Programs aimed to support the fight against COVID-19

The government has approved a loan program COVID III for companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 150,000 entrepreneurs should receive help with 150 billion crowns earmarked for loan guarantees. The Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) will thus be able to guarantee loans of up to CZK 500 billion.

ČMZRB will now issue a call for commercial banks, savings and credit unions to apply and with which ČMZRB will subsequently sign contracts. Therefore, entrepreneurs will process the loan application exclusively at their bank.

Form and amount of financial support

  • Self-employed persons and companies with up to 250 employees will be entitled to a guarantee of up to 90 percent.
  • Companies with more employees – a maximum of 500 – will receive a guarantee of up to 80 percent.

The duration of the guarantee will be three years and the maximum loan amount will be CZK 50 million. The agreed maturity of the loan may not occur before 1 January 2021, with the exception of loans agreed for an indefinite period.

The selection of eligible transactions is made by cooperating banks. The final beneficiary applies for support in the form of a loan application from a cooperating bank that has a portfolio guarantee agreement with ČMZRB for the COVID III Program.

The guaranteed loan can be used to cover operating expenses, such as wages, rents, energy payments, payment of supplier-customer invoices, acquisition of inventory, materials, etc.

Approval conditions

The transaction must meet the following criteria:

  • will be implemented on the territory of the Czech Republic, including the capital of Prague,
  • does not intend to apply for other public support, de minimis aid for the same guaranteed loan and the guaranteed loan must not be supported by a directly managed European Union instrument,
  • was not supported in the COVID Plus program (managed by EGAP).
 
More information can be found here (Czech only): https://www.cmzrb.cz/en/podnikatele/zaruky/zaruka-covid-iii/

In case of further questions, please contact The Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) via email: info@cmzrb.cz 

The City of Prague in cooperation with the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) announced a call for a business support program INFIN. They offer soft loans for small and medium-sized enterprises to finance innovative projects in Prague. CZK 400 million is earmarked for the program under the Operational Program Prague – the Pole of Growth of the Czech Republic.

The aim of the INFIN program is to increase the offer of affordable financing for business projects implemented within Prague that use research results, are carried out by innovative entrepreneurs with a short history or are realized in one of the specified areas.

Who is the support for?

The support is intended for small and medium-sized enterprises based in the capital city of Prague and operating in areas such as manufacturing, construction, water and waste management, retail and wholesale, transport and storage, accommodation and hospitality, education and other services.

The support is designed for entrepreneurs who meet the following conditions:

  • is a small, or medium-sized entrepreneur doing business or setting up a business in one of the supported sectors
  • it has not been more than 7 years since its first commercial activity (e.g. sales of goods or services)
  • has its headquarters or registered office in the capital city of Prague

Entrepreneurs with a short history (maximum of three years) will be offered an interest-free investment loan of CZK 750,000 – CZK 3 million, up to 90% of eligible project costs. The loan will have a maturity of up to 6 years, including the postponement of instalments for up to 2 years.

Entrepreneurs with a longer history (maximum of seven years) can receive an interest-free investment loan in the range of CZK 1 – 15 million, up to 50% of the project’s eligible expenditure, with a maturity of up to 10 years. Granting of this loan will be subject to co-financing from a cooperating bank for at least 30% of the eligible project costs.

Characteristics of the project

The business support is aimed at:

  • innovative business projects
  • projects of innovative or fast-growing companies
  • innovative projects or projects of innovative entrepreneurs focused on efficient energy management

The place of the project realization must be in Prague. The project must be in accordance with the National RIS3 Strategy and the Regional Innovation Strategy of the City of Prague.

Deadline for receiving of applications: 31.12.2022

Further information and consultations are provided by ČMZRB points of sale, or at the e-mail: info@cmzrb.cz.

Prague branch: The Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank 
Českomoravská záruční a rozvojová banka, a.s.’
Jeruzalémská 964/4, 110 00 Praha 1

More information can be found here (Czech only): //www.cmzrb.cz/en/podnikatele/uvery/infin/

The goal of the Antivirus program submitted by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA) is to support employees and employers through the Labor Office of the Czech Republic, which compensates companies for part of the wages paid to employees. The duration of the program is set so far until 30 April 2020, with a probable extension to May. Contributions will be provided to reimburse costs from 12 March 2020, when a state of emergency was declared.

