How a Brussels-based SME obtained a 15 000 € grant to expand its business
BC materials transforms excavation earths into building bricks in a process of urban mining. Its aim is to grow and expand the earth construction market in Belgium. These activities are coupled with qualitative services in consulting and advice, to help grow the market for earth building products. It is also a successful example of a social enterprise (in the form of a cooperative) which aims at fostering local, circular and social development. BC Materials is also a beneficiary of the pass MAXI Fly from “mybusinesspass” which is a Brussels Capital Region program designed to integrate the region’s support for SME with a one door policy.
BC Materials was looking for funding to further expand the earth construction market, notably to improve its competitiveness compared to similar upscaled fossil fuel intensive industrial materials. More precisely, it wanted to improve the circular earth block production in symbiosis with a local industrial partner.
In September 2019, Enterprise Europe Brussels called the attention of the SME on the opportunities of cascading funding through the C-Voucher project. Funded by Horizon 2020, C-Voucher aims at the adoption of the concept of the Circular Economy to transform linear value chains (cradle to waste) towards circular models (cradle to cradle®). The project is distributing a total of €4.2m to SMEs through 4 open calls targeting SMEs from Manufacturing, Blue Growth, Health, Textile and Agri-Food sectors willing to adopt or get inspired by the Circularity Solutions. The First Open Call for Adopters, was launched on the 1st of August and closed the 31st of October, 2019.
The Circular Economy advisor of Enterprise Europe Brussels checked the eligibility of the project and reviewed BC Materials’ project proposal. Among the 120 submitted projects, BC Materials was selected among the 18 SMEs who will receive
- a fixed amount of €15,000 equity-free for a circular business case creation,
- access to the support of a Designer-in-Residence to create and define their road map to incorporate the Circularity Solution in their processes (Feasibility Plan)
- and coaching sessions with funding experts to identify additional private and public funding sources for their projects.
Such cascading grant schemes are very relevant for small SMEs because it means
- shorter and simpler application processes
- few reporting obligations as this is often a lump sum or small amounts (below 60 000 €)
- less competition than known calls like the much more demanding EIC Accelerator.