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Enhancing the participation of women entrepreneurs in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument - 245/G/GRO/PPA/16/9386
Deadline: 06 Apr 2017   CALL EXPIRED

EU logo mono EC - Growth

 Entrepreneurship and SMEs
 Start Up
 Web-Entrepreneurship
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 Gender Equality
 Horizon2020

1. CONTEXT 

1.1. The need for women particpation in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument 

Provided with about € 3 billion in funding over the period 2014-2020, the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument helps high-potential SMEs to develop groundbreaking innovative ideas for products, services or processes that are ready to face global market competition. The SME instrument supports close-to-market activities, with the aim to give a strong boost to breakthrough innovation. Highly innovative SMEs with a clear commercial ambition and a potential for high growth and internationalization are the prime target. 

The SME Instrument offers small and medium-sized businesses: 

(1) Business innovation grants for feasibility assessment purposes (Phase I) 

(2) Business innovation grants for innovation development & demonstration purposes (possible phase II); 

(3) Free-of-charge business coaching to the beneficiaries, in order to support and enhance the firm’s innovation capacity and help align the project to strategic business needs; 

(4) Access to a wide range of innovation support services and facilitated access to risk finance (mostly in optional phase III), to facilitate the commercial exploitation of the innovation 

 

Participants can be single SME or a consortium of SMEs, legally established in the EU-28 or in a country associated to Horizon 2020. Other partners, such as research providers or larger companies, can be involved as third parties, usually in a subcontracting relationship, and do not necessarily need to be established in the EU or countries associated to Horizon 2020. Target companies are highly innovative firms that are ambitious and have the potential to develop, grow and have a European or international impact. 

There is no structured data available on women participation in the SME Instrument, but based on a search using large definition criteria for "Women entrepreneurs", EASME identified about 11% of the submitted proposals related to women. Non-empirical data suggests that when establishing and running a business women entrepreneurs still face various challenges such as access to finance, to information, to training and to networks for business purposes1

1 https://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/promoting-entrepreneurship/we-work-for/women_en 

The objective of this pilot project is therefore to raise the awareness on the potential of the SME Instrument for women entrepreneurs via information events, advice and coaching women entrepreneurs to better prepare them for successful participation in the SME Instrument. 5 

 

1.2. The EU actions to support Women Entrepreneurship 

The key European initiative aimed at reigniting the culture of entrepreneurship is the entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan. The Action Plan is a blueprint for decisive action to unleash Europe's entrepreneurial potential, to remove existing obstacles and to revolutionise Europe's entrepreneurship culture. Investments in changing the public perception of entrepreneurs, in entrepreneurship education and in supporting groups that are underrepresented among entrepreneurs are indispensable in order to create lasting change. Entrepreneurial activity in Europe can only thrive in the long term if a large number of Europeans recognise an entrepreneurial career to be a rewarding and attractive option. 

The Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan is built on three main pillars: 

1) Entrepreneurial education and training 

2) Creation of an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish and grow, and 

3) Developing role models and reaching out to specific groups whose entrepreneurial potential is not being tapped into to its fullest extent or who are not reached by traditional business support outreach. 

Under action pillar 3, women are one of the specific groups identified as not sufficiently exploiting their potential or not being reached as effectively by traditional business support measures. This leads to the following EU actions to support and promote women entrepreneurship: 

The European network to promote Women's Entrepreneurship (WES): 

The WES is a policy network with members from 31 European countries (the EU-28, Iceland, Norway and Turkey). It is composed of government representatives responsible for promoting women entrepreneurship. WES members provide advice, information and contacts regarding national support measures for Women Entrepreneurs. They also help in identifying good practices and future policy direction to the European Commission. 

The European network of Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors: 

Female Entrepreneurship Ambassadors are successful entrepreneurs campaigning to inspire women of all ages to become entrepreneurs. The Ambassadors help to raise the confidence necessary for setting up and creating successful businesses. They act as role models, inspiring other women to become entrepreneurs by telling their own stories. The Network, which was supported by European Commission's grants until 2012, consists of around 360 entrepreneurs in 22 European countries who act as ambassadors across Europe. 

The European Network of Mentors for Women Entrepreneurs: 

Mentors provide advice and support to female entrepreneurs on the start-up, running, and growth of enterprises in the early phase of their business' life (the second to the fourth year of existence). The Network was supported by European Commission grants until 2013 and has around 200 mentors in 17 European countries. 

The WEgate : the European E-Platform for Women Entrepreneurship

The main initiative of the Entrepreneurship Action Plan targeting women is the creation of an on-line, Europe-wide E-Platform for women entrepreneurs (WEgate). WEgate is a one-stop shop for women of all ages who want to start, run and grow a business. The platform should facilitate access to available training, mentoring, advice, information on how to start-up and grow a business, how to access funding, new markets and partners. It also provides business networking 6 

 

opportunities for women. It shall bring together local, national and European stakeholders and facilitate the exchange of good practices and policy dialogue about women entrepreneurship. 

The e-platform was official launched on September 30th 2016. 

