Vouchers for Startups – New Green and Digital Products

For startups Entrepreneurs

Vouchers for Startups - New Green and Digital Products - are a financial support for startups with projects within the green and digital areas, in the amount of 30 thousand euros per startup.

This is a measure cofinanced by the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR) and by the European Union. You can find out more in recuperarportugal.gov.pt. The implementation of the measure “Voucher for Startups - New Green and Digital Products”, includes a total allocation of 90 million euros. This second tender includes 65 million euros. Read the Notice here.

Update!

UPDATE 01.02.2024: Please be advised that applications for Notice No. 16/C16-i02/2023 of the measure “Vouchers for Startups – New Green and Digital Products” are now closed.

Application process

To submit your application, follow these steps:
– Pre-register your entity at Balcão dos Fundos and submit the information of your startup in all fields;
– Register on the Simplified Access Platform (PAS), where the startup information will be pre-filled (with information from Balcão dos Fundos);
– Start a new application on the Simplified Access Platform (PAS) and choose the tender for “Vouchers para Startups – Novos Produtos Verdes e Digitais”

Projects must be developed by startups that have (or want to develop) digital, scalable, green business models, products or services, and:
i) in sectors with a higher intensity of technology and knowledge, or
ii) that value the application of R&D results in the production of new goods and services.

  • Have been established for less than 10 years;
  • To be an incorporated company in Portugal;
  • To be an SME, of any nature or under any legal form. In order to prove their SME status, companies must obtain or update the corresponding Electronic Certification, through the IAPMEI website.
  • To be registered at Balcão dos Fundos;
  • Startups whose CAE (equivalent to NACE code) is mentioned in Annex 3 (see this link) or Annex 8 (see this link) of the Eurostat indicators.

  • Human resources costs;
  • Expenses with accreditation or technological certification of human resources;
    Acquisition of Specialised External Services (business process digitisation, marketing services, etc.)
  • Acquisition or operational leasing of equipment, licensing or software subscription costs;
  • Costs with the protection/enhancement of intellectual property rights;
  • Indirect costs.

  • Relevance of the project vs. the objectives of the program;
  • Beneficiaries’ capacity of implementation;
  • Impact of the project on the competitiveness of the Beneficiaries.

  • Initial advance with the signature of the Term of Acceptance as pre-financing in the amount of 7,500 euros;
  • 2 quarterly advances, amounting to 7,500 euros;
  • Final payment of 7,500 euros, with the submission of a final payment request with the eligible expenses incurred, to be submitted within 90 days after the physical and financial completion of the project.

The selection process is carried out on a quarterly basis, taking into account the date on which applications are received (quarterly cut-offs).

Alternatively, the period in question begins when the call for proposals closes, given that the budget allocation has been exhausted.

Any questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

See below or download here [document in PT] the most frequently asked questions to clarify your doubts.

  • What does the RRP support for startups consist of? Within the scope of the measure Startup Vouchers – New Green and Digital Products, the RRP support is non-refundable, with fixed amounts of EUR 30,000 per application, according to the conditions set out in the Notice of the Open Call for Tenders. This support will be allocated under the “De Minimis Aid Scheme”, Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1407/2013, of 18 December; with a funding rate of 100% of eligible expenditures under the terms defined in the Notice of the Open Call for Tenders.
  • What is the foreseen budget allocation for the measure? The implementation of the measure “Startup Vouchers – New Green and Digital Products” contemplates a total allocation of EUR 90 million, and will enable the development of digital business models, products or services with a positive contribution to climate transition through a highly efficient use of resources, which allow the reduction of pollution impact, foster circular economy, lead to new solutions for energy production and/or are characterised by the use of Open Data or Artificial Intelligence. The second Notice of Application (AAC) launched contemplates an allocation of EUR 65 million.
  • In the case an entity proceeds to a Corporate Change and change and/or inclusion of CAE (Economic Activity Code) does it affect, in any way, its eligibility as a potential beneficiary of this measure? The eligibility criteria for final beneficiaries are those defined in article 7 of Ministerial Order
    135-A/2022 and, under the scope of this Notice of Application (AAC), the startups which take the form of an SME, of any nature or legal form, which have been created less than 10 years ago, are eligible. For the purposes of proving SME status, companies should obtain or update the corresponding
    Electronic Certification foreseen in Decree-Law No. 372/2007, of 6 November, as amended by Decree-Law No. 143/2009, of 16 June, on the IAPMEI website. Therefore, and in what concerns the eligibility criteria, these shall be validated according to what was indicated at the date of the submission of the application.

