Brussels, 3rd May 2005
The European Commission has authorised, under EU state aid rules, an aid scheme in Germany amounting to approximately € 120 Million per year for newly created or technology-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises using the services of technology centres, incubators and industrial centres. Although the project will provide public support for the creation or development of such centres, companies using their services will in fact be the sole beneficiaries of the aid.
EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “Incubators and technology centres help young entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and to survive the first critical years on the market. I am happy to approve such aid which promotes innovation.”
The aid scheme offers certain facilities to newly-created or technology-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). These facilities provide, office rental, consultancy services, research accommodation, networking with other companies and the possibility to cooperate with, for example, universities and research institutes
The Commission initially expressed doubts as to whether the measure was compatible with the single market, as Germany had not provided sufficient information as to whether state aid was involved at all levels of the scheme, particularly at the level of the owners of the centres and the SMEs using the services of the centres, or whether all aid was passed through to the said SMEs.
In the course of the formal investigation procedure, Germany amended its original notification, and ensured that all aid would be passed through to the enterprises using the services of the centres.
As Germany committed itself to respect all the requirements of Commission Regulations on de minimis aid and on aid to small and medium-sized enterprises, the Commission considers that the aid does not threaten to distort competition in the single market and is therefore compatible with the EC Treaty (Article 87).
The approved measure is based on part II point 7 of the German outline plan within the scope of the joint task scheme “Improvement of the regional economic structure” and runs until 31. December 2006.