On 06.03.2017 the Development Agency of Serbia announced the Public Call for the participation in the Support Program for Business Start-ups – START UP PROGRAM (hereinafter: Program). This Program is implemented by the Development Agency of Serbia (hereinafter: RAS) in cooperation with regional development agencies (hereinafter: RDA).
The Program is intended for physical persons and business entities which at the moment of applying have not performed business activities longer than two years, to support self-employment and the improvement of business activities of start-up economic entities involved in production, processing and the provision of services. The Program is implemented in the territory of the Republic of Serbia.
Program’s goal is to enable the improvement of efficiency and institutional support for the operation and development of new micro, small and medium-sized businesses (hereinafter: SMEEs) and sole traders as well as the creation of new jobs.
The Support Package: implementation of free trainings, awarding grants and free mentoring service for selected beneficiaries.
Conditions for the participation in the Program
The Program is implemented through two stages, as follows:
• Stage I of the Program – Trainings and
• Stage II of the Program – Grants and Mentoring.
Conditions that have to be cumulatively met for:
Stage I of the Program - Trainings:
for physical persons:
• Citizenship of the Republic of Serbia;
• In previous 12 months the Applicant did not have a registered business activity or a share of more than 50% in the ownership structure of a business entity;
• They have not been convicted according to the data from the criminal records.
SMEEs and sole traders:
• They have a majority local private ownership and are registered in the Business Registers Agency;
• They have paid all public revenues (taxes and contributions);
• They have not been convicted of an economic offense, nor have they been imposed a protective measure of prohibition of activity with a legally binding decision (SMEEs);
• They have not been prohibited from performing business activities according to the offense records (Sole traders);
• There is no registered process of liquidation or bankruptcy, or that the business ceased to exist due to a court decision or other authorities with binding measure.
Stage II of the Program – Grants and Mentoring:
• They completed trainings as planned by the Program;
• They developed a business plan;
• They provided a contribution – at least 30% of the total eligible costs of investment for manufacturing and processing, i.e. at least 50% for services.
The condition for grant and mentoring award for physical persons is the registration of the business entity, i.e. sole trade business in the Business Registers Agency.
Within the period of 12 months from the date of signing the contract with RAS, the founder of the business entity must enter into indefinite employment in that business entity, and if there are more founders, at least one of them must fulfill this condition:
All Selected Beneficiaries will have to:
-operate at least two years from the signing of the contract with RAS, and in that period the disposal of assets is not allowed, as well as reduction of the number of employees entered in the business plan.
All Selected Beneficiaries in service industry will have to:
-employ two more people within the period of 12 months from the signing of the contract with RAS, who will be hired through an employment contract, and they are obligated to operate at least two years from the signing of the contract with RAS, and in that period they are not allowed to dispose the assets or reduce the number of employees.
In the business plan, applicants must elaborate the business idea they submitted in the Stage I of the Program. In case the applicant decides to change the business idea during the trainings or the consulting process, they must submit a request for the change of business idea with an explanation to the Committee for consideration.
The procurement of fixed assets, as well as supplies and raw materials, which will be financed with the Program funds, must not be initiated or realized before the signing of the contract with RAS.
Number of applications per applicant and other notes
The applicant can only submit one application for participation in the Program.
RAS will not sign the contract with the Applicant if it has been determined that during the application, assessment, selection or contracting process the Applicant is:
- is involved in the conflict of interest;
- provided false information or did not provide all the necessary information required by RAS, and which are the requirements for participation in the Public Call;
- is the Selected Beneficiary of the Support Program for Business Start-ups from 2016.
Purpose of grants
Eligible project activities
• Procurement of fixed assets;
• Adaptation and/or reconstruction of business premises;
• Procurement of supplies and raw materials up to 20% of the net project value.
Funds from the program cannot be used to finance:
• Organization of games of chance, lotteries and similar activities;
• Production or trade of any product or activity considered forbidden according to the national regulations or international conventions and agreements;
• Trade of oil and oil derivatives;
• Primary agricultural production;
• Any type of trading or catering activity;
• Activities related to political parties.
The deadline for implementation of all activities and payments related to the activities realized by the Selected Beneficiary, and the delivery of documents that must be submitted after the finalization of project activities is 6 months from the signing of the contract with RAS.
Eligible costs are costs actually incurred by the Selected Beneficiary, under the condition that:
the costs incurred during the project implementation;
the costs are included in the planned project budget;
The costs are necessary for the implementation of project activities;
the costs are measurable and registered in accordance with the valid accounting standards;
the costs are reasonable and in accordance with the financial management requirements, especially in terms of cost-effectiveness and efficiency;
the cited costs are not covered by other sources of financing (double financing is not allowed).
The program funds the purchase costs of fixed assets, adaptation and/or reconstruction of business premises, supplies and raw materials that are the subject of the Contract, and that are realized after the signing of the Contract with RAS.
Fixed assets in the context of this program include: buildings (in accordance with the purpose of the project), plants, machinery and equipment, which are considered to be eligible costs of investments if they are used exclusively by the Selected Beneficiary, and those can include:
• Investment in the purchase of machinery and equipment (at the time of publishing of the Public Call the equipment must not be older than 5 years, and it must be purchased from a registered business entity);
• Putting into operation the work area and/or work process (which involves the renovation and/or reconstruction of the production/working area of the registered business entity).