Synergies and cooperation with these EU actions as well as with women entrepreneurship initiatives at the local/regional level should be sought to effectively reach the women entrepreneurs target group. 

1.3. The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) as integrated services provider for SMEs 

Enterprise Europe Network partners help businesses at all stages of their lifecycle to increase their competitiveness in the Single Market and beyond. The Network provides a wide range of services helping SMEs to access market information, overcome legal obstacles and identify potential business and technology partners across COSME participating countries and beyond. Network partners advise SMEs on funding opportunities, innovation services and encourage them to participate in the Horizon 2020 programme. 

As Key Account Managers (KAM) network partners play an important role in the implementation of the SME Instrument by making an assessment of the innovation management capacity (with respect to the supported project) of the beneficiaries of the SME Instrument and help identify suitable coaches based on an assessment of weaknesses in innovation management. Coaching is only provided to those SMEs which have been awarded an SME instrument project. 

The Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group is the first Network's horizontal Group, launched in early 2013, as a further initiative of the Commission to improve the framework conditions for woman entrepreneurship which includes also other EU initiatives as indicated before. The group considers woman entrepreneurship as an economic issue and an under-exploited economic resource and intends to make use of all appropriate services of the Network in order to help woman entrepreneurs develop their businesses. 

The Sector Group has developed a range of methodologies to ensure regular contacts and strong cooperation with other Sector Groups as their results depend to a large extent on an efficient collaboration with the other Sector Groups. The activities and approach used are of a relatively general nature and can therefore also be used by other Sector Groups in order to better exploit synergies and increase the number of cross-sectoral activities. 

The group's strategic approach2 for cooperation with other Sector Groups includes: 

2 Woman Entrepreneurship Group Strategic approaches to facilitate an efficient collaboration with Sector Groups 

Identifying suitable clients 

 

Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group members are encouraged to identify woman entrepreneurs as potential clients to participate in events and partnering activities carried out in cooperation with other Sector Groups. 

Definition of contact people for all Sector Groups 

 

The Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group has nominated contact persons to maintain a regular dialogue with the other Sector Groups. They keep each other updated about the respective activities and explore possibilities for cooperation (such as joint events, promotion of profiles, contribution to each other’s events, etc.). Cross-sector contacts are also maintained at SG chair level. 

“Double agents” 

 

Members of the Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group who are also members of another Sector Group have been identified to facilitate the exchange of information and/or collaboration between the SGs. These “double agents” act as networking link between the groups and as a channel of communication for relevant news/information on the latest developments – including changes in the rolling plan – in their respective SGs. 

Provision and dissemination of profiles 

 

The Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group will try to match the profiles of its clients (i.e. woman entrepreneurs) with existing requests/offers from other SGs where the nominated contact persons in the WEG for the other SGs as well as “double agents” will play a central role. They will also gather profiles of woman entrepreneurs from specific sectors in order to link them up with profiles and events of other SGs. 

Joint brokerage events and company missions 

 

The Women Entrepreneurship Sector Group contributes to the events of other Sector Groups by recruiting woman entrepreneurs for brokerage events and company missions organised by other SGs. Similarly, the WEG identifies events addressing woman entrepreneurs with a view to organising “fringe” brokerage / partnering activities that could involve other Sector Groups. 

Provision of information 

 

In collaboration with the respective chairpersons, the Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group is willing to provide regional and / or sectoral information about the state of women entrepreneurship in the respective context to other Sector Groups which could lead to significant synergies and new opportunities for partnering. 

Exchanging knowledge and expertise 

 

Members of the Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group are keen to meet members from other Sector Groups who are interested in learning more about how they involve woman entrepreneurship issues in EEN activities and how they target woman entrepreneurs. 

Members of the Woman Entrepreneurship Sector Group together with SME Instrument KAMs and other EEN staff are especially well placed to use their experience and best practices to implement this pilot project. 

The EEN services addressed to the target group as part of this pilot project will be distinctive and additional to those provided by the Network as part of their grant agreements already in place and financed by the COSME programme. 8 

 

2. OBJECTIVE OF THE CALL 

2.1. General objective 

For the purpose of this pilot project, EEN partners in countries from the EU need to raise the awareness, promote the possibilities and identify women entrepreneurs leading innovative companies on their potential participation in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument calls for proposals. 

They will need to link-up with local and regional stakeholders, their own host organisations and other EU or national initiatives supporting women entrepreneurship (as described under 1.2) to effectively identify and support these companies, build a relationship and, as a first approach, introduce EEN services, including participation in the Horizon 2020 programme, along different phases in the development of the companies as they grow. As part of the action, they will identify and assess those innovative women entrepreneurs with a potential to successfully participate in the SME Instrument and guide them through the process. 

Participating EEN organisations shall take the opportunity to promote EEN services in general to the target group and the participation in the SME Instrument specifically. EEN services can be further detailed and followed-up via internal signposting in the consortium to help the women entrepreneurs addressed, in particular those who are not qualifying for the SME Instrument. The provisioning of these EEN services is however part of the grant agreements already in place, and financed by the COSME programme. 

The purpose of this call is to select consortia with EEN partners from at least 4 EU member states. 

