Wednesday, January 19

How to apply for the Digital Kit, European aid for SMEs and the self-employed

The BOE of this Thursday, December 30, has brought with it the regulatory framework of the ‘Digital Kit’, the Government’s program for the digitization and transformation of the smallest Spanish SMEs and the self-employed. The plan has a budget of 3,067 million euros from the EU recovery fund, which the Executive expects to distribute among one million SMEs until 2023.

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The grants are intended to incorporate digital tools or modernize those already used by these SMEs and freelancers, such as the implementation of electronic invoicing, virtual office tools or cybersecurity solutions. They will also prioritize the “incorporation of artificial intelligence in industrial value chains, the promotion of R&D, entrepreneurship and the increase in business size”, it states The document prepared by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The subsidies will begin to be distributed “at the end of January,” said the Secretary of State for Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas. Companies from all sectors will be able to apply for them through the official portal Acelera SME. Once the aid is granted, companies will receive a “digital bonus” that they can spend on the services of “digitizing agents” previously registered with Acelera SME. These are the details of the Digital Kit program included in the BOE:

Who can request the Digital Kit

This first round of aid is intended for the self-employed and smaller companies. The Government has separated them into three categories:

  • Segment I: companies between 10 and less than 50 employees;
  • Segment II: companies or micro-companies of between 3 and less than 10 employees;
  • Segment III Small or Micro-enterprises of 0 to less than 3 employees.

The self-employed are governed by the same scale. “People in a situation of self-employment are considered included in all segments, depending on the number of workers they have hired,” the plan details.

Companies that are not up to date with tax and Social Security obligations will not be able to benefit from the Digital Kit. Neither are those that exceed the aid limit minimis, set at 200,000 euros during the last three years.

Accelerates SMEs

Accelerates SMEs It is the official portal through which all the aid of the plan will be processed. It will be the place to request them and also to hire the companies that provide digitization services. In addition to the application platform, Acelera SME already includes a “self-diagnostic test” to know the company’s “Digital Maturity Level”, which will need to be presented in the application.

The only way to claim the Digital Kit subsidies will be electronically on this website; There will not be the option of presenting the documentation to the Administration in physical format.

Once a grant has been awarded, your right to collection is called a “digital voucher”. Its amount will depend on the number of company employees: for those in Segment I it will be 12,000 euros; for Segment II, 6,000 euros; and for those of Segment III, 2,000 euros.

To use the voucher, SMEs must select the service (or services) they wish to contract from among those offered in the “Catalog of Digitization Solutions” available at Acelera SME. This is a closed list provided by companies that register as “digitizing agents” on the portal.

These lending companies may not refuse to serve any SME that has the voucher. The “digitizing agents” will also be in charge of making the aid effective and collecting it from the Administration, for which they must prove that the contract has been formalized and that the service is being provided, which will always be carried out in a period of 12 months.

The total cost of the contracted services may not exceed the amount of the bonus granted.

By order of request

“The aid will be granted in order of application, applying the non-competitive competition regime”, explains the framework of conditions of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This will be the only criterion to access them if the requirements of the call are met. The deadline for submitting applications will be at least three months from the publication of the call, or until the budget is exhausted.

Expenses that cannot be subsidized

The BOE specifies some items excluded from the Digital Kit program, such as taxes, hardware elements or the cost of Internet connection. The full list is as follows:

  • Taxes on the income of individuals or companies, as well as other national, regional or local taxes and fees.
  • Interest on debts.
  • Interest on late payment, surcharges and administrative and criminal penalties.
  • Expenses derived from legal proceedings.
  • Financial expenses.
  • Infrastructure and civil works expenses.
  • Land.
  • Hardware.
  • Telecommunication services and Internet connectivity.
  • The expenses related to compensation for work provided by third parties to obtain these grants (expenses for the provision of advisory, management or similar services)

“Digitizing Agents”

All program grants must be processed through the services provided by the adhered “digitizing agents”. Your registration in Acelera SME may begin after the publication of the BOE of the Digital Kit concession framework, which also specifies the characteristics that these provider companies must have.

Among them is to accumulate a turnover of 100,000 euros in the last two years, or 50,000 euros counting only the previous year, always “in projects similar to those that must be developed for the beneficiaries in any of the categories.” Self-employed without employees may also offer their services in Acelera SME. In your case, the minimum billing limit must be 70,000 euros in the last two years or 35,000 euros during the previous year.

These service providers must be up to date in their obligations with the Treasury and with Social Security. Companies that register as “digitizing agents” will not be eligible to receive aid from the Digital Kit. “Among its obligations”, indicates the framework of the call, there is also that of “committing to generate in Spain the employment that is necessary for the provision of services; and to maintain its fiscal domicile and center for the provision of activities subject to subsidy in the European Union”.


Graphics made by Ana Ordaz.

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