The “Antivirus” program in its approved form currently contains only two following modes:

Mode A types of obstacles:

In the case of quarantine -> the employee receives a wage compensation of 60% of the average reduced earnings.
In the event of the closure or restriction of operations by a measure of the Ministry of Health -> the employee receives a wage compensation in the amount of 100% of the average earnings.

In these cases, the state provides a contribution to employers in the amount of 80% of the paid wage compensation, including tax payments / up to a maximum of CZK 39,000.

Mode B types of obstacles:

Limitations of work on the side of the employer due to the order of quarantine or childcare for a significant part of employees (30% or more of the employees) -> the rest of the employees receive wage compensation in the amount of 100% of average earnings.
Restriction of the availability of inputs (raw materials, products, services) necessary for the employer’s activities -> the employee receives compensation of wages in the amount of 80% of average earnings.
Limitation of demand for services, products and other products of the company -> the employee receives compensation of wages in the amount of 60% of average earnings.

In these cases, the state contribution to employers is 60% of the paid wage compensation, including tax payments / up to a maximum of CZK 29,000.

The allowance will be provided exclusively to employees who have a contract with the employer (at the time of billing) and have not been given notice, except in the case of breach of work obligations under the Labor Code (§ 52 letters g) to h). At the same time, the allowance will be provided only for employees, ie not employees working on the basis of agreements concluded outside the employment relationship or statutory bodies.

The aim of the program is to support, in particular, the rapid deployment of technologies and solutions, both medical and non-medical, in order to fight COVID-19 effectively, including measures to mitigate the impact of further spread and subsequent resolution of this situation. In specific cases, the aid also covers operating costs with the aim of expanding the production capacity of protective equipment or introducing the production of new solutions and products against COVID-19.

The program will support projects to develop new solutions to fight COVID-19 by funding the costs needed to put the solution into practice as fast as possible. Therefore, it is not a program supporting the research and development itself, where, for example, TAČR programs or support from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports are applicable.

Who is eligible for the support?

Supported activities include:

  • production of protective equipment against COVID 19 (subsidy for 50% of eligible project expenses)
  • use of existing technologies for putting new medical and non-medical solutions against COVID-19 into practice (subsidy for 70% of eligible project expenditures)
  • development of new products for the creation of new medical and non-medical solutions against COVID 19 (subsidy for 90% of eligible project expenditures)

The beneficiary:

  • Is an entrepreneur or research organization;
  • has no arrears to the State;
  • has no arrears due to the wage claims of its employees for the past calendar year;
  • must be registered as an income taxpayer according to his affidavit (in the case of the production of protective equipment)
  • cannot be a company in which a public official or a person controlled by him owns a share representing at least 25% of the shareholder’s share in the company;
  • cannot be an entity for which there are no preconditions for the successful completion of the project.

Characteristics of the project

The support will be provided in the form of a subsidy to the bank account of the beneficiary and is specifically intended to cover eligible expenses incurred in connection with the project. The maximum amount of the subsidy for one applicant within the de minimis support, provided in CZK, is EUR 200,000 for the entire period of project implementation, ie a maximum of 2 years. The minimum amount of the subsidy on request is CZK 500 000.

Eligible expenditures and project costs for support:

  • labour costs (job positions necessary for the purposes of the project);
  • cost of materials, water, energy;
  • the cost of purchasing the necessary services;
  • other costs indicated in the aid application.

Applications for support can be submitted only through the data box of the Ministry of Industry and Trade ID: bxtaaw4.

The exclusive contact for all questions regarding the program is the email address CzechRiseUp@mpo.cz.

The aim of the call is to create and develop capacities of supporting innovation infrastructure, which will lead to increased intensity of innovation activities between business, research organizations, the public and corporate sector. The main focus is on the implementation of new technologies and competitive products and services. Moreover, the capacity building and strengthening long-term cooperation will increase the intensity and effectiveness of cooperation in research, development and innovation. These activities will increase the efficiency and competitiveness of the innovation system in the capital city of Prague.

