The second call of the STAGE Financial Grant Programme has been extended!

The new deadline for applying is 19 February!  

The Programme will grant up to EUR 50 000 per selected SME for two types of activities: 

- Development of an investment project plan;

- Additional services for the investment plan preparation, such as: Feasibility study; Technology audit;  Due diligence analysis; Data collection and analysis for carbon footprint assessment; Prototyping; Pilot testing; Pilot demonstrating;  Adaptation of business processes; Support to use testing facilities; Procurement of other specialized consultancy and coaching services related to investment plan preparation.

The second call of the STAGE Financial Grant Programme has been extended!

IMPORTANT! The financial grant can be spent only for services provided by Sustainability Advisors who are part of the STAGE ecosystem and are registered on the STAGE / GND Platform.

Check out our STAGE Sustainability Transition Programme and find your dedicated Sustainability Advisor!


The STAGE Financial Grant Programme is open to Industrial SMEs that comply with the rules defined by the European Commission* and:

- have 5-250 employees 

- have less than €50 million annual turnover or less than €43 million annual balance sheet 

- are based in a European Union Member State or in a Horizon Europe - associated country

*Definition of SME is in line with the European Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC and the SME qualification guide. 


IMPORTANT! Only SMEs that have completed PHASE 1 Initial Assessment of the STAGE Sustainability Transition Programme and have developed a Sustainability Transition Plan can apply. 

Find out more.


The STAGE eco-system involves SMEs from all 14 European Industrial Ecosystems defined by the EC, including:

Textiles; Electronics; Mobility-Transport-Automotive; Energy-Intensive Industries; Renewable Energy; Agri-Food; Health; Digital; Construction; Retail; Proximity & Social Economy; Tourism; Creative & Cultural Industries and Aerospace & Defence.

Companies operating in these technological areas are eligible to be funded by the STAGE Financial Grant Programme.



Up to 100 SMEs will be selected and funded during the programme’s duration.

Successful applicants will sign a contract for the financial grant. The contract includes 2 stages of the grant:

- 1st stageEUR 5 000 lump sum for the development of an investment project plan for sustainability transformation. The grant is to be released when the investment plan is submitted not later than 3 months after signing grant contract. 

- 2nd stageup to EUR 45 000, calculated as a percentage of the private investment received for the investment plan (for sustainability transition) implementation. The amount will only be provided if a contract of private investment is received within the period of 6 months from signing the contract. 


If you wish to apply you need to join the STAGE Sustainability Transition Programme and complete at least PHASE 1 Initial Assessment

Choose a Sustainability Advisor and develop your Sustainability Transition Plan.

Visit the Application Section and follow the instructions.

Download the documentation: Guidelines for applicants, Application form, Sustainability advisor confirmation letter, Declaration of honor, Visual guide for applying.




During the session you will learn:

1. How to apply for financial support through the First Grants Open Call;

2. How to unlock your sustainability transition through the development of investment plans;

3. How to benefit from additional tools that STAGE provides.


What is the maximum financing that an SME participating in the STAGE Sustainability Journey can receive?

The maximum financing that an enterprise can receive is EUR 50 000, which is divided into two stages:


- 1st stage – EUR 5 000 lump sum for the development of an investment project plan for sustainability transformation. The grant is to be released when the investment plan is submitted but not later than 3 months after signing financial grant contract. 


- 2nd stage – 0.4 % (maximum EUR 45 000) of the private investment received for investment project plan implementation. The amount shall only be provided if an agreement for attracting private investment is concluded within the period of 6 months from signing the financial grant contract.

Can a legal entity incorporated in a country outside the EU join the STAGE eco-system and apply for a finanical grant?

All companies can join and benefit from the existing tools and open training courses available within the STAGE Sustainability Transition Programme (PHASE 1 AND PHASE 2). However, only SMEs from EU member states and Horizon Europe associated countries can apply for and receive financial support (PHASE 3).

Is there a restriction on the type of industry the company operates in? Can a company from any industry apply for a grant?

The STAGE Financial Grant Programme is open to all SMEs operating in all 14 European Industrial Ecosystems defined by the EC (please see above).

In addition, The Programme will not finance any activity, production, use, distribution, business or trade involving:

1.      Forced labour or child labour;

2.      Activities or materials deemed illegal under host country laws or regulations or international conventions and agreements, or subject to international phase-outs or bans, such as:

a)     Ozone-depleting substances, PCB's (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) and other specific, hazardous pharmaceuticals, pesticides/herbicides or chemicals;

b)     Wildlife or products regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); or

c)      Unsustainable fishing methods (e.g. blast fishing and drift net fishing in the marine environment using nets in excess of 2.5 km in length).

3.      Cross-border trade in waste and waste products, unless compliant with the Basel Convention and the underlying regulations.

4.      Destruction of High Conservation Value areas

5.      Radioactive materials and unbounded asbestos fibers

6.      Pornography and/or prostitution

7.      Racist and/or anti-democratic media

8.      If any of the following products form a substantial part of a project’s primary financed business activities:

a)      Alcoholic Beverages (except beer and wine);

b)     Tobacco;

c)      Weapons and munitions; or

d)     Gambling, casinos and equivalent enterprises.

9.      Coal prospection, exploration, mining or processing

10.   Oil exploration or production

11.   Standalone fossil gas exploration and/or production

12.   Transport and related infrastructure primarily used for coal for power generation

13.   Crude Oil Pipelines

14.   Oil Refineries

15.   Construction of new or refurbishment of any existing coal-fired power plant (including dual)

16.   Construction of new or refurbishment of any existing HFO-only or diesel-only power plant producing energy for the public grid and leading to an increase of absolute CO2 emissions

17.   Any business with planned expansion of captive coal used for power and/or heat generation.

For more information on eligibility rules, please check the Guidelines.

If an SME is already cooperating with a Sustainability Advisor outside STAGE, can the financial grant be spent on services provided by him/her?

No, the financial support can be spent on services provided only by Sustainability Advisors who are part of the STAGE eco-system. When applying for the grant, the SME shall provide a letter of confirmation by а STAGE Sustainability Advisor for the intent to provide the relevant services.

Any Sustainability Advisor not yet part of the STAGE eco-system but meeting the minimal criteria, can register with us. More information can be found here.

If I have already selected a Sustainability Advisor for the first steps of the STAGE journey, can I choose a diiferent one for the STAGE Financial Grant Programme?

Yes, you can work with a different advisor(s) and with as many advisors as you need for the different phases of the STAGE Programme who can help you reach your sustainability goals.

Are there any specific requirements to the project idea for which an investment plan shall be developed?

The investment plan idea has to aim for an investment of €5 million or more. It shall foresee technological excellence-related action, for example: advanced industrial technologies being adopted and/or innovative solutions; an increase of digital readiness level; implementation of management standards; value stream management; new sustainable business models being implemented; sustainable energy and energy efficiency solutions, etc.

The investment plan idea shall foresee positive economic impact, for example: revenue growth, profit growth, jobs created, waste reduction, carbon footprint reduction, increased energy efficiency, increased energy cost savings, etc.

What are the benefits for those who apply earlier?

Only 100 SMEs shall receive financial support. Eligibility and selection criteria shall apply. If you meet the eligibility criteria but you are not awarded a grant, following the selection procedure, you will be able to apply again within the next upcoming open call.


If you have reviewed the information but you still have questions or need help, do not hesitate to contact us.


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