Starting today, 16 July, the Lithuanian Business Support Agency (LBSA) is accepting applications for funding projects under the Covid-19 Creative Vouchers measure. This is aimed at the development and deployment of original product solutions, i.e. non-technological innovations.

The start-up measure aims to encourage businesses to make use of innovative services provided by entities operating in the creative and cultural industries sector, to develop and implement original design and marketing solutions using artistic and cultural expression.

The call has a budget of EUR 7 million where the minimum amount per project is EUR 20,000 and the  maximum amount is EUR 70,000; the level of aid may not exceed 75% of the total eligible project costs.

Applications will be accepted until 31 August. The selection of projects will be carried out by means of a one-stage call for proposals.

The LBSA is ready

‘We see a great interest in this measure and expect that following a selection procedure, about 250 projects will be implemented … the benefits will be shared by many more creative industry companies including those that will provide innovative services to the project promoters,’ says Aurimas Želvys, Director of the LBSA.

The popularity of the measure and the quality of the projects identified in the applications will determine the speed of their evaluation, but the Head of the LBSA stresses that experts are ready to work as quickly as possible in a constructive dialogue with the applicants.  

‘The issue of survival in the post-pandemic period is still relevant for a number of companies therefore we will work ceaselessly so that companies can implement plans that increase the attractiveness of their products or services, boost demand and increase the productivity of the company’s operations,’ says Želvys.

Opportunities and limits

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises that have been in operation for at least one year are eligible for the measure. Their average annual turnover in sales of manufactured products in the three financial years preceding the date of submission of the application or − for those with a shorter existence − from the date of registration of the company, must be at least EUR 50,000. Partnerships are not allowed.

The applicant may not be a service provider in other projects under this measure, nor will funding be granted to the applicant if it intends to purchase services from an undertaking belonging to the same group of undertakings or from a related person.

‘The eligible costs under this measure are those relating to the development and implementation of original product solutions. This includes product and service design, and marketing solutions. It should be noted that marketing innovation costs will only be eligible if they are for the product for which the design has been developed and/or implemented,’ explains Giedrė Indriulienė, Head of the Business Sustainability Projects Division.

She stresses that design and marketing innovation services must be sourced from a natural or legal person active in the creative and cultural industries for at least one year.

Financing of eligible costs

The costs of researching the design, developing and refining the concept idea, creating a layout, visualisation or sketch are eligible for financing when creating a design.

The costs incurred for the development of the design, for the elimination of defects, for the testing of the production of a product sample based on the design developed and/or for the testing of a service based on a service scheme developed, are eligible for financing when implementing the design created.

‘During the design development and implementation phase, the salaries of the project promoter’s employees with at least one year of work experience in the creative and cultural industries sector whose main function is the development and/or implementation of the design solution, and the costs of employer’s liabilities related to employment relations, which may not exceed 20% of the total amount of the project, may also be eligible for financing under the measure’  says Indriulienė, introducing the conditions of the measure.

Eligible costs for marketing innovations include the costs of social media marketing, the creation and publicity of video advertising on the internet, mobile marketing, advertising on online portals and promotional articles, as well as content marketing (blogs, e-books and other e-publications, photos, manuals and guides).

The Covid-19 Creative Vouchers measure will be presented in detail at the LBSA webinar on 3 August. Registration for the webinar is available here.

Call information is available here.

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