EU4Business: Connecting Companies

Calls

The EU4BCC project aims to support sustainable economic development and job creation in the EaP countries by helping SMEs to grow – especially by promoting increased trade, encouraging inward investment and fostering business links with companies in the EU.

In the EU4Business: Connecting Companies, 5 Sectorial Consortia will be selected through Call for Expressions of Interest (EoI). Each Consortium will comprise a minimum of 1 EU and 1 EaP Chambers (maximum 4 EU & EaP Chambers per sector) who will manage the selected sector aiming at the implementation of the long term strategy developed by Board of Experts towards improving the competitiveness of the sector covered.

This Call for Expressions of Interest (EoI) is launched to identify, for each sector, EU and EaP Chambers (CCIs) which will be responsible for monitoring, supervising and reporting the subgrants taking into account the Board of Sectorial Experts’ recommendations.

Deadline to submit expressions of interest:
FRIDAY 17 JULY 2020

Candidates interested to apply are invited to submit an application in accordance with the rules set out in the call. In order to submit your proposal please follow the link below:

 

Presentation of the Call for Expressions of Interest:
slides
video presentation (webinar)

FAQ

This section has been produced on the basis of the questions received through the project’s contact email (eu4bcc@eurochambres.eu), during the networking sessions, and during the presentation of the call for expressions of interest. Please note the project team is not allowed to give answers to questions by email and this is the reason why this FAQ section has been created.

The FAQ will be updated on a weekly basis.
The deadline to ask for clarifications concerning this call is TUESDAY, 23 JUNE. The last update of the FAQ will be published on Friday, June 26.

There is not a document called “guidelines” as such, however, all the necessary information on how to prepare the proposal (composition on the consortia, desired targets, implementation approach, budget preparation….) can be found in the annexes of the call that have been published on the page of the call. On the same page of the call you can also find the general clarifications published on the 24th of June 2020.

Yes, as long as each of the participants of the consortium takes part in a maximum of 2 applications in 2 different sectors. If one of the participants is involved in 3 proposals, none of the submitted proposals will be evaluated.

Yes, as long as the 2 proposals are targeting 2 different sectors.

BSO – business support organisation – can be a chamber of commerce or a different entity. Affiliated entity refers to the relationship/connection with EUROCHAMBRES (part of our network).

The call requires each applicant consortium to be formed by at least two CCI (one from EU and one from EaP countries). This first call is only opened for CCIs that have ties with EUROCHAMBRES, being affiliated entities to our network.

All the affiliated chambers shall be explicitly mentioned in the proposal during the application process. The number of partners needs to meet the requirements of the call.

In this section each participating CCI needs to specify which kind of relationship links the organisation with EUROCHAMBRES.

The understanding is correct. One organisation can be part of 2 different consortia but in 2 different sectors, for instance: A CCI can participate in a consortia focused on wine and in one focused on bio-/organic food. If the same CCI participate in 2 consortia focused on wine, the applications of the 2 consortia where the CCI participated will be disqualified.

The same applicant cannot submit more than 1 proposal in the same sector. The same chamber can take part in two proposing partnerships in two different sectors. If the same chamber takes part in 2 different proposals in the same sector, the proposals will not be evaluated.

No, only the leader of the consortium needs to register. The documents will have to be uploaded by the consortium leader, just like in any other application for EU projects.

The submission of a proposal only requires to complete and upload the annexes provided on the project’s website. No additional agreement or Power of Attorney is required at this stage. However, the members of each consortium are free to sign letters of mandates, pre-agreements, etc. internally, if they deem it necessary, but these documents don’t need to submitted through the system.

There are no guidelines in this regard. The CCIs are free to shape the proposal as they want, it could be more generic or more specific. The proposal and the way it is shaped has to be logic, fully justified and consistent.
  • Check the inbox of the email used for registration
  • Check the spam
  • Once you find the link, please click on it to VALIDATE your registration

For more info on the process you can also check the slides (presentation of the call).

If you saved your draft before leaving the submission system, the system has saved your modifications. To enter the system again you need to click on the link received when your initial registration has been done (the validation link). This will bring you to your – in progress – submission. You can also check the slides from the presentation of the call.

The Consortium will not directly implement any study visit/twinning/business to business matching. For the role of the consortium, please see the general clarifications published above on this page.

There is only one single project (EU4Business: Connecting Companies) which will be supporting 59 events/activities in total. The distribution of the events per sector is as follows:

  • 12 activities in the Bio/organic food sector
  • 11 activities in the Wine sector
  • 12 activities in the Tourism sector
  • 12 activities in the Textile
  • 12 activities in the Creative industries sector

Summing up the above 5 lines takes us to a total of 59 activities. Each activity will be financed with a max. of euro 60.000,00. If there will be proposals submitted for less than 60.000,00 euro, the remaining amounts can be used to further finance additional activities.

