sub-sectors falling behind in technology and productivity. Non-specific economic development tenders were often unreachable for food businesses as they could not meet some of the economic requirements of the calls. Based on the feedback from the sector (National Chamber of Agriculture, sectoral associations, SMEs), the EDIOP MA launched a specific call to mitigate this situation and to provide the much needed push to help the industry get back on track. The purpose of the call is to promote the development, role and market position of medium-sized food SME, to support investments leading to job retention, and to reduce regional disparities by supporting complex investments, providing a combination of a non-repayable grant and a soft loan. Investments should increase capacities and improve technological readiness, competitiveness and resource efficiency. Eligible activities are: acquisition of new equipment and machines, development of new technologies and capacities, utilizing renewable energy sources, investment in infrastructure and buildings, acquisition of IT tools and software, production licenses, production know-how acquisition.
The amount of non-refundable grant was 50-750 million HUF, with a loan of 50-2000 million HUF. So far 60 applications were supported accounting for a total of 19,5 billion HUF, or roughly 56 million EUR.
Evidence of success
A high percentage of middle-szied food sector companies were supported in the frame of this scheme (60 successful applications of roughly 270 businesses).
No specific challenges were encountered during the implementation of the scheme.
Potential for learning or transfer
The lessons learnt during the implementation of other financial instruments and the feedback gathered from potential beneficiaries led to the development of a new call, which is in itself is the single most important part of this new scheme – tailored to the needs of a sector that cannot compete with other sectors when on a level field. This kind of flexibility allows reaching not only specific objectives in terms of indicators and numbers, but to react to the needs of the target group thus leading to improved access to European funding.
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