A helping hand via the SME portfolio

| Annelien Maurissen

As an entrepreneur, you cannot stand still. Entrepreneurship is constantly evolving. In addition, Corona has brought additional challenges and has shaken up the entrepreneurial landscape considerably. The Flemish government supports small and medium-sized enterprises and liberal professions to stay up-to-date. With all the (financial) challenges, an extra helping hand is certainly welcome. Through the SME e-wallet, you can get up to 30% of training and advice paid for by the government. 

Apply for subsidy via SME e-wallet_designed by vectorjuice

The Flemish government created the SME e-wallet to improve the quality of enterprises. Not all training courses are equally relevant to the operation of your business or make a useful contribution. If you follow a training course, it must therefore contribute to improving the operation of your business. Advice should ensure that the business continues to grow and evolve. 

Who is eligible?

The SME e-wallet was created to support Flemish SMEs and liberal professions such as notaries, lawyers, etc. This means that only companies from the Flemish region can apply for this subsidy. Small enterprises can count on a 30% subsidy. For medium-sized companies, a subsidy of 20% is provided. And this with a ceiling of EUR 7,500 per year. 

In addition, these SMEs and liberal professions have to meet the following conditions:

- They must be located in the Flemish Region
- They have an acceptable legal form - non-profit organisations cannot apply for the subsidy
- They operate in the private sector - public enterprises are not eligible
- They have an acceptable main activity based on the NACEBEL code
- They comply with the regulations applicable in the Flemish Region

How does it work?
It is very simple to apply for this SME e-wallet. As an entrepreneur, you choose what training or advice you need. Then you follow the steps below:

1.    You register your company on the online platform of the Flemish Innovation and Enterprise Agency (VLAIO).
2.    You register for the course of your choice, or you sign an advice agreement, for example a tender with a registered service provider. In other words, you do not need an invoice. The application is made on the basis of your registration or consultancy agreement.
3.    The subsidy is entirely demand-driven. This means that you make a subsidy application for the chosen training or advice via the e-desk for entrepreneurs. You can do this up to 14 calendar days after the first day of lessons or the first day of advice.
4.    Then you pay your own contribution to the SME e-wallet via Sodexo no later than 30 days after your online application, stating the correct payment details.
5.    The Innovation and Enterprise Agency deposits the subsidy in the same portfolio.
6.    You or your employee(s) follow the training or receive the advice.
7.    Only when your service provider sends you an invoice do you give the instruction via the website to have it paid via the SME e-wallet. You use a printout of the online project detail for accounting purposes.

With the SME e-wallet, the Flemish government certainly wants to support Flemish entrepreneurs with training and advice that are necessary to adapt their businesses after the corona crisis. You can apply for the SME e-wallet for help with safety, hygiene and well-being at work, working with digital tools, working or managing remotely, drawing up risk analyses, etc.