Closing date for receiving of the applications: 4 May 2020, 2:00 p.m.

Who is eligible for the support?

  • The capital city of Prague and the city districts
  • Organizations established and founded by the capital city of Prague and the city districts
  • Research organizations
  • Business entities
  • State-owned enterprises

All the above-mentioned entities can be applicants, provided that they are owners or operators of supporting innovation infrastructure supported in this call. The applicant must have closed at least 2 consecutive full accounting periods as of the date of submission of the application for support.

Characteristics of the project

The subject of support is the development of capacities of supporting innovation infrastructure (science and technology parks, technology parks, business incubators, accelerators, etc.). The main purpose of such an innovation infrastructure is the support and development of innovative companies (especially small and medium-sized enterprises), the introduction of their new technologies and competitive products and services on the market.

The projects will be co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The subsidy for the project is provided in the amount of CZK 1 – 150 million. The projects will be financed in the ex-post regime. The precondition is to ensure full pre-financing, especially of the first phase of the project from the beneficiary’s own resources.

Further information about the call can be found here: Výzva č. 55 – Zvyšování kvality a efektivity fungování podpůrné inovační infrastruktury IV (Czech only).

 

In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Country for the Future – Innovation in Practice tender is thematically focused on the implementation of new solutions in the form of process innovation and organizational innovation in small- and medium-sized enterprises, thus aiming to help in various respects to combat this or similar future health threats, their consequences or prevention.

The aid is intended for the introduction of newly developed or innovated products into production and the market. Projects can be focused, among other things, on the digitization of processes or production.

Applications are accepted until 15 May 2020.

Who is the support for?

The support is intended for :

  • small and medium-sized enterprises (incl. start-ups),
  • that will implement the project anywhere in the Czech Republic, including the City of Prague.

Characteristics of the project

The content of the project should be, alone or in combination, focused on process innovations (ie the process of production or service provision) and organizational innovations.

Therefore, supported projects might be:

  • in the field of medical technology and various medical, monitoring and other applications, bringing a new or substantially improved production process or the provision of specialized services,
  • projects in all sectors of business, aimed at implementing such innovative operational, logistical and other organizational processes that will reduce the risks of the spread of infectious diseases for the population, including employees and customers of companies,
  • in particular, projects that increase the degree of digitization, automation or the organization’s ability to respond flexibly and adapt to similar exceptional situations.

However, each entity may submit a maximum of two project proposals.

The following restrictions apply to the schedule of submitted projects:

  • launch of the solution: in the period from 4 April 2020 to 1 September 2020,
  • the duration of the project solution: a maximum of 36 months,
  • completion of the solution: no later than 31 August 2023.

Financial subsidy

The amount of the subsidy will reach up to CZK 25 million on the project and the percentage of the subsidy is in the range of 50 – 100%. However, the introduction of innovative practices of companies in the production of protective equipment will be supported by 100% of eligible expenses.

What can the subsidy be used for?

Within the program, it will be possible to obtain a subsidy of up to 100% for:

  • personal expenses,
  • depreciation and other direct costs, overheads, etc.

Up to 25% of project costs can be earmarked for project-related costs such as:

  • preparation of the application,
  • small investments,
  • marketing etc.

Contact person: Ing. Eva Kořínková, korinkova@mpo.cz.

Further information can be found here (Czech only): //www.mpo.cz/cz/podnikani/podpora-vyzkumu-a-vyvoje/vyhlaseni-druhe-verejne-souteze-v-programu-the-country-for-the-future-_-zamereni-covid-19–253794/

Online hackathons

The CzechInvest, together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, is launching a virtual hackathon Hack the Crisis. It aims to support and consolidate activities to combat or mitigate the effects of a coronavirus pandemic and to seek concrete solutions for current needs. This concept brings together the state, regions, universities, companies and associations with the aim of accelerating selected projects reflecting our country’s priorities in the fight against the coronavirus.