  • Do the final beneficiaries have to make any prior application to ignition or acceleration programmes before the submission of their project? No. The development of projects included in ignition programmes may be an initiative of the entity, and projects that are underway or that will be developed based on this support may be considered within the framework.
  • For startups that are not part of sectors with a greater focus on technology and knowledge, but that value the application of R&D results, does the operation necessarily have to be framed within the “support for the development of pilot projects” typology? Not necessarily. The startups that value the application of R&D results may also be financed through the typology “Launch or Growth”, depending on the justification and framework presented by the promoter in the application.
  • What is meant by open data or use of artificial intelligence and could it be one or the other, or both? As stated in section 5 of NOTICE No. 10/C16-i02/2022, in addition to the eligibility criteria for projects defined in Article 8 of Ministerial Order No. 135-A/2022, of 1 April, the projects must be developed by startups that have or want to develop digital business models, products or services, with a green component, AND:

– in sectors with a greater focus on technology and knowledge
OR
– that value the application of R&D results in the production of new goods and services, enhancing market success with innovative activities and added value.

Therefore, and considering what is stipulated in the Notice, the promoter must uphold the framework. At this stage, it is not possible for us to identify or analyse any generic or isolated proposals that do not allow us to assess their efficiency or positive effect, as well as the framing of expenditures (we suggest the consultation of section 7.1 of the Notice) within the objectives
defined and identified in the Notice.

  • In the typology of operations, what are the criteria that define if a company is (still) in the launch phase? Regarding this question, we would like to inform that there are different criteria that categorise the different phases in the life cycle of companies (Constitution, Launch and Growth), based on scalability factors (Business Volume and Human Resources Structure), as
    well as life span. However, in terms of legislation there is no National or European definition. Therefore, and for the purposes of this Notice, Beneficiaries must indicate the phase they are in, regardless of longevity or economic criteria. In effect, the spirit of Notice No. 16/C16-i02/2023
    synthesises the support of all stages of the life cycle of a startup (see eligible entities in section 6 of the aforementioned Notice), up to 10 years of activity.This way, it is expected that the beneficiary, when applying, will match the type of expenditures associated to the proposed project, with the phase of the company’s life cycle at the time of the application (simplified for launch or growth, for the purposes of metrics and indicators), if this typology of operations is chosen.

  • Regarding eligible expenditures with human resources:

    – Can a payroll that is higher than 75% of eligible costs be presented and apportioned for the purposes of compliance with the expenditure limit? Yes. The maximum amount of support to be granted to expenditures with the Human Resources Structure is 75% of the total amount of the Voucher (EUR 30,000). However, the project may present investments higher than those mentioned, and the eligible expenditure will always be restricted to the maximum amount of EUR 30,000.– Is there any obligation to keep the jobs after the project ends? If so, for how long? Under this measure there is no obligation to keep the jobs after the project has finished.– Does payroll include holiday and Christmas bonuses, plus social security contributions when considering 18 months? Yes. The cost of the base monthly salary plus social contributions borne by the promoter entity, including holiday and Christmas bonuses, during the implementation period of the project, related to the recruitment of new technical staff and/or to the total or partial imputation of technical staff of the beneficiary entity, are considered eligible expenditures. The maximum amount of support to be granted to expenditures related to the Human Resources Structure is 75% of the total amount of the Voucher (EUR 30,000).
  • Are projects that in some way contribute to the climate transition eligible, or only projects that aim to reduce pollution impact, foster circular economy, etc.? As stated in section 5 of Notice No. 10/C16-i02/2022, the projects must be developed by startups that cumulatively meet the following 3 conditions in order to be eligible:
    A – Have or want to develop digital business models, products or services
    B – With a green component;
    AND
    i) In sectors with a greater focus on technology and knowledge OR
    ii) that value the application of R&D results in the production of new goods and services.

