9 Ways You Can Digitalise Your Business With EU Funds
Small businesses with big ambitions appreciate the value of digitalisation. Taking full advantage of the opportunities of the online world is an important way to compete with large brands and international corporations.
Your business may be local, but in today’s economy, your competition is likely not.
Adapting your business to include an online element does not need to involve a revolution. It can be done simply and over a period of time to avoid any disruptions. With the right expertise, you can get hold of all the necessary software and hardware necessary, as well as the training needed to operate it.
The SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme
To aid the competitiveness of Maltese businesses in an international setting, the Maltese government has recently launched the SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme. This cash grant provides assistance of up to €50,000 per business entity and is open to SMEs, including self-employed persons.
Support from this scheme can go towards covering 50% of eligible expenses across nine categories. If the entity is based in Gozo, support increases to 60%.
1. Development of an eCommerce Website
An eCommerce website can transform your physical shop from a local business into an international retailer. These websites come in many shapes and sizes, but one of their common characteristics is that the website is able to accept online payments.
This means that to be eligible for this grant, your eCommerce website must sell goods or services online and provide online payment options, such as cards, and eWallets.
2. Purchase of Software
No digital business can run smoothly without adequate software. Whether off-the-shelf or designed specifically for your operations, you can offset a significant portion of software costs using the SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme.
Many businesses have benefitted greatly by investing in point of sale (POS) or customer resource management (CRM) software. Such software offers automation and the ability to efficiently track orders, customer data, and sales records.
3. Purchase of Hardware
Software applications would be useless unless your business has the right hardware for the job. Beyond typical desktop computers and laptops, this cash grant supports the purchase of specialized hardware, including port replicators, tablets, and docking stations.
4. Investment in Analytical Tools
To truly compete in a globalised world you need to get an in-depth understanding of your customers. The right analytical tools provide you with insight into your customers’ shopping habits and preferences, allowing you to plan effective sales and marketing campaigns.
5. Implementation of Cyber Security Measures
You need to protect your online business for the same reasons that you lock your door when you close your store. This digitalisation grant scheme covers all cyber security costs, such as firewalls, encryption software, anti-virus software, and scanning tools.
6. Accessing Cloud Computing Solutions
One of the key elements of any successful online business is a cloud computing infrastructure. With such a system, different devices and users can communicate with each other across different locations without needing to depend on a physical server or person.
7. Installation of Wifi and Internet Equipment
The SME Digitalization Grant Scheme also covers part of the costs of installing or upgrading Wifi and Internet equipment. Without adequate routers, switches, and cables, your business would likely suffer excessive downtime and poor connections that would frustrate clients.
8. Purchase of Other Software and Hardware
To support innovative businesses, this grant scheme does not limit the purchase of software or equipment to named options. Instead, the adjudicating board is willing to consider any meaningful investment as long as it fits into the business operations and will aid digitalisation.
9. Training on Acquired Software and Hardware
This cash grant scheme also covers setup and training costs to help your team use the software and hardware that you’ve invested in. By receiving proper training, team members will be brought up to speed quickly and will be shown the best solutions to common issues.
The Fine Print of the SME Digitalization Grant Scheme
As with any support measure issued by the national government, there are terms and conditions that all applicants must be aware of.
The main objective of this grant is to assist micro, small, and medium-sized businesses that are registered and operational in Malta to invest in digitalisation solutions. Only eligible software, hardware, and training for projects which are yet to be implemented will be supported. Any investment that has already received funding from other national or EU support measures is not eligible.
When calculating the maximum cash grant that can be given to a business entity, the adjudicating board will consider De Minimis State Aid. This means that if your business has received prior funding, you may not be eligible for the full value of this grant.
In addition, all investments must be completed and installed, if applicable, within 24 months from the signing of the grant agreement.
Making the Most of Your Business Digitalisation Efforts
The SME Digitalization Grant Scheme may be an excellent source of funds to assist your enterprise to start or develop its online presence. Get in touch with a member of the NM Advisory Services team today to discuss your plans for transforming your business.
Our team of experts will be able to explain the benefits of this scheme in further detail and even identify additional support options that may include cash grants and tax credits.