Innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can benefit from a loan for Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I). They must have had a valid business permit (issued in accordance with the Law of 2 September 2011) for the past 4 years, and have a substantial impact on national economic development.
The Research, Development and Innovation (RD&I) loan is designed to assist in financing of business projects run by innovative enterprises provided that such can demonstrate on the basis of a business plan that they develop and market products/ services, processes or organizational methods that are either new or have been substantially improved/modified as compared to the latest technology in the industry concerned, and which carry a risk of technical or industrial failure. Innovative processes or organizational methods must be of a technological nature (except for measures in favour of environmental protection, natural sites, and human and work environments). Innovative products or services must be of a technological, commercial or organizational nature. This loan cannot be combined with other SNCI instruments.
Investments in depreciable assets and negative operating cash flow carried out within the business development project are eligible for the RD&I loan.
Costs eligible for the RD&I loan include: Equipment, machinery and professional facilities; personnel expenditure; patent filing fees; expenses related to contract research; the use of databanks, technical libraries and laboratories; the acquisition of patents/ licenses; feasibility studies; innovation support services like market research; the implementation of new regulatory standards; testing and certification; and marketing/ promotion costs for new products/services during one budget year. Production and distribution costs, as well as land and buildings are excluded.
The RD&I loan is for a maximum of EUR 250,000. Furthermore, it cannot exceed 40% of eligible costs, taking into account both the size of the project and of the company.
At least 35% of investments and expenses shall be co-financed by the business’s own resources.
The amount of the SNCI loan(s) cannot exceed the total amount of equity held by the beneficiary.
The loan is for a maximum duration of 10 years. It is fixed on the basis of the project’s requirements.
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’s refinancing costs. The interest rate currently stands at 2.5% for medium-term loans (5 years), and at 3% for long-term loans (6-10 years).
Loans are disbursed according to the disbursement plan determined during the loan application process. The disbursement plan defines the disbursement periods, the proportionate share of each project co-financier and, where necessary, the milestones required for each loan drawdown.
The repayment schedule is fixed on the basis of the project requirements, with a first repayment due no later than 2 years after the conclusion of the contract. In principle, repayment is made in equally distributed quarterly instalments. Early repayments are possible and incur no fees or penalties.
A personal, solidary and indivisible surety bond from key project promoters is required. This shareholder engagement shall not exceed 20% of the outstanding loan and associated interests.
Applications should be sent directly to the SNCI. Applications must be submitted to the SNCI before the start of the innovation project, together with the following documents:
- a presentation of the applicant (creation date, shareholders, activity, main suppliers/ clients, team);
- a description of the project (new product/service created, marketing strategy, project team, market/competition/competitive advantage, project impact);
- financial statements for the past 3 financial years (including liabilities towards banking institutions and evolution of investments);
- a business plan/budget of the company covering a period of at least 3 years, including an income statement and cash flow analysis (operating, investing and financing activities);
- a financing/disbursement plan for the project in question.
SNCI reserves the right to demand any additional information relevant for analyzing the project.