2.2. Specific objectives 

WP1. IDENTIFYING AND MAPPING THE TARGET GROUP 

Selected consortia are expected to develop a methodology on how to identify and reach out to women entrepreneurs that have the potential to successfully apply for funding via the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument. This shall include an initial assessment of the capacity to submit a successful project. 

Applicants should demonstrate in their proposal how they plan to cooperate with relevant local and regional stakeholders and other networks that are not part of their consortium with particular attention to Women Entrepreneurs associations, start-up and growth support structures, etc. 

Furthermore they are required to collaborate with and make links to the various existing EU initiatives in this area, as described under 1.2. 

Consortia should provide details on the methodology used and the stakeholders identified in the regions they cover. 9 

 

WP2. RAISING AWARENESS OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS 

The consortia should develop a strategy on how to raise the awareness of their target group on 

 the EEN services available to them in general 

 the specific requirements and level of readiness needed for participation in the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument 

 the opportunities for participating in the SME Instrument, the potential partnerships and the related support services provided by the EEN Key Account Managers (KAM) and coaches to beneficiaries. 

 

Within this strategy the consortia should describe which means they would like to use to reach the above mentioned goal, for example through awareness raising events, mailings, social media, etc. The consortia are expected to use means and channels of communication that are targeted and adapted to the needs of women entrepreneurs. 

In this first step the target group shall be provided with information on a rather generic level, which shall be followed-up by more specific advisory services as mentioned under specific objective 3. 

The consortia should provide details on the awareness raising strategies and tools used. 

WP3. PROVIDING TRAINING, ADVISE AND MENTORING 

The provision of advisory services for Women entrepreneurs on how to successfully apply for the SME Instrument under Horizon 2020 is seen as a core issue of this call. 

To that end consortia should provide a detailed plan of training, advice and mentoring for the target group as a follow-up to the rather general information provided as described under specific objective 2. Participants should be selected based on their potential and innovative project's readiness to minimize the risk of low quality proposals. 

Building on the experience of the KAM, the consortia should foresee group coaching for women entrepreneurs on how to improve the quality of the proposals and to prepare well for submitting successfully and obtaining a grant. (from the EU or eventual seal of excellence programmes) 

Consortia can use the EEN partnership database to help women entrepreneurs participate in case of multi-partner SME Instrument projects. 

Women entrepreneurs that do eventually not qualify for submitting an application for funding under the SME Instrument shall nevertheless have the opportunity to be supported by the general EEN services. The provisioning of these EEN services is however part of the grant agreements already in place and financed by the COSME programme. 

The consortia should provide details on their planning to provide training, advice and mentoring. 10 

 

WP4. SHARING GOOD PRACTICES AND LESSONS LEARNED 

Successful applications are expected to propose effective ways of peer-learning and set-up a mentoring service by women entrepreneurs that have successfully applied for the SME Instrument. 

Besides, the consortia should ensure that lessons learned by carrying out these projects will be shared with other EEN partners, in particular on how women entrepreneurs can be enabled to participate more successfully in the SME Instrument. 

The consortia should identify and share good practises and success stories and use them for peer-to-peer learning and mentoring between participants. For this purpose the already existing EEN templates for good practises and success stories description can be used. 

The above description of tasks should be considered as an indication of the type of activities that the Commission wishes to support and of desired results. It will be a responsibility of each applicant to propose the best ways to reach the objectives of this call. 

Activities proposed in these technical specifications can be adapted and innovative solutions are encouraged and can be proposed, provided that the working method is clearly explained and justified and will lead to reaching the goals set out in this call for proposals. 

Deliverables 

This call for proposals is expected to result in producing four (4) reports covering the periods listed in I.4.1 of the grant agreement (submitted in English): 

• 3 interim technical implementation reports. 

• 1 final technical implementation report. This report will include all deliverables, a final evaluation of project activities, lessons learnt and recommendations for the future, and a financial statement including a consolidated statement and a breakdown between each beneficiary: within 2 months following the closing date of the action. 

Indicators: 

The success of this pilot project launched by the European Commission will be measured by: 

 the number of women entrepreneurs that were reached by the awareness raising measures 

 the number of women entrepreneurs that attended the trainings, group coachings and received advice on how to better prepare for a successful application 

 the number of proposals submitted by women entrepreneurs as a result from the above mentioned support activities 

 the number of good practises and success stories as a result of this pilot project that could eventually lead to the mainstreaming of these services 

Successful applicants are expected to report on the above indicators. 

Applicants should explain clearly in their proposal how they intend to make the activity a success according to the above criteria. 

 

3. TIMETABLE 

Scheduled start-up date for the action: September 2017 

Maximum duration of action is: 24 months 

No applications will be accepted for projects scheduled to run for a longer period than that specified in this call for proposals. 

The period of eligibility of costs will start at the earliest on the day the agreement is signed by the last of the parties. If a beneficiary can demonstrate the need to start the action before the agreement is signed, the expenditure may be eligible as from a date before the agreement is signed. Under no circumstances can the eligibility period start before the date of submission of the grant application.

