Fabian Demicoli

Support for Eco-innovative projects


The European Union's Competitiveness
and Innovation Programme (CIP) is assisting public and private entities,
particularly SMEs, to embark on eco-innovation projects through which they make
better use of resources or reduce negative environmental impact of their
operations.

Around €35million are available for the
funding of projects through the Eco-Innovation initiative this year, with the
European Commission funding up to 50% of the project's eligible costs for
successful applicants.

By encouraging projects for the first
market piloting of products, techniques, services and processes that reduce
emissions, use resources efficiently, facilitate recycling and so on,
Eco-Innovation represents a key opportunity to overcome sustainability
challenges whilst making the economy even stronger and more competitive.

Details about the CIP's Eco-Innovation
initiative – for which the yearly Call for Applications is open until September
6, 2012 – were given during an information session organised by Malta
Enterprise, which hosts the CIP's National Contact Point for Malta.

Pedro Fernandez Alvarez, the National
Contact Point for Malta within Malta Enterprise, said that the Eco-Innovation
initiative helps good ideas with a proven track record but which are not fully
marketed due to residual risks, overcome barriers to become fully-fledged
commercial prospects ready for use by the consumer, or business and industry.

A number of projects which made
successful use of the CIP's Eco-Innovation assistance were also showcased,
amongst which a printing company which converted paper mill sludge into
absorbent material used to clean up oil and chemical spills in harbours, as
well as a waste-collection company which is automatically sorting various
metals by quality for recycling.

Besides giving details about this
year's open Call and highlighting the benefits for innovative Maltese SMEs, Mr
Alvarez also explained how to write a good proposal to ensure that applications
stand a better chance of being approved and encouraged participants to contact
Malta Enterprise for assistance.

Another presentation was delivered
during the information session by George Francalanza, Head of Business First,
who focused on the assistance and guidance provided by the one-stop-shop for
businesses also located at the Malta Enterprise head office in Pietà. These
include a wide variety of schemes and incentives which are aimed at supporting
enterprises undertaking innovative projects as well as initiatives aimed at
improving their impact on the environment.

On his part, the Head of the EU
Business Development at Bank of Valletta Mark SciclunaBartoli spoke about SMEs
access to finance when embarking on eco-innovation and other projects. He gave
details of other funding assistance available to implement not only
eco-innovative but also other projects, such as the JEREMIE MicroCredit scheme
administered by BOV through which enterprises may obtain a loan of up to
€510,000 at advantageous interest rates.

Further information on the CIP and the
Eco-Innovation initiative may be obtained by contacting the CIP National
Contact Point within Malta Enterprise on 2542 0000 or , or by
visiting www.cipmalta.com.

 

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