Until 12:00, in mainland Portugal, on 31 May, applications are being received for support that falls under the Blue Growth Programme, which aims to fund projects related to the maritime economy.
As a result of the Agreement of the European Economic Area (EEA), a multiannual Financial Mechanism was established, called EEA Grants, through which Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway financially support the member states of the European Union with greater deviations from the European average of GDP per capita, which includes Portugal.
The two main objectives of the EEA Grants are to reduce economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area, and to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation between Portugal and the funding countries.
The main objectives of the Blue Growth Programme are to increase the creation of value and sustainable growth in the Portuguese blue economy. Furthermore, the aim is to increase research and promote education and training in the marine and maritime areas. Therefore, the Blue Growth Programme will support projects that relate to the three core areas of the project, which are business development, research and education.
The projects covered by this support will contribute towards increasing competitiveness, sustainability and wealth creation among start-ups, and also towards creating new products, services and innovative processes under the umbrella of Blue Growth. The programme has an endowment of around €44 million, of which around 70% will be dedicated to the area of business and innovation. The remaining 30% is reserved for the components that address “Research” and “Education, Scholarships, Literacy and Youth Entrepreneurship”.
The eligibility of the projects will depend on some criteria, which will be highlighted at the end of the article, but it is important that these projects should meet one or more of the five main objectives of the Blue Growth Programme, which are:
- To increase the competitiveness of Portuguese companies in the area of Blue Growth.
- To support resource efficiency in companies in the maritime sector.
- To improve the performance of Portuguese research organisations.
- To strengthen education, training and cooperation on marine and maritime issues.
- Greater collaboration between Portugal and the donor States involved in the programme.
This Programme aims to increase value creation and sustainable growth in Portugal, including long-term marine and maritime economic growth, social cohesion (in terms of local communities and maritime activities) and protection of the marine environment.
It intends to create a synergy between business, research and education, through a holistic approach, thus allowing sustainable Blue Growth in Portugal:
Research will support companies with a research, development and innovation component, strengthening their competitiveness in the market. The education component will promote the improvement of skills and raise awareness among human resources of marine and maritime issues.
- To be considered eligible, SMEs must be legally established in Portugal for at least six months prior to the deadline for submission of applications, and have been operating for less than five years prior to the deadline for submission of proposals as stipulated in the call. They must not have distributed profits and must not have been formed through a merger (Start-ups).
- It should be noted that sole proprietors are not eligible.
- Each promoter may only submit one application, and may participate in up to two more as a partner.
- Eligible partners are any public or private, commercial or non-commercial Entities, as well as non-governmental organisations, having their main site either in the Donor States or in Portugal, that are actively involved in, and effectively contributing to, the implementation of the project.
- Fisheries / aquaculture (development of innovative products and technologies in the fisheries / fish farming sector)
- Fish processing industry
- Commercial ports
- Ocean renewable energy sector
- Maritime industry, including innovative maritime transport technologies
- Maritime digitisation
- Offshore and/or nearshore infrastructure
- Robotics related to marine and maritime technologies
- Technologies for deep sea resources and mapping
- Shipbuilding and maritime transport (development of innovative products and technologies)
- Blue biotechnology
- Nautical tourism
- Environmental monitoring and maritime surveillance activities.
Endowment and financing:
- Total allocation available: € 1,029,469
- Maximum Financing Amount per project: € 150,000
- Minimum Financing Amount per project: € 50,000
- Funding Rate: The funding rate will be up to 80% of the total eligible project costs.
Learn more about the ‘Blue Growth’ Programme here.