The EU and Business in Denmark
Businesses in Denmark have access to a variety of funding and financing tools from European Union (EU). Although direct funding is only available through limited grants, indirect funding from the EU is possible from a variety of local and national intermediaries. Banks, financial institutions and other organisations in Denmark are providing businesses with a variety of financing tools thanks to investments supported by the European Investment Bank Group and EU structural funds.
Funding grants are available to Danish businesses directly from the European Commission, as well as its executive agencies. This is the only form of direct financial contribution made by the European Union. Businesses must be engaged in projects that support specific EU objectives, including those related to the environment, innovation, research, training and other policy objectives.
Generally, grants are open to all eligible businesses in the European Union. Businesses and related organisations are eligibly for grant funding. The aim of direct grants is to help projects break even, not for making a profit. Only one grant is provided for each project, and funds can not be provided retroactively for a project that has concluded. Calls for proposals are listed online at ec.europa.eu/contracts_grants/grants_en.htm.
National and local intermediaries in Denmark use EU funding to support businesses in Denmark. Although supported by the EU, intermediaries establish eligibility criteria and approve financing on a case-by-case basis. Most indirect EU funding is provided by the European Investment Bank Group or through structural funds, such as the European Regional Development Fund.
When EU structural funds are used to support businesses, national sources of funding are also generally used to co-fund programmes. For example, structural funds and national sources of finance support Accelerance Invest (www.accelerance.dk), a non-profit start-up accelerator that offers equity of up to €400,000 for low-tech, high-tech, bio-tech and social enterprises. Financing for mainly start-ups and early stage businesses are also available from Welfare Tech Invest (welfaretechinvest.dk/ivaerksaetterlaan), Nupark Accelerance Management (www.nupark.dk), CAT Science Park (www.catscience.dk), and Liva Consult (www.livaconsult.dk).
The Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) facilitates access to loans and equity, particularly where gaps exist in local financing sources. The CIP supports Vaekstfonden (www.vf.dk), a loan guarantee scheme for small and medium sized enterprises for up to €3.35 million. Target sectors include information and communication technology (ICT), life sciences and cleantech. The CIP also facilitates access to equity for start-up and early stage business in the information technology sector through NorthCap Partners (www.northcappartners.com).
Denmark is also a member of Eurostars (www.eurostars-eureka.eu). This programme provides grants to small and medium sized enterprises that are pursuing research and development activities and projects. Grants may cover 50 percent of projects costs, for a total of up to €300,000 per project. To be eligible, businesses must dedicate a minimum of 10 percent of their turnover to activities related to research and development. Projects must involve a partner from another member country and project funding is provided for up to three years.
Beginning in 2014, EU funding for businesses will be largely guided by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020). The new programme consolidates research and innovation funding provided by previous Framework Programmes for Research and Technical Development, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, and the CIP.
European Investment Bank
A major source of indirect EU funding is the European Investment Bank Group and its partners in Denmark. The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides loans and guarantees to primarily mid-sized companies for research and development activities. EIB-backed loans, guarantees, equity and other financing supports are also available from a range of Danish financial intermediaries, including Jyske Bank (www.jyskebank.dk), Rabobank (www.rabobank.com), Ringkjøbing Landbobank (www.landbobanken.dk), and Spar Nord Bank (www.sparnord.dk). For information about the EIB, visit www.eib.org.
The EIB's European Investment Fund (EIF) is delivered through local and national financial institutions and banks. Like the EIB, loans and equity from the EIF are more accessible and affordable than other sources of financing. The Fund provides medium and long-term financing to businesses for an equity stake. To be eligible, a business must have fewer than 250 employers and operate with an annual turnover of less than €50 million and/or a balance sheet of less than €43 million. EIF intermediaries such as banks and other financial institutiosn in Denmark generally support small and medium sized businesses in information technology and life sciences sectors. A list of EIF and EIB intermediaries in Denmark and other EU member states is available online at europa.eu/youreurope/business/funding-grants/access-to-finance.
The Enterprise Europe Network (een.ec.europea.eu) offers with a wealth of information to businesses in Denmark on a range of European Union and European Commission issues, including various EU programmes and policies. The network also provides free advice and information on European regulations and sources of indirect and direct EU financing. Branches in Denmark are located in Aalborg, Herning, Copenhagen, Kolding and Tjele.