 

a)  Publication of the call 

December 2016 

b)  Deadline for submitting applications 

06 April 2017 

17:00 Brussels time 

c)  Information to applicants 

July 2017 

d)  Signature of grant agreement or notification of grant decision 

September 2017 

e)  Starting date of the action/ work programme 

September 2017 

 

4. EU FINANCING 

Maximum budget allocated for EU financing under this call: € 500.000 

Indicative number of projects:

Maximum EU financing rate of eligible costs: 90% 

Maximum EU financing amount per project: € 250.000 

Proposals with an EU co-financing beyond any of the above two maxima will not be eligible. 

The Commission reserves the right to award a grant of less than the amount requested by the applicant. In such a case, applicants will be asked either to increase their co-financing, propose other co-financing means or to decrease the total costs without altering the substance of the proposal. Grants will not be awarded for more than the amount requested. 

Publication of the call (on the Commission Internet site and/or in the Official Journal) does not guarantee the availability of funds for the above action. 

4.1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EU FUNDING 

Non-cumulative award 

Each action may give rise to the award of only one grant from the budget to any one beneficiary. 

In no circumstances shall the same costs be financed twice by the Union budget. 

Applicants have to inform the Commission immediately of any multiple applications and multiple grants relating to the same action. The applicant shall inform about sources and amounts of EU funding received or applied for the same action or for part of the action. Applicants shall indicate if they receive EU funding for their functioning during the financial year in which the action takes place. 

Non-retroactivity 

No grant may be awarded retrospectively for actions already completed. 

A grant may be awarded for an action which has already begun, provided the applicant can demonstrate the need to start the action before the grant agreement is signed. In such cases, costs eligible for financing may not have been incurred prior to the date of submission of the grant application. 

Co-financing 

Grants shall involve co-financing, which implies that the resources necessary to carry out the action or the work programme shall not be provided entirely by EU contribution. EU financing may not cover 100% of the total costs of the action. 

Co-financing of the action or of the work programme may take the form of: 

 the beneficiary's own resources, 

 income generated by the action or work programme, 

 financial contributions from third parties. 

 

Non-profit rule 

EU grant may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the work programme of the beneficiary. 

Where a profit is made, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred. For this purpose, profit shall be defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred, when the request for payment of the balance is made. 

Balanced budget 

The estimated budget of the action or work programme is to be attached to the application form. It must have revenue and expenditure in balance. 

The budget must be drawn up in euros. 

Applicants, who foresee that costs will not be incurred in euros, are invited to use the exchange rate published on the Infor-euro website available at http://ec.europa.eu/budget/contracts_grants/info_contracts/inforeuro/inforeuro_en.cfm. 

4.2. ELIGIBLE COSTS 

In order be eligible for funding, costs should be actually incurred by the beneficiary and meet the following criteria: 

 they are incurred during the duration of the action or work programme, as indicated in the grant agreement, with the exception of costs relating to the request for payment of the balance and the corresponding supporting documents (audit certificates); 

 

 they are indicated in the estimated budget of the action or work programme; 

 

 they are necessary for the implementation of the action or of the work programme, in accordance with the description of the action, attached to the grant agreement; 

 

 they are identifiable and verifiable, in particular being recorded in the accounting records of the beneficiary and determined according to the applicable accounting standards of the country where the beneficiary is established and according to the usual cost accounting practices of the beneficiary; 

 

 they comply with the requirements of applicable tax and social legislation; 

 

 they are reasonable, justified, and comply with the principle of sound financial management, in particular regarding economy and efficiency. 

 

The beneficiary's internal accounting and auditing procedures must permit direct reconciliation of the costs and revenue declared in respect of the action/project with the corresponding accounting statements and supporting documents. 

 

 

Please note that the exact scope of the eligibility of costs is defined by the grant agreement, which will be signed with the successful applicants. 

4.2.1. Eligible direct costs 

Direct costs of the action are those specific costs which are directly linked to the implementation of the action and can therefore be attributed directly to it. They shall not include any eligible indirect costs. 

The following categories of costs can be considered as eligible direct costs: 

 the costs of personnel working under an employment contract with the beneficiary or an equivalent appointing act and assigned to the action, comprising actual salaries plus social security contributions and other statutory costs included in the remuneration, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual policy on remuneration. Those costs may also include additional remunerations, including payments on the basis of supplementary contracts regardless of the nature of those contracts, provided that they are paid in a consistent manner whenever the same kind of work or expertise is required, independently from the source of funding used. 

 

 salary costs of the personnel of national administrations to the extent that they relate to the cost of activities which the relevant public authority would not carry out if the project concerned were not undertaken. 

