Direct loans for Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) can be granted to innovative Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) which possess a business permit issued pursuant to the law of September 2, 2011 (right of establishment) for at least 4 years and have a substantial impact on national economic development.
The beneficiary is an innovative enterprise, in so far as it can be demonstrated on the basis of a business plan that it will develop and commercialize products/services, processes or organizational methods that are new or substantially improved/changed as compared to the state of the art in the concerned industry sector, and which carry a risk of technical or industrial failure. Innovative character of processes/organizational methods should be of a technological nature, except for the measures in favor of the protection of the environment, natural habitats, human and work environments. Innovative character of products or services should be of a technological, commercial and/or organizational nature.
This loan cannot be combined with other SNCI instruments.
Investments in depreciable assets and negative operational cash-flows carried out within the project of business development, in particular costs related to equipment, machinery and professional facilities, personnel expenditures, patent filing fees, expenses related to contract research, use of databanks, technical libraries and laboratories, acquisition of patents/licenses, project feasibility studies, innovation support services like market research, implementation of new regulatory standards, testing and certification, as well as a one-year budget related to marketing/promotion of new products/services, are eligible for the RD&I loan. Production and distribution costs, as well as land and buildings are excluded.
Fixing of loan amounts
The RD&I loan cannot be greater than EUR 250.000 without exceeding 40% of eligible costs and taking into account the extent of the project and the size of the company.
At least 35% of investments and expenses shall be co-financed by own resources.
Amount of the SNCI loan (or SNCI loans) cannot exceed the total amount of equity of the loan beneficiary.
Maximum loan duration is 10 years. It is fixed on the basis of the project requirements.
The interest rates are fixed by the SNCI's Board of Directors on the basis of interest rates on the capital market as well as on the basis of the SNCI refinancing costs. Currently, the interest rate stands at 2.5% for a medium term loan (5 years) and at 3% for a long term loan (6-10 years).
A personal, solidary and indivisible declaration of surety from key project promoters is required. This shareholder engagement shall not exceed 20% of the outstanding loan and associated interests.
Loans are disbursed according to the disbursement plan determined during the loan application process. This disbursement plan defines the disbursement periods, proportionate share of each project co-financier and, where required, the milestones required for each loan draw-down.
The repayment schedule is fixed on the basis of the project requirements with a first repayment due no later than two years after the conclusion of the contract. In principle, repayment is done by constant quarterly installments. Early repayments are possible without penalty.
The application should be sent directly to SNCI. The application must be received by SNCI before the start of the innovation project. Following documents must be included in the application by the requesting company:
- a presentation of the applicant (creation date, shareholders, activity, main suppliers/clients, team);
- a project description (new product/service created, marketing strategy, project team, market/competition/competitive advantage, project impact);
- financial statements for the past three financial years (including liabilities towards the banking institutions and evolution of investments);
- a business plan/budget of the company covering at least three years which contains an income statement and cash flow analysis (operational cash flow, investment and financing);
- a plan of financing/disbursement for the project in question.
SNCI reserves the right to demand any additional information relevant for the project analysis.