The Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA) received 895 applications under the expired ‘Creative Vouchers Covid-19’ measure within one and a half months, where the amount of investment requested is more than seven times higher than the budget of the call.

The total budget of the measure, which is aimed at the development and implementation of original product solutions – non-technological innovations – is EUR 7 million while EUR 49,345 million is requested in the applications for project funding.

According to Arūnas Burinskas, Deputy Director of the Investment Management Service of the LBSA, the huge popularity of the measure proves that it was expected and needed. ‘It is a challenge for the agency to evaluate such a large number of applications, but we are ready for it. We will strive to evaluate all the applications received and sign contracts with the promoters of the successful projects as soon as possible,’ said Burinskas.

Burinskas says that although only projects selected through a public procurement will be funded, which could number several hundred, many other people working in the creative and cultural sector will indirectly benefit as their services will be purchased by the project promoters.

The aim of the measure is to encourage businesses to use innovative services provided by entities operating in the creative and cultural industries, to create and implement original design and marketing solutions through artistic and cultural expression.

Applications were received from all counties with the most active applicants seeking project funding from Vilnius (462 applications), Kaunas (225), Klaipėda (65) and Šiauliai (54), and the fewest applicants from the counties of Telšiai and Tauragė, with 7 and 6 applications respectively.

As noted by Giedrė Indriulienė, Head of the Business Sustainability Projects Division of the LBSA, the application rate was record-breaking with the first applications starting to arrive after just one week, which also proves that the instrument is a tool for some to recover from the pandemic and for others to grow and expand.

‘We received a relatively high number of applications requesting funding for service design solutions while product design solutions prevailed in the previous call for the ‘Design LT’ (in Lithuanian: Dizainas LT) measure (packaging, furniture, clothing, hardware, electronic equipment design solutions, etc.). This shows that companies are increasingly aware of the importance of service design in business and are striving to optimise their service delivery processes in a pandemic period, to provide services to consumers in a more efficient way and to adapt to the situation as much as possible’, notes Indriulienė.

The range of activities in which projects are foreseen to be carried out is quite wide and varied. It includes hotels, motor vehicle rental and leasing, fruit and vegetable processing and preservation, jewellery, textile weaving, construction development, glass and glassware manufacturing, advertising, restaurants, plastic products manufacturing, money brokerage, chemicals, fertilisers, meat processing, medicine, metal forming equipment and machine tool manufacturing, computer programming and many other activities.

Under the measure ‘Creative Vouchers Covid-19’, the minimum possible amount for financing the project is EUR 20,000 and the maximum amount is EUR 70,000, and the aid intensity may not exceed 75% of all eligible costs of the project.

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