  • Are all sectors of activity eligible? Which are the corresponding CAEs (Economic Activity Codes) for the “sectors with a greater focus on technology and knowledge”? The activity sectors eligible for funding are described in Notice No. 16/C16-i02/2023. However, in order to validate the different activities or CAE (Economic Activity Codes) that fit the definition of the notice, such as, for example, “…with a green component and in sectors with a greater focus on technology and knowledge [1] or that value the application of R&D results in the production of new goods and services,…”, the Annexes identified in the Notice should be consulted: Annex 3 (see this link) and Annex 8 (see this link).
  • In the application, is it necessary to present a set of activities or just the areas in which you will operate? When filling out the application form, it will be necessary to identify the objectives, the time schedule, as well as the justifications of the project framework, along with the investment framework related to the eligible expenditures foreseen by the promoters.
  • Do the companies have to be technological or can there be companies from other areas? As stated in section 5 of Notice No. 16/C16-i02/2023, in addition to the eligibility criteria for projects defined in Article 8 of Ministerial Order 135-A/2022, of 1 April, the projects must be developed by startups that have or want to develop digital business models, products or
    services, with a green component AND:
    – in sectors with a greater focus on technology and knowledge
    OR
    – that value the application of R&D results in the production of new goods and services, boosting market success, in innovative and added-value activities.Therefore, and considering what is stipulated in the Notice, the promoter must uphold the framework.At this stage, it is not possible for us to identify or analyse any generic or isolated proposals that do not allow us to assess their efficiency or positive effect, as well as the framing of expenditures (we suggest the consultation of section 7.1 of the Notice) within the objectives defined and identified in the Notice.

  • Who can apply to the Notice for “Startup Vouchers – New Green and Digital Products”? The eligibility criteria for final beneficiaries are those defined in article 7 of Ministerial Order 135-A/2022, and under the scope of this Notice of Application (AAC), the startups which take the form of an SME, of any nature or legal form, which have been created less than 10 years
    ago, are eligible. For the purposes of proving SME status, companies should obtain or update the corresponding Electronic Certification foreseen in Decree-Law No. 372/2007, of 6 November, as amended by Decree-Law No. 143/2009, of 16 June, on the IAPMEI website.
  • Within the scope of the Notice for Startup Vouchers, can a Sole Trader with simplified or organised accounting present an application to the programme, and should they proceed with the SME Certification? Within the Notice for Startup Vouchers, Sole Traders are eligible entities as long as they have
    organised accounting, or if they do not, they must have begun their activity before the application date, as well as completed and submitted the SME Online Certification.
  • Does the notice require a minimum age for the promoter? The notice makes no reference to the age factor. Section 6: Eligible Entities states that “In
    addition to the eligibility criteria for final beneficiaries in article 7 of Ministerial Order No. 135-A/2022, and under the scope of this Notice of Application (AAC), the startups which take the form of an SME, of any nature or legal form, which have been created less than 10 years ago,
    are eligible. For the purposes of proving SME status, companies should obtain or update the corresponding Electronic Certification foreseen in Decree-Law No. 372/2007, of 6 November, as amended by Decree-Law No. 143/2009, of 16 June, on the IAPMEI website”.
  • Do startups have to be registered as companies in Portugal or can they be foreign? In order to be entitled to eligibility and financial contribution under a national incentive scheme, a company must have a corporate taxpayer identification number and be established in Portugal.
  • If an entity makes a corporate change and changes and/or adds a CAE, does this in any way affect its eligibility as a potential beneficiary of this measure? The eligibility criteria for final beneficiaries are those defined in Article 7 of Ministerial Order 135-A/2022, and within the scope of this AAC, startups that take the form of SMEs, of any nature or legal form, which have been created less than 10 years ago, are eligible. In order to prove their SME status, companies must obtain or update the corresponding Electronic Certification provided for in Decree-Law No. 372/2007, of November 6, as amended by Decree-Law No. 143/2009, of June 16, via the IAPMEI website. As such, with regard to the eligibility criteria, they are validated according to what was indicated on the date the application was submitted, and any adjustments made afterwards will be subject to further validation, ensuring that the assumptions made in the application are maintained.
  • What are the procedures for classifying the project’s CAE? When applying, the entity must select the project’s CAE. Note that the CAE excluded under this measure also apply to the project’s CAE, and their selection will have an impact on the project’s eligibility.