The indicators to be achieved per action should, at least, reach the following:

  • Wine consortium: a minimum of 11 act. (maximum amount of 60.000,00 euro per grant)
  • Bio/organic food, tourism, textiles and creative industries: a min. of 12 act. (at a max. of 60.000,00 euro per grant)

Yes, the European Commission requires every member of the Consortium to be registered in PADOR and this will be verified during the evaluation process. If any of the applicants (lead applicant or consortium member) will not be registered in PADOR, the entire consortium will be excluded.

You can access the PADOR registration / sign up page by clicking here. PADOR has now a dedicated app that can be downloaded by users directly from the signing website for a quicker and easier use. Additionally, all the information regarding PADOR, the European Online registration services, can be found by clicking here.

Last but not least, the European Commission Authentication Services has a dedicated helpdesk to clarify any question regarding PADOR registration. For external users the contact email is the following: EU-LOGIN-EXTERNAL-SUPPORT@ec.europa.eu.

Yes. You need to first register in the submission system. In order to register you  need to access the submission website (https://submissions.connectingcompanies.eu/). There is a link also from the website of the project (http://connectingcompanies.eu/index.php/calls/). Required information includes: Name, surname, organization, and mail address. Once the registration is submitted, you will receive a verification email with a link to complete the registration. When this step is completed the application of the call can be started.

Regional and local Chambers from the network of EUROCHAMBRES can also participate in this call.

Yes. Regional and local Chambers from the network of EUROCHAMBRES can also participate in this call.

No, this call for expressions of interest is restricted to our network of chambers, at national, regional and local level. The call for proposals (to be issued indicatively in December 2020) will be open to all BSOs (Business Support Organisations).

In this first call for Expressions of Interest, the answer is Yes. All the chambers who wish to apply need to be part of the EUROCHAMBRES. However, this won´t be a requirement in the second call that will be published at the end of the year/beginning of next year.

The call of expression of interests is aimed at any EU or EaP CCI which can demonstrate a structural link with the applicant which is EUROCHAMBRES. Consequently associations of CCIs as such are not eligible, however, individual  CCIs that are members of any other wider association that are interested in participating  in the sectorial consortia  can submit their  applications,  however the structural link should be between the individual CCI and EUROCHAMBRES.

No, this call for expressions of interest is restricted to our network of chambers, at national, regional and local level. All members of the consortium need to meet the requirement of the call indicating each member needs to be part of the EUROCHAMBRES’ network. Should the consortium be formed in a different manner than the one indicated, the proposal submitted will be disqualified and therefore not assessed. The call for proposals (to be issued indicatively in December 2020) will be open to all BSOs (Business Support Organisations).

If you refer to the possibility of having one chamber of commerce submitting two different applications for two consortia, yes, the whole application procedure will have to be done twice, one with each consortium.

If you refer to the possibility of participating in the second call that will be published later on in 2020, the instructions and information will be published on the website and on social media at the right juncture. However, chambers of the five selected consortia won´t be eligible to participate in the second call.

The second call for proposals will be published on EU4BCC website and the submission of proposals will be centralized through a submission system connected to this platform.

The authorized representative is the legal representative of the lead CCI. Annexes 4 and 5 have to be signed by the authorized person of each applicant CCI.

The timeline to implement activities is 20 months starting from the date of signature of amendment of the EU Grant contract (foreseen date October 2020). Please note that 11 events are for the wine sector, the other 4 sectors shall include 12 events each.

The purpose of the first call is to identify specific entities into the EaP and EU countries to monitor the implemented actions in each sector and to do the reporting, etc. and, as such, it is only opened for chambers of commerce from EU and EaP countries. The second call is expected to be launched in late 2020/beginning of 2021 and will be open to all EaP and EU BSOs and SMEs

The main indicators can be found into the Logical Framework (Annex 7). They include the following targets:

  1. Increase competitiveness of the selected sectors across the EaP countries
  2. Increase the business contacts/networks:
    • 40% increase (12 BSOs), at least 5 BSOs from EaP and their counterparts in the EU
    • At least 40 SMEs per sector from EaP involved in the matchmaking
  3. Sectorial networks of EU and EaP BSOs and SMEs to foster further collaboration: At least 150 BSOs/SMEs per sector, including members of board of experts, sector consortia, twinning partners and SMEs (by end 2022)
  4. Enhance capacity of EaP sectorial BSOs to represent and support their member SMEs:
    • At least 12 BSOs are mobilized, trained and institutionally strengthened to provide better services
    • Minimum 3 new relevant services are developed and offered by BSOs
    • Minimum 10% increase in their membership
  5. Establish partnerships between EaP and EU BSOs to increase international trade and support SME internationalization:
    • At least 3 MoU or other agreements signed between EU and EaP BSOs
    • At least 4 B2B matchings
    • At least 4 Study visits
  6. Increase number of EaP SMEs collaborating with EU/EaP SMEs:
    • 20% of the SMEs accessing the BSOs services
    • 30% of the SMEs are women-led
    • 20% of the SMEs are in rural areas
    • 60+ business meetings organized
    • At least 8 promising partnerships created
    • At least 5% of SMEs increase their trade flow
  7. Increase awareness/understanding among EU enterprises on trade environment and sectorial opportunities in EaP countries:
    • 200 SMEs reached per country
    • 9 testimonials or success stories to be shared on Social Media channels