 

 costs of travel and related subsistence allowances, provided that these costs are in line with the beneficiary's usual practices on travel; 

 

 the depreciation costs of equipment or other assets (new or second-hand) as recorded in the accounting statements of the beneficiary, provided that the asset has been purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts and that it is written off in accordance with the international accounting standards and the usual accounting practices of the beneficiary 

 

 

 costs of consumables and supplies, provided that they are purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts; 

 

 costs arising directly from requirements imposed by the grant agreement (dissemination of information, specific evaluation of the action, audits, translations, reproduction), including the costs of requested financial guarantees, provided that the corresponding services are purchased in accordance with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts; 

 

 costs entailed by subcontracts, concluded for the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action or workproramme as described in the proposal, provided that the conditions with the conditions applicable to implementation contracts are met; 

 

 costs of financial support to third parties, in accordance with the conditions set by the grant agreement for such financing; 

 duties, taxes and charges paid by the beneficiary, provided that they are included in eligible direct costs, and unless specified otherwise in the Agreement. 

 

 costs relating to a pre-financing guarantee lodged by the beneficiary of the grant, where that guarantee is a condition for the payment of a pre-financing; 

 

4.2.2. Eligible indirect costs 

A flat-rate amount of 7% of the total eligible direct costs of the action is eligible under indirect costs, representing the beneficiary's general administrative costs which can be regarded as chargeable to the action/project. 

Indirect costs may not include costs entered under another budget heading. 

Indirect costs are not eligible for beneficiaries that receive an operating grant from the European Commission. 

4.2.3. Non-eligible costs 

In addition to any other costs which do not fulfill the conditions set out in Article II.19.1, the following costs shall not be considered eligible: 

 return on capital; 

 debt and debt service charges; 

 provisions for losses or debts; 

 interest owed; 

 doubtful debts; 

 exchange losses; 

 costs of transfers from the Commission charged by the bank of a beneficiary; 

 costs declared by the beneficiary in the framework of another action receiving a grant financed from the Union budget (including grants awarded by a Member State and financed from the Union budget and grants awarded by other bodies than the Commission for the purpose of implementing the Union budget); 

 in particular, indirect costs shall not be eligible under a grant for an action awarded to a beneficiary which already receives an operating grant financed from the Union budget during the period in question; 

 contributions in kind from third parties; 

 excessive or reckless expenditure; 

 deductible VAT. 

 participation by any staff of the institutions in actions receiving grants 

 any other costs which have been specified as ineligible in the call for proposal 

 

In addition to the above, the Commission can refuse to finance certain costs included in the proposal. The beneficiary can decide to maintain and finance these costs out of his own resources, but they will not be taken into account as eligible costs. 

4.3. CO-FINANCING AND JOINT AND SEVERAL RESPONSIBILITY 

The beneficiary has to supply evidence of the co-financing provided. It can be provided either by way of own resources, or in the form of financial transfers from third parties. 

In case of a joint application, all partners shall agree upon appropriate arrangements between themselves for the proper performance of the action. 

In particular, the beneficiaries are jointly and severally liable for repaying any debt under the grant agreement up to the maximum amount of the grant. The beneficiaries are also jointly and severally liable for interest on late payment, when applicable. 

In particular, they shall accept joint and several responsibility up to the value of the contribution that the beneficiary held liable is entitled to receive, as stipulated in the General Conditions of the draft grant agreement. 

The final grant agreement shall be signed by each applicant. Alternatively it shall be signed by the appointed co-ordinator, provided that a power of attorney has been conferred to this entity (Annex IV of the draft grant agreement). 

4.4. IMPLEMENTATION CONTRACTS/SUBCONTRACTING 

Where the implementation of the action or the work programme requires the use of contracts (implementation contracts), the beneficiary must ensure that the contract is awarded to the bid offering best value for money or the lowest price (as appropriate), avoiding conflicts of interests and retain the documentation for the event of an audit. 

Entities acting in their capacity of contracting authorities shall abide by the applicable national public procurement rules, in the meaning of Directive 2014/24/EU on the coordination of procedures for the award of public work contracts, public supply contracts and public service contracts or contracting entities in the meaning of Directive 2014/25/EU coordinating the procurement procedures of entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors. 

Sub-contracting for the purpose of the action 

Sub-contracting refers to contracts concluded for the externalisation of specific tasks or activities which form part of the action or work programme as described in the proposal. Such contracts must satisfy the conditions applicable to any implementation contract and, in addition, the following conditions: 

 Subcontracting may only cover the implementation of a limited part of the action up to 50% of the eligible costs. 

 It must be justified having regard to the nature of the action and what is necessary for its implementation; 

 The proposal should clearly identify the subcontracted activities 

 

Subcontracting does not in any way limit the responsibility of beneficiaries for the implementation of the action. Please note that the beneficiary(ies) should have the necessary capacity to perform the project. Only tasks that are not core business can be sub-contracted to consultants. 

It is not necessary to have already selected subcontractors at the time the proposal is submitted. However, cost of contractors not selected in accordance with the applicable rules for procurement will not be eligible. 

4.5. FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THIRD PARTIES 

The applications may not envisage provision of financial support to third parties. 

4.6. FINAL GRANT AND PAYMENT ARRANGEMENTS 

The draft grant agreement annexed to this call for proposals specifies the calculation of the final grant and the payment arrangements. 

Your attention is in particular drawn to the General Conditions of the grant agreement, where the eligibility of costs is described. Detailed explanations and a description how costs should be budgeted and reported can be found in the Guide for Applicants. 

