EU announces Call for Proposals for “Central Asia Invest V”

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Deadline: 24 June 2019

The European Union (EU) has announced a call for proposals for its “Central Asia (CA) Invest V” to boost investments, the development of the private sector and the economic diversification in CA, via encouraging the growth and expansion of Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs).

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The specific objective of this Call for Proposals is to reinforce the role and the competences of Central Asian Business Intermediary Organisations, specifically with regard to their capacity to support and offer services to MSMEs and to influence policies in their favour, in order to increase MSMEs competitiveness on domestic and international markets. The call will contribute also to increase the professional capacities of entrepreneurs and job seekers, both women and men, in order to stimulate job creation and MSME development.

Priorities

The priorities of this call for proposals are:

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  • Priority 1: Actions focused on supporting MSMEs access to finance, with particular emphasis on:
    • Financial literacy initiatives
    • Financial instruments involving banks
    • Alternative financial instruments
    • Green financing portfolio
    • EU-supported instruments
  • Priority 2: Actions addressing business, tax regulation and informal economy with focus on:
    • Advocacy and awareness raising
    • Procedures
    • Business formalisation
  • Priority 3: Actions focused on the promotion of intra-regional and international trade. Actions should aim, among others, to:
    • Customs
    • Standards, marketing, logistics
  • Priority 4: Actions focused on increasing professional capacities of entrepreneurs and job seekers, both women and men, in order to stimulate job creation and MSMEs development:
    • Help develop BIOs’ capacities to identify, advocate and represent MSMEs interests;
    • Support BIOs competencies and structure to provide training and skill development activities to their members; help provide managerial, entrepreneurial and technical knowledge to MSMEs. This might include seminars/training activities (team management, financial management, value chain competitiveness, marketing, new business models, circular economy, and sustainable production), advice on specific subjects (support MSMEs in the integration in the global value chains by responding to ethical, social and environmental standards, change management, certification of goods, Corporate Social Responsibility), internships in EU companies, access to finance, innovation. Provide capacity building to job seekers, both women and men. This might include seminars/training activities on entrepreneurship (how to write a business plan, how to set up a company, new business models, circular economy, start-up initiatives), on employment (training on building knowledge and practical skills to access the labour market), as well as support to youth and minorities.

The major target groups of the proposed projects are:

  • Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs. Large companies are not identified as beneficiaries of the programme, but engagement with them (e.g. retailers committed to sustainable sourcing) are encouraged;
  • Business intermediaries and service providers (e.g. industry associations, chambers of commerce, clusters and MSMEs organisations, retailers, financial institutions, research centres, etc.);
  • Entrepreneurs and job seekers, both women and men, will be supported in order to reinforce their skills and capacities to create business opportunities and respond to market needs;
  • Trade federations and workers associations;
  • Consumer organisations and consumer groups who will benefit from better-quality and environmentally friendly products.

Funding Information

Any grant requested under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:

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  • minimum amount: EUR 800.000
  • maximum amount: EUR 1.100.000

Eligibility Criteria

  • Lead applicant
    • In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must:
      • be a legal person and
      • be a specific type of organisation such as: (i) Business intermediaries representing Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and promoting trade and investment between Europe and Central Asia. This includes, inter alia: chambers of commerce, sector-specific trade, industrial and professional associations, regulatory bodies and agencies promoting trade, investment and commercial activities as well as sector-based agencies working with MSMEs, companies specialised in supporting the growth of organizations through innovation, international cooperation, digital transformation and access to funding or (ii) Public agencies (typically boards of investment, trade promotion agencies etc.) at regional and local level, which are not directly or strictly related to the governments and
      • be established in a Member State of the European Union or in other countries eligible under the DCI Regulation and as stipulated in Art. 9 of the Common Implementation Rules (CIR). For a list of eligible countries under DCI Regulation please consult Annex L to the Guidelines “Eligibility programmes 2014-2020” (This obligation does not apply to international organisations) or in any of the following eligible Central Asian countries: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and
      • be directly responsible for the preparation and management of the action with the co-applicant(s) and affiliated entity(ies), not acting as an intermediary.
    • For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant. Unless sector-specific eligibility rules provide otherwise , if the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, applicants will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible to participate) or will be required to leave the project on the basis of Article [insert reference to the Article allowing termination of the grant agreement (change of the legal situation of the beneficiary)] of the grant agreement.
    • The lead applicant must act with co-applicant(s) as specified hereafter.
    • The partnerships (lead applicant + co-applicant(s)/affiliated entity(ies) have to include at least one organisation from a Member State of the European Union AND at least one organisation from an eligible Central Asian country described under the lead applicant criteria.
  • Co-applicant(s)
    • Co-applicants participate in designing and implementing the action, and the costs they incur are eligible in the same way as those incurred by the lead applicant.
    • Co-applicants must satisfy the eligibility criteria as applicable to the lead applicant himself.
  • Affiliated entities
    • The lead applicant and its co-applicant(s) may act with affiliated entity(ies).
    • Only the following entities may be considered as affiliated entities to the lead applicant and/or to co-applicant(s):
      • Only entities having a structural link with the applicants (i.e. the lead applicant or a co-applicant), in particular a legal or capital link.
      • This structural link encompasses mainly two notions:
        • Control, as defined in Directive 2013/34/EU on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings:
          • Entities affiliated to an applicant may hence be:
            • Entities directly or indirectly controlled by the applicant (daughter companies or first-tier subsidiaries). They may also be entities controlled by an entity controlled by the applicant (granddaughter companies or second-tier subsidiaries) and the same applies to further tiers of control;
            • Entities directly or indirectly controlling the applicant (parent companies). Likewise, they may be entities controlling an entity controlling the applicant;
            • Entities under the same direct or indirect control as the applicant (sister companies).
        • Membership, i.e. the applicant is legally defined as a e.g. network, federation, association in which the proposed affiliated entities also participate or the applicant participates in the same entity (e.g. network, federation, association) as the proposed affiliated entities.

How to Apply

In order to apply for the grants, applicants have to register themselves in PADOR, an on-line database via given website.

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For more information, please visit https://bit.ly/2Gqjw56 and download the guidelines.

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