The members of the selected Consortia are not allowed to participate in the second call for proposals. Their responsibility will be to monitor the implementation of the activities together with EUROCHAMBRES.

This is not related to this first call but to the second which will be published by the end of the year. The necessary guidelines and instructions will be published at the right juncture on the project’s website and consortia will be shaping the call together with EUROCHAMBRES and under the supervision of the EC.

The implementation of the activities will be handled in the second call for proposals (to be published by the end of 2020). The current call is targeting the 5 sectorial consortia that will be monitoring those activities.

The activities are expected to be distributed as follows:

  • 1-2 BSOs study visits to European countries with around 20 relevant participants (10 from EU and 10 from EaP countries)
  • 5 Business meetings with around 80 relevant participants (40 from EU and 40 from EaP countries)
  • 4+ BSO supported through twinning

Each consortium is responsible for the activities of each project, including the launching of the second call for proposals, the selection of the beneficiaries, the monitoring of the activities and the financial and technical reporting. The activities won’t be implemented by the consortium but by the final beneficiaries. However, the Sectorial Consortium should ensure that the expected outputs of the actions are met. They should shape the call, monitor the activities, check the reports, etc. keeping an eye on the Key Performance Indicators.

The logical framework mentions the following result chain: “Partnerships between BSOs from the EaP countries and EU established to increase international trade and support internationalisation of their member SMEs” in order to quantify this result (goal) the target is: a) At least 3 MoU or other agreements signed between EU and EaP BSOs b) At least 4 B2B matchings and c) At least 4 Study visits and / or twinnings.

While the a)1-2 BSOs study visits, b) 5 Business meetings and c) 4+ BSO supported through twinning, relates to the desired distribution of the activities in the proposal and is consistent with the requirement of min. 11 actions in the wine sector and min. 12 actions in all the other sectors.

We have updated the Logical framework inserting the part in red.

It is not forbidden to have online meetings or events. However, the core activities (see the general clarifications) are expected to be designed, budgeted and implemented as face-to-face activities. Monitoring, for instance, cannot be budgeted as an online activity.

If you make reference to the logical framework (Result Chain: Capacify of EaP Sectorial BSOs enhanced to represent and support their member SMEs), the answer is no. The indication to mobilize at least 12 BSOs refers to the fact that, after the implementation of the activities in one sector, the indicators should show the specific goals are attained (and, among these goals, the one specifying that at least 12 BSOs mobilized, trained and institutionally strengthened to provide better services.).

The project indicators are explained in the answer above.

The distribution of activities leading to the indicators above explained requires to include the following:

  • 1-2 BSOs study visits to EU countries with ± 20 relevant participants (10 from EU + 10 from EaP countries)
  • 5 Business to business matching with ± 80 relevant participants (40 from EU + 40 from EaP countries), leading to 20 promising partnerships and business cooperation (contracts, subcontracts, investment etc. signed)
  • 4+ BSOs supported through twinning to provide new or better services.

The responsible party is the sectorial consortium (who shapes the call for proposals, pre-assesses the proposals and monitors the implementation of the activities).

The Result chain “Capacity of EaP sectorial BSOs enhanced to represent ad support their members” has three indicators a) number of EaP BSOs participating in twinnings, b) number of sector-specific services developed based on strategic recommendations, and c) % of increase in membership. The target of 12 BSOs are mobilized refers to the indicator a) and as such is the same for every sector, regardless on the number of activities that will be organised.

The target should be min. 11 for the wine sector. The Consortia preparing a proposal for the wine sector can indeed be able to finance more than 11 actions if the activities to grant do not require the entire max. amount of 60.000 euro per action. If you save 10 k from, let us say, 4 actions, and have 40 k available, you can proceed in financing a 12th action.

There will be an advance payment. Each consortium will receive a pre-financing, but it will not be for a specific activity (i.e. events, as you mention in your question).

EU4BCC is a grant contract and, as such, the budget is based on real cost: real staff cost reflected on salary sheets and timesheets.

No, EUROCHAMBRES will pay the final beneficiaries of the activities directly.

Yes, in the event you want to participate in two different consortia, the whole application (from Annex A to Annex C) will have to be redone and re-submitted.