EU grant may not have the purpose or effect of producing a profit within the framework of the action of the work programme of the beneficiary. Where a profit is made, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred. For this purpose, profit is defined as a surplus of the receipts over the eligible costs incurred by the beneficiary, when the request is made for payment of the balance. Where such a surplus occurs, the Commission is entitled to recover the percentage of the profit corresponding to the EU contribution to the eligible costs actually incurred by the beneficiary. 

The Commission may require the beneficiary to lodge a guarantee for grants exceeding € 60 000, based on a risk analysis. 

In the event that the applicant's financial capacity is not satisfactory, a pre-financing guarantee for up to the same amount as the pre-financing may be requested in order to limit the financial risks linked to the pre-financing payment. 

The financial guarantee, in euro, shall be provided by an approved bank or financial institution established in one of the Member State of the European Union. When the beneficiary is established in a third country, the authorising officer responsible may agree that a bank or financial institution established in that third country may provide the guarantee if he considers that the bank or financial institution offers equivalent security and characteristics as those offered by a bank or financial institution established in a Member State. Amounts blocked in bank accounts shall not be accepted as financial guarantees. 

The guarantee may be replaced by a joint and several guarantee by a third party or by a joint guarantee of the beneficiaries of an action who are parties to the same grant agreement. 

5. ELIGIBILITY 

APPLICATIONS MUST COMPLY WITH ALL OF THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA SET OUT IN THIS SECTION. 

5.1. ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS 

a) The consortium (i.e. the coordinator plus its partners) must be composed of EEN partners from at least four (4) EU Member States. 

b) Applicants eligible to submit a proposal are Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) partner organisations within the European Union that have signed a framework partnership agreement for the Enterprise Europe Network. 

c) Several applicants, submitting a joint proposal should choose within their midst a lead organisation, referred to as the coordinator. The coordinator and other applicants must satisfy the same eligibility criteria. 

d) Applications must be submitted by a legal person. 

e) The participation of the same partner in more than one proposal is not permitted; proposals with a member that participates in more than one consortium submitting a project proposal are not eligible and will be excluded from the call. Therefore applicants are encouraged to take the necessary measures to ensure that their partners will not participate in more than one proposal. 

 

Supporting documents 

Subject to the eligibility criteria indicated above, the applicants should provide the following supporting documents to establish their eligibility: 

private entity: extract from the official journal, copy of articles of association, extract of trade or association register, certificate of liability to VAT (if, as in certain countries, the trade register number and VAT number are identical, only one of these documents is required); 

public entity: copy of the resolution or decision establishing the public company, or other official document establishing the public-law entity; 

consortium: in addition to the supporting documents referring to their legal status, consortium members will submit letters confirming their participation to the project, 

natural persons: photocopy of identity card and/or passport; 

entities without legal personality: documents providing evidence that their representative(s) have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf. 

 

5.2. ADMISSIBLE AND ELIGIBLE PROPOSALS 

Applications must comply with the following conditions in order to be eligible for a grant: 

 Applications must be sent no later than the deadline for submitting applications referred to in section 9. 

 Applications must be submitted in writing, using the application form and the electronic submission system, as indicated in the Guide for Applicants. 

 Applications must be drafted in one of the EU official Languages. If your proposal is not in English, a translation of the full proposal would be of assistance to the evaluators. An English translation of an abstract may be included in the proposal (see Guide for Applicants). 

 Proposals must be submitted in conformity with the call specifications; 

 Only projects that are strictly non-profit-making and/or whose immediate objective is non-commercial shall be eligible. 

 Applications must respect the maximum rate for EU co-financing. 

 Applications must respect the maximum amount for EU co-financing. 

 Applications must respect the maximum duration of projects. 

 Applications must respect the requirements set for the start date. 

 Applications may not include contributions in kind as part of their co-financing. 

 Applications may not include financial support to third parties 

 

In this context, will be rejected any project directly or indirectly contrary to EU policy or against public health, human rights, citizen’s security or freedom of expression. 

6. EXCLUSION CRITERIA 

6.1. EXCLUSION FROM PARTICIPATION 

An entity will be excluded from participating in the call for proposals procedure if : 

(a) it is bankrupt, subject to insolvency or winding-up procedures, where its assets are being administered by a liquidator or by a court, where it is in an arrangement with creditors, where its business activities are suspended, or where it is in any analogous situation arising from a similar procedure provided for under national laws or regulations; 

(b) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the entity is in breach of its obligations relating to the payment of taxes or social security contributions in accordance with the law of the country in which it is established, with those of the country in which the contracting authority is located or those of the country of the performance of the contract; 

(c) it has been established by a final judgment or a final administrative decision that the entity is guilty of grave professional misconduct by having violated applicable laws or regulations or ethical standards of the profession to which the applicant belongs, or by having engaged in any wrongful conduct which has an impact on its professional credibility where such conduct denotes wrongful intent or gross negligence, including, in particular, any of the following: 

(i) fraudulently or negligently misrepresenting information required for the verification of the absence of grounds for exclusion or the fulfilment of selection criteria or in the performance of a contract; 

