Opportunities for Italian SMEs: opening of the ‘Entrepreneurial Discovery’ measure

300 million euros to support Research and Development in the regions of Southern Italy

The Ministry of Business and Made in Italy recently announced the opening of applications for the “Entrepreneurial Discovery” measure, as defined in the decree of 13 July signed by Minister Urso. This program is aimed at promote industrial research and experimental development projects in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of selected regions such as Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Puglia, Sardinia and Sicily. These projects must be in line with the objectives of the National Smart Specialization Strategy.

The total available funding amounts to 300 million euros, as part of the national program “Research, Innovation and Competitiveness for the green and digital transition 2021-2027“. Starting from 7 February, companies operating in sectors such as industry, agro-industry, crafts, industrial services, as well as research centres, will be able to submit their applications through the online portal of Mediocredito Centrale, which manages the measure on behalf of the Ministry.

Questions can be pre-filled as early as January 24th via an IT procedure available on the official website. The candidate projects, which must be implemented collaboratively, should have a budget of eligible expenses and costs between 1 million and 5 million euros.

The benefits will be granted through an over-the-counter evaluation procedure. Businesses will benefit from subsidized financing and direct contributions to expenses, with variable percentages based on the size of the business: 35% for small businesses, 30% for medium-sized businesses and 25% for large businesses. Research organizations will receive a direct contribution to spending equal to 60% for industrial research activities and 40% for experimental development. This initiative represents an important opportunity for SMEs in Southern Italy to access significant financial resources for innovation and development.