The MIT and the CzechInvest want to support projects that face obstacles to their implementation. These can range from lack of finance, lack of contacts, know-how and capacity up to lengthy processes. The Czech Rise Up program and cooperation with the private sector will also contribute to this end. The partners of the virtual hackathon include, for example, Amazon AWS, IBM, Avast or Microsoft. The virtual hackathon has been also supported by the Future Port Prague, the Startup World Cup & Summit and the Institute of Circular Economics.

How to join?

Companies can join the virtual hackathon by submitting their project proposals via a simple web form on hackthecrisis.cz. Then, the jury of experts, representatives of the academic sphere and the state administration will evaluate the project, map the priorities and needs and will process brief feedback on the usefulness of project implementation. If the project gets the green light, it will be connected to a representative of the Connecting the Czech Republic team that will help provide, for example, computing capacities, consulting, financial support or links with representatives of other companies and the state. At the same time, they will help with the administration so that the registered person can commit to the project.

Contacts

CzechInvest:

  • Jana Kohoutová (spokesperson)
  • +420 720 965 969
  • jana.kohoutova@czechinvest.org

The Ministry of Industry and Trade:

  • Štěpánka Filipová (spokesperson)
  • +420 724 302 802
  • filipova@mpo.cz
Further information can be found here: Hack the crisis

Czech students, together with Insane Business Ideas s.r.o. (CEE Hacks) with the support of the capital city of Prague, prg.ai, FIT CTU, UNICO.AI and uLékaře.cz are organizing UniHack, an online hackathon that will take place from Friday 1 to Sunday 3 May 2020. The aim of the project is to come up with quick-to-implement ideas that will help companies, organizations and places that were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The judges will evaluate the ideas according to three categories: feasibility, contribution to combating the consequences of COVID 19 and innovation. The organizers and partners will help to finalize the selected ideas and bring them to the worlds, ideally in cooperation with the research team. All published “hacks” will be open-source, ie accessible to all participants in the hackathon, including partners and the public. The goal is to help everyone who needs it, as much as possible.

Main topics:

  • A city serving people
  • Education for the future
  • Transformation and stabilization of companies
  • AI and the use of data potential
  • Smarter healthcare

The specific calls will be published on Wednesday, 29 April 2020.

A total of 5 teams will be awarded and the best team in each challenge will receive a prize of CZK 10,000. The organizers can also announce the absolute winner of the hackathon, who will receive another CZK 10,000. In addition, hackathon partners can award their own prize to solution teams of their choice.

Who can join?

  • INNOVATORS: Students, creatives, professionals or amateurs; already formed teams with ideas or individuals who join a team on the spot
  • COMPANIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Businesses or institutions looking for new ideas, unconventional views and innovations
  • MENTORS: Experts with knowledge of the functioning of companies and institutions who can direct efforts in the right direction

The whole hackathon is free of charge for the participants. All you need to participate in the hackathon is a computer with an internet connection, a tablet or a mobile phone. Everything will be solved via the web, Slack, Zoom, Facebook or Youtube. All communication will run online, you don’t have to be in any particular place.

The application deadline is Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Further information can be found here: //www.unihack.cz/

Initiatives

In response to the coronavirus pandemic at the end of March, an application for linking supply and demand was put into operation and is available at www.covpoint.org. The application, created by the CzechInvest and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, already contains more than 1,400 items, 60 companies have been connected, 12 technology transfers are being resolved and the Czech Republic is merging more than 90 projects in one place. The state, local government, academia, private entities, non-profit organizations and communities can participate in the ever-evolving information system.


“Thanks to CoVpoint, it was possible, among other things, to connect the medical office, which needed drapes and disinfection, with the company that manufactures them. There was also a supply of gloves for a nursing home or special cotton children’s gloves. In the area of ​​technology transfer, 12 projects are currently being addressed, such as masks from the Czech Technical University, a lung scanner from Linet or cooperation between Sigma and Acam Solution in automating the line for the production of protective filters,” says Patrik Reichl, CEO of CzechInvest.


CoVpoint, which is managed by CzechInvest, is coordinated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and cooperates with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Interior and the Office of the Government. The Confederation of Industry and Transport is also involved and it is a matter of cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce.

Anyone who would like to join the CoVpoint system can do so at the official e-mail address: covpoint@mpo.cz.