(ii) entering into agreement with other entity with the aim of distorting competition; 

(iii) violating intellectual property rights; 

(iv) attempting to influence the decision-making process of the contracting authority during the award procedure; 

(v) attempting to obtain confidential information that may confer upon it undue advantages in the award procedure; 

(d) it has been established by a final judgment that the entity is guilty of any of the following: 

(i) fraud, within the meaning of Article 1 of the Convention on the protection of the European Communities' financial interests, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 July 1995; 

(ii) corruption, as defined in Article 3 of the Convention on the fight against corruption involving officials of the European Communities or officials of Member States of the European Union, drawn up by the Council Act of 26 May 1997, and in Article 2(1) of Council Framework Decision 2003/568/JHA, as well as corruption as defined in the law of the country where the contracting authority is located, the country in which the applicant is established or the country of the performance of the contract; 

(iii) participation in a criminal organisation, as defined in Article 2 of Council Framework Decision 2008/841/JHA; 

(iv) money laundering or terrorist financing, as defined in Article 1 of Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council; 

(v) terrorist-related offences or offences linked to terrorist activities, as defined in Articles 1 and 3 of Council Framework Decision 2002/475/JHA, respectively, or inciting, aiding, abetting or attempting to commit such offences, as referred to in Article 4 of that Decision; 

(vi) child labour or other forms of trafficking in human beings as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2011/36/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council; 

(e) the entity has shown significant deficiencies in complying with main obligations in the performance of a contract financed by the budget, which has led to its early termination or to the application of liquidated damages or other contractual penalties, or which has been discovered following checks, audits or investigations by an authorising officer, OLAF or the Court of Auditors; 

(f) it has been established by a final judgment or final administrative decision that the entity has committed an irregularity within the meaning of Article 1(2) of Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 2988/95. 

g) for the situations of grave professional misconduct, fraud, corruption, other criminal offences, significant deficiencies in the performance of the contract or irregularity, the applicant is subject to: 

(i.) facts established in the context of audits or investigations carried out by the Court of Auditors, OLAF or internal audit, or any other check, audit or control performed under the responsibility of an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body; 

(ii.) non-final administrative decisions which may include disciplinary measures taken by the competent supervisory body responsible for the verification of the application of standards of professional ethics; 

(iii) decisions of the ECB, the EIB, the European Investment Fund or international organisations; 

(iv) decisions of the Commission relating to the infringement of the Union's competition rules or of a national competent authority relating to the infringement of Union or national competition law. 

 (v) decisions of exclusion by an authorising officer of an EU institution, of a European office or of an EU agency or body. 

 

6.2. EXCLUSION FROM AWARD 

Grants will not be awarded to applicant who, in the course of the grant award procedure is: 

(a) is in a situation of exclusion established in accordance with Article 106 FR 

(b) has misrepresented the information required as a condition for participating in the grant award procedure or has failed to supply that information; 

(c) was previously involved in the preparation of procurement documents where this entails a distortion of competition that cannot be remedied otherwise. 

6.3. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS 

Applicants must sign a declaration on their honour certifying that they are not in one of the situations referred to by filling in the “Exclusion Criteria Form” (form B4) 

Administrative and financial penalties may be imposed on applicants, or affiliated entities where applicable, who are guilty of misrepresentation. 

By using the “Exclusion Criteria Form” applicants shall declare on their honour that they are not in one of the situations referred to in Articles 106 and 107 of the Regulation (EC, Euratom) n° 966/2012 on the financial rules applicable to the general budget of the Union (Financial Regulation, as amended). 

Please note that administrative and financial penalties may be imposed by the Commission on applicants who are excluded in relation to points a) to g) of the form in question. 

For grants with a value exceeding € 60 000, the Commission may require further evidence, as indicated in article 143 Rules of Application. 

7. SELECTION 

7.1. FINANCIAL CAPACITY 

Applicants must have stable and sufficient sources of funding to maintain their activity throughout the period during which the action is being carried out or the year for which the grant is awarded and to participate in its funding. The applicants' financial capacity will be assessed on the basis of the following supporting documents to be submitted with the application: 

For grants of a total value < EUR 60 000: 

 a declaration on honour 

 

For grants of a total value ≥ EUR 60 000, in addition: 

 a declaration on honour and, 

 form B/5 provided for in the submission set, filled in with the relevant statutory accounting figures. Other documents may be submitted if needed (see IV.4 Guide to applicants) 

 

For grants for an action ≥ EUR 750 000 or operating grants ≥ EUR 100 000, in addition: 

 an audit report produced by an approved external auditor certifying the accounts for the last financial year available. 

 

In the event of an application grouping several applicants (consortium), the above threshold regarding audit reports applies per applicant. 

In the case of affiliated entities forming together one sole applicant, the above requirements apply to each of the affiliated entity. 