  • What expenditures are eligible for this support? Section 7.1, “Eligible expenditures”, identifies the expenditures that may be taken into
    consideration, and which consist of the following:
    i. Costs with existing human resources, or those to be hired, for the activities to be developed within the scope of the project, up to 75% of the total eligible costs;
    ii. Expenditures related to accreditation or technological certification of human resources;
    iii. Acquisition of Specialised External Services, such as support services for the digitalisation of business processes, marketing services, product and service development, consultancy and other specialised services to pursue the objectives of the project;
    iv. Acquisition or operational leasing of equipment, as well as software licensing or subscription costs, intended for the activities to be developed within the scope of the project;
    v. Costs related to the protection/valuation of intellectual property rights;
    vi. Indirect costs.
  • What expenditures are excluded from this support? The following are considered non-eligible expenditures:
    – Normal operating costs of the beneficiary, not foreseen in the contracted investment, as well as maintenance and replacement costs, and costs related to periodic or continuous activities;
    – Investments arising from obligations that are a result of concession agreements or contracts with the State or compliance with legal obligations applicable to the proposed activities;
    – Cash payments, except in situations where this proves to be the most common means of payment, depending on the nature of the expenditures, and provided that the unit amount is less than EUR 250;
    – Expenditures paid under contracts concluded through intermediaries or consultants, where the amount to be paid is expressed as a percentage of the amount financed by the RRP or of the eligible expenditures for the project;
    – Acquisition of second-hand goods;
    – Value Added Tax (VAT), recoverable or not by the beneficiary;
    – Acquisition of vehicles, aircrafts and other transport equipment;
    – Interest and financial charges;
    – Working capital;
    – Acquisition of real estate, including land;
    – Leasehold and rights of use of property;
    – Standard advertising;
    – Preparation of applications.

  • What are the minimum and maximum amounts of total costs that may be presented within the scope of this tender? Is the support always EUR 30,000, regardless of the total eligible cost? Within the scope of this tender, the minimum investment amount is EUR 30,000, and the value of the vouchers is fixed in the amount of EUR 30,000 (corresponding to a 100% nonrefundable incentive rate). The amount presented may be higher, but never lower than EUR 30,000; even if the amount of the investment submitted is higher than EUR 30.000, the eligible expenditure shall always be restricted to EUR 30,000, corresponding to a EUR 30,000 voucher.
  • Are entities that have received support under PT2020 eligible to apply? Yes, as long as they are in line with the “De Minimis Aid Scheme”, Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1407/2013, of 18 December.
  • Does the framing within the typology “support for the development of pilot projects” presuppose that the operation is based on projects previously framed and formalised in other R&DT, PT2020 or SIFIDE funding programmes, for example? No. The development of pilot projects may be an initiative of the entity, and projects that are underway or will be developed using this support may be included.

  • If the project only has 12 months for execution, are the values of the quarterly advances adjusted in proportion to the shorter time period or is the adjustment made in the final payment? Regarding the periodic payments, these are fixed and in the amount of EUR 7,500 each. If the promoter submits the payment request before the final payment, the interim payments that
    have not yet been processed will be suspended, and the adjustments will be made in the final payment request.