In principle no. Every activity should have her own budget and travel. However, this does not concern this call, as the Consortia will not be financing the activities from the budget of the consortium (i.e. from the budget you are now shaping).

Business to business matching have been designed to enhance SMEs business contacts and trade opportunities, i.e. has SMEs as target final beneficiary.

Each Consortium should plan its budget considering only face-to-face and on-site monitoring activities.

The responsible party is the sectorial consortium. EUROCHAMBRES has already implemented the initial survey (results in the Annex 1 and 2 to the General inception report published here: http://connectingcompanies.eu/index.php/reports/. The second survey will be launched by EUROCHAMBRES, but consortia will need to ensure participation of BSOs and SMEs.

Be careful: The result mentioned in the logical framework says “support sectorial BSOs to enhance EaP SMEs internationalization, export capacities and access to new markets” and the related targets are: a) 40% (12 BSOs) increase of business contacts, b) at least 5 BSOs from EaP and their counterparts in EU involved in the action and c) at least 40 SMEs per sector from EaP involved in the matchmaking.

The sectorial consortium is responsible for the financial and technical reporting of each of the activities. EUROCHAMBRES´ task in this regard is to: collect the reports from each consortium, ensure the provided information is complete and accurate and consolidate the reports for the EC. For more details see the general clarifications published on June 24th 2020 above.

No, financial support to third parties is handled and paid directly by EUROCHAMBRES so this amount does not have to be considered in your budget.

The travel costs for the participants in the study group is financial support to 3rd parties. This shall not be included in the budget of this call which shall only consider the monitoring of the activities that will be financed by the second call. However, the current call (Call for EOI) budget should consider the travels of the allocated employees that are implementing the project.

The SMEs are not allowed to participate in this call for expressions of interest. Their travel costs might be considered into the call each consortia will issue (indicatively in late 2020). The question received therefore does not concern this call and the budget of the current potential applicants (i.e. CCIs submitting a proposal for the current call for expressions of interest).  

The amounts shown in the budget are estimations based on the activities to be implemented. The total amount of each budget line has to be respected meaning that you can propose lower amounts than indicated but not higher amounts, otherwise the proposal would be considered non-eligible.

Yes, additional budget lines can be added, as long as the costs are eligible and total cost does not exceed the total amount of each budget line

The definition of BSO provided by the EU includes the following organisations: “sector business and trade associations, sector departments within the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and other trade support institutions, quality management institutions (including laboratories), sector-specific consulting companies as well as other formal and informal establishments supporting the sector”.

Yes, the whole application, from Annex A to Annex C will have to be redone and re-submitted.

There is not an optimal number of staff to allocate. The number of employees depends on the amount of tasks, assigned staff and estimated time that each employee will dedicate to the project. It is important to ensure that the number of person-days and the intended activities are aligned and coherent. Please note that we will only allow for employment contracts, so in-house consulting contracts will not be accepted for staff costs.

There are no guidelines. The budget shall be split based on the tasks and person-days allocated to each applicant/co-applicant.

No, since this are considered contribution “in kind” and this type of contributions are not accepted in this call.

The travel is limited in the budget at 11,600 euro per sector. Keep in mind that we expect the applicants to include at least 1) 12 (11 for the wine sector) monitoring visits and 2) two trips to Brussels for the kick off and the final conference.

ECH will pay the pre-financing to the Consortium leader. The leader will then distribute the pre-financing to the partners in the consortium.

The main indicators have been defined in order to evaluate the level of success of the actions implemented by each consortium and they can be found into the Annex 7 – Logical Framework. They are also explained above (see previous answers).

“5 Business meetings with ± 80 relevant participants, leading to 20 promising partnerships and business cooperation (contracts, subcontracts, etc.)” refers to the same indicators, explaining it better:

  • At least 8 promising partnerships (commercial contracts, subcontracts, etc.);
  • At least 12 business cooperation (temporary contract, investment agreements, joint advertising agreements, agreements to improve own quality processes, etc. – any other concrete type of business cooperation the two SMEs can find).

No, the management information system will be the same as EUROCHAMBRES is currently using, there is no need to include this item into the budget.

If you refer to the networks, indeed they need to include at least 150 BSOs/SMEs per sector, sectoral experts, the members of the consortia, etc. You should insert into the proposal ideas on how to create and increase these networks, and on how you can write the call for proposals for the final beneficiaries is such a way that they can help you reach this target and prove you have reached it.

No, the management information system will be the same as EUROCHAMBRES is currently using.

The amount of the financial support to 3rd parties is not the object of this call. The numbers provided in the financial support are indicatively for you to know how many  activities you will have to monitor. The object of the call is the monitoring of the activities, not their implementation. The financial support to third parties is handled and paid directly by EUROCHAMBRES, and as such, this amount does not have to be considered in your budget.

Yes, the total eligible cost of the actions is 232 800 euro per sector, co-financing included.

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