7.2. OPERATIONAL CAPACITY 

Applicants must show they have the operational (technical and management) capacity to complete the operation to be supported and must demonstrate their capacity to manage scale activity corresponding to the size of the project for which the grant is requested. In particular, the team responsible for the project/operation must have adequate professional qualifications and experience

In this respect, applicants have to submit: 

a declaration on their honour, 

- the following supporting documents: 

curriculum vitae or description of the profile of the people primarily responsible for managing and implementing the operation; 

an exhaustive lists of previous projects and activities performed and connected to the policy fields indicated in the call 

 

The selection procedure is described in further detail in the Guide for Applicants. 

8. AWARD 

An evaluation of the quality of proposals, including the proposed budget, will be carried out in accordance with the evaluation criteria set out in annex 3 to this call for proposals. 

The evaluation procedure is described in further detail in the Guide for Applicants. 

9. SUBMISSION OF PROPOSALS 

Please note that only electronic submissions are allowed for this call

Please consult the Guide for Applicants for the modalities of preparing the proposal. 

Submission of a grant application implies acceptance of the conditions of the grant agreement, attached to this call. 

The deadline for submission of proposals is: 

06/04/2017 [17.00:00 Brussels local time] 

 

 

10. CONTACTS 

Contacts between the contracting authority and potential applicants can only take place in certain circumstances and under the following conditions only: 

Before the final date for submission of proposals, 

 At the request of the applicant, the Commission may provide additional information solely for the purpose of clarifying the nature of the call. 

 Any requests for additional information must be made in writing only to the coordinates stated below. 

 The Commission may, on its own initiative, inform interested parties of any error, inaccuracy, omission or other clerical error in the text of the call for proposals. 

 Any additional information including that referred to above will be published on the internet in concordance with the various call for proposals documents. 

 

After the deadline for submission of proposals: 

 If clarification is requested or if obvious clerical errors in the proposal need to be corrected, the Commission will contact the applicant provided the terms of the proposal are not modified as a result. 

 If the authorising officer finds that those proposals, which have been listed for award needs limited adaptations to their proposal. In such case, these applicants will receive a formal letter setting out the requested modifications. Any such modifications must stay within the limits of the request. This phase will not lead to a re-evaluation of the proposals, but a proposal might be rejected if the applicant does not wish to comply with the modifications requested. 

 

Contact coordinates for the call: 

European Commission 

DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs 

Unit H2 Enterprise Europe Network and Internationalisation of SMEs E-mail address: grow-cfp-16245-WESME@ec.europa.eu 

Office address: 

DG for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs 

Directorate H: COSME Programme 

Office BREY 06/284, B-1049 Brussels, Belgium 

11. DATA PROTECTION 

The reply to any call for proposals involves the recording and processing of personal data (such as name, address and CV). Such data will be processed pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 45/2001 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions and bodies and on the free movement of such data. Unless indicated otherwise, the questions and any personal data requested are required to evaluate the application in accordance with the specifications of the call for proposal will be processed solely for that purpose by unit GROW.H2: Enterprise Europe Network and Internationalisation of SMEs. 

Details concerning the processing of personal data are available on the privacy statement at: 

http://ec.europa.eu/dataprotectionofficer/privacystatement_publicprocurement_en.pdf. 

Personal data may be registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion System (EDES) if the applicant is in one of the situations mentioned in Article 106 of the Financial Regulation. For more information, see the Privacy Statement on: 

http://ec.europa.eu/budget/explained/management/protecting/protect_en.cfm) 

12. PUBLICITY 

Beneficiaries must clearly acknowledge the European Union’s contribution in all publications or in conjunction with activities for which the grant is used. 

In this respect, beneficiaries are required to give prominence to the name and emblem of the European Commission on all their publications, posters, programmes and other products realised under the co-financed project. 

To do this they must use the text, the emblem and the disclaimer available at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/services/visual_identity

If this requirement is not fully complied with, the beneficiary’s grant may be reduced in accordance with the provisions of the grant agreement or grant decision. 

With the exception of scholarships paid to natural persons and other direct support paid to natural persons in most need, all information relating to grants awarded in the course of a financial year shall be published on an internet site of the European Union institutions no later than the 30 June of the year following the financial year in which the grants were awarded. 

The Commission will publish the following information: 

 name of the beneficiary; 

 address of the beneficiary (legal persons) or reference to the region (natural persons); 

 subject of the grant; 

 amount awarded. 

 

Upon a reasoned and duly substantiated request by the beneficiary, the publication shall be waived if such disclosure risks threatening the rights and freedoms of individuals concerned as protected by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union or harm the commercial interests of the beneficiaries. 

13. ANNEX 1 SUBMISSION SET 

The Submission Set is composed of : 

- Form B1- B2 Budgetary Forms 

- Form B3 - Co-financing statement form 

- Form B4 - Exclusion form 

- Form B5 - Financial Statement Form 

- Form B6 - Description of the project 

- Form B7 - Curriculum Vitae 

- Form B8 - Professional references 

- Form B9 - Miscellaneous 

And is available in the eSubmission tool "SEP" – see link in call page. 

The Submission Set can be downloaded from the following page: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/contracts-grants/calls-for-proposals/ 

14. ANNEX 2 GUIDE FOR APPLICANTS 

The Guide for Applicants can be downloaded from the following page: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/contracts-grants/calls-for-proposals/ 



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