The beneficiary’s contribution may be in cash, buildings, plant, machinery and equipment, which are recognized if they are owned by the Selected Beneficiary. Selected Beneficiaries must also provide funds in the amount of VAT from the invoice, i.e. the amount of VAT can be introduced as a part of the contribution of the Selected Beneficiary.
In the case of procurement of production equipment from abroad, the net value expressed in foreign currency on the pro-forma invoice/preliminary contract, is calculated at the middle rate of the National Bank of Serbia on the day of grant application. All possible exchange rate differences later in the process, in case of purchase of equipment from abroad, shall be borne by the potential beneficiary.
Grants cannot be used for:
arrears from duties and taxes, loans and loan installments;
the cost of guarantees, insurance, interest, costs of banking operations, foreign exchange differences;
fines, financial penalties and costs of legal proceedings;
costs related to the purchase of equipment, such as: customs and administrative costs, transport costs, freight forwarding, storage and handling, assembly and installation of equipment, training and others;
costs of enforced collection;
The total available funds for the implementation of the Program amount to 120,000,000.00 dinars.
The amount of grants
The funds are awarded in the amount of up to 1,000,000 dinars without VAT, which is 70% of the total net value of eligible project costs for production activities and activities of processing, i.e. 50% for services.
The Selected Beneficiary is obliged to provide its own contribution of minimum 30% of the total net value of eligible project costs for production activities and activities of processing, i.e. minimum of 50% for services.
Required documents to be submitted
The documents which are obligatory for the application for the participation in the Program are:
1. In Stage I of the Program - Trainings:
for physical persons:
• Form 1 – Application (completed and signed application with the description of business idea);
• Form 2 – Statement on Accepting the Conditions of the Public Call (signed);
• Form 3 – Statement (a signed statement that inn previous 12 months the Applicant did not have a registered business activity or a share of more than 50% in the ownership structure of a business);
• Certificate of Citizenship (issued within the period of six months from the date of announcing the Public Call, an original or a copy);
• Printed listing of the identity card;
• Certificate that the applicant has not been convicted according to the data from the criminal records which must not be issued before the date of announcement of the Public Call (issued by the Ministry of Interior Affairs, an original or a photocopy);
• Optional: Recommendations or letter of intent by future cooperation partners.
For SMEEs and entrepreneurs:
• Form 1 - Application (completed, signed and stamped with the description of business idea)
• Form 2 - Statement on Accepting the Conditions of the Public Call (signed and stamped);
• Form 3 – Statement on Awarded State Aid of Small Value (de minimis state aid);
• Certificate from the relevant tax administration that all public revenues have been paid (taxes and contributions) which must not be issued before the date of announcement of the Public Call (an original or a photocopy);
• Certificate that they have not been convicted of an economic offense, nor have they been imposed a protective measure of prohibition of activity with a legally binding decision, which must not be issued before the date of announcement of the Public Call (issued by the Commercial Court for SMEEs (an original or a photocopy);
• Certificate that there have they been imposed a protective measure of prohibition of activity according to the offense records, which must not be issued before the date of announcement of the Public Call (issued by the Misdemeanor Court for sole traders, an original or a photocopy);
• Optional: Letter of recommendation or letter of intent by future cooperation partners.
In Stage II of the Program – Grants and Mentoring:
• Form 4 – Grant Application;
• Form 5 – Business Plan;
• Pro-forma invoice/preliminary contract/offer with a specification of fixed assets and/or supplies and/or raw materials for which the application is submitted, not older than the date of announcement of the Public Call;
• A proof of provided contribution of the applicant (e.g. contracts, invoices, account statement, etc.).
Photocopy of the Certificate of the Registration of Business Activity for all Selected Beneficiaries – physical persons, is submitted before signing of the contract with RAS.
After the contract signing, the selected beneficiaries submit:
• a request for payment of approved funds;
• a stamped and signed blank promissory note, bill of exchange authorization and a copy of the application for registration of the promissory note,
• a photocopy of the deposited signatures,
• as well as additional documents, depending on the purpose of the grant.
RAS reserves the right, if necessary, to request additional documents from the Beneficiary, but only for complete applications.
Method of application and the deadline for submission of the documents
The Public Call is open for the period of 60 days from the day of announcement, until 05.05.2017.
You can obtain further information on the conditions of the participation in this Public Call in the Manual for implementation of the support Program for business start-ups – START-UP PROGRAM. All supporting documents are in RDA in printed and electronic formats.
Incomplete applications will not be considered. Applications sent directly to the RAS address will be disqualified.
Applications for Stage I of the Program with the required documents in two copies (original and photocopy) are to be submitted by post or in person at the address of the nearest RDA. You can see the list of Regional development agencies HERE.
Applications for Stage II of the Program are submitted to the RDA address. Applicants are obliged to submit the Business Plan with supporting documents for Stage II of the Program within 15 days from the last day of the training or it will be understood that they withdrew from further participation in the Program.
RAS will inform all participants of Stage II of the Program on the results of selection, in written form, within 20 days from the day of the adoption of the final decision.