  • Regarding outcome indicators, do the number of digital products and services with a positive contribution to climate transition have to be new? No. Provided that they are duly framed within the objectives set out in the Notice, they are eligible.
  • From the moment a company submits the IES2022, can it immediately use that economic-financial data to ascertain the eligibility ratios? For the validation of the eligibility conditions, the data regarding the pre-project years, which correspond to the year prior to the year of the application, are considered. Thus, if the company only submitted the application in 2023, the pre-project year to be considered will be the year 2022; if the application was submitted in 2022, the pre-project year to be considered will be the year 2021.
  • Can a company with negative equity capital in 2021 apply for this tender? Regarding the eligibility of promoters, this is defined in section 6 of Notice No. 10/C16-i02/2022. Therefore, in addition to the eligibility criteria for final beneficiaries defined in article 7 of Ministerial Order 135-A/2022, and under the scope of this Notice of Application (AAC), the startups which take the form of an SME, of any nature or legal form, which have been created
    less than 10 years ago, are eligible. For the purposes of proving SME status, companies should obtain or update the corresponding Electronic Certification foreseen in Decree-Law No.372/2007, of 6 November, as amended by Decree-Law No. 143/2009, of 16 June, on the IAPMEI website.
    It should be noted that, according to Article 7 of Ministerial Order 135-A/2022, the eligibility criteria for beneficiaries are as follows:
    a) Must be legally constituted;
    b) Must have fulfilled all obligations related to taxes and social security, respectively, to be verified at the time of the signing of the acceptance of terms;
    c) To be able to legally develop the activities in the territory covered by the typology of operations and the investments being applied for, including compliance with applicable EU and national environmental legislation;
    d) To have, or be able to ensure, until the application is approved, the technical, physical and financial means and human resources necessary for the development of the operation;
    e) Demonstrate the capacity to finance the project;
    f) To have fulfilled all claims relating to European funds;
    g) To have organised accounting in accordance with the applicable legislation;
    h) Have a legally constituted establishment in any of the NUTS II regions;
    i) Does not fall within the concept of a company in difficulty according to the definition set out in Article 2(18) of the GBER, or demonstrate that such a situation has resulted from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, whereas the conditions set out in Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/972 of 2 July 2020 apply;
    j) Declare that it is not a company subject to an outstanding recovery order
    following a previous European Commission decision declaring an aid illegal and incompatible with the internal market as foreseen;
    k) Comply with State aid rules;
    l) Not holding or having held capital in a percentage greater than 50%, personally or by their spouse, not separated from people and goods, or by their ascendants and descendants up to the 1st degree, as well as by the person living with them in similar conditions to those of spouses, in a company that has not complied with a notification for returning support within the scope of an operation supported by European funds;
    m) Not having submitted the same investments for an application where the decision process is still ongoing or where the decision regarding the financing request has been favourable, except in situations where a withdrawal has been presented.Thus, despite having a negative net worth in 2021, as long as there is compliance with the stipulations in the abovementioned points, and in particular with the stipulations in point i), as well as the stipulations in section 6 of NOTICE No. 16/C16-i02/2023, it is considered that the company meets the conditions defined to be considered an eligible entity.

  • What is the Safety Matrix referred to in the application form comprised of?
    The cybersecurity matrix provided in the form corresponds to the generic risks identified during the preparation and approval of the RRP by the European Commission for the referred measure, as well as the consequent mitigation proposals suggested. Therefore, in order to facilitate the promoter’s application process, a template was made available, which can be downloaded, signed by the company’s responsible staff and then uploaded to the application form. This procedure means that the promoter is aware of the risks and agrees with the suggested mitigation proposals.Notwithstanding this fact, if the promoter prefers to adopt different proposals or if for any reason there is a mistake in the upload of the document, the possibility to present the respective proof of awareness regarding the risks associated with the measure and the presentation of mitigation proposals for all the referred risks will be granted until the signature of the Acceptance of Terms.It is further informed that an identical procedure should be adopted for the “Do No Significant Harm” (DNSH) principle, identifying the promoter that ensures its compliance.