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The Warsaw Voice » Other » September 3, 2008
EU Funds in Practice:
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Big Companies, Big Possibilities
September 3, 2008   
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Anna Katarzyna Nietyksza, chairwoman of the board at Eficom SA consulting and investment company, talks to Beata Gołębiewska.

Eficom was one of the first Polish consulting firms to specialize in large European Union contracts. Are you currently phasing out European consulting in favor of financial advice and investment?
Because the contracting of projects within the structural funds for 2007-2013 began a few months ago, we are only just starting to fully utilize our nine years of experience gained managing multimillion EU contracts. For three years Eficom was a Financing and Contracting Unit for the European Commission, and carried out contracts involving adaptation to EU law as well as obtained over 200 million euros in subsidies for its clients. Thanks to our IPO on the Warsaw Stock Exchange's NewConnect market in December , we have expanded our range of services and obtained funding for investment projects. Therefore we offer companies all the sources of funding available on the market as well as financial and legal advice both on structural funds and funds available directly in Brussels.

Can large companies and foreign businesses apply for EU funds?
Large companies find it easier to apply. They have the means to pre-finance their projects and obtain bank guarantees. They can wait to be reimbursed for the costs incurred, and can commission a consulting company to prepare their application, business plan, feasibility studies and assessment of a project's environmental impact.

Most of our clients are multinational corporations that apply directly for EU funds for investment projects, training courses, R&D projects, and also take part in public tenders financed from EU funds.

The most interesting program for large companies is the Infrastructure and Environment program, where funding is available for large projects aimed at reducing their negative environmental impact. These include funds for water and sewerage infrastructure; modernization of fuel combustion systems; construction and modernization of systems for the recycling and neutralization of waste; financing the construction or conversion of power generation facilities; and construction or conversion of power transmission networks. The maximum value of co-financing is zl.20 million and cannot exceed 30 percent of a project's value. Funding is also available for projects involving production of energy from renewable sources and biofuels. The minimum value of a project is zl.10 million, with maximum co-financing at 20 percent.

The Innovative Economy program provides funding for projects that improve the Polish economy's innovativeness, including large investment projects with high innovation potential. The program's budget is 8.3 billion euros, and companies can receive up to 50 percent of a project's value.

Projects worth less than 2 million euros are eligible for funding from 16 regional programs. There is also another 9.7 billion euros earmarked for training projects under the Human Capital operational program.

How can one effectively apply for EU funding?
We first offer our clients an analysis of the financing opportunities, considering their specific needs. Then we match the project to an existing EU funding option and deal with the ultimate financial settlements.

Potentially, any entrepreneur can apply for EU funds, though we prefer to work with large companies from the information and communications technology (ICT), energy, electronic media and environmental protection sectors. We select challenging projects that allow us to prove our strong competence and know-how.

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