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141 firms registered with the internationalisation programme, two hours into existence

As many as 141 companies joined the internationalisation programme launched on Monday morning by the Ministry of Business, Trade and Entrepreneurship (MMCCA), with a sign-up average of three per minute, Business, Trade and Entrepreneurship Minister Ilan Laufer announced at a news conference Monday.

"Today, at 10:00hrs, the Ministry of Business, Trade and Entrepreneurship launched another programme that many Romanian companies have been waiting for. The internationalisation programme has a budget of 71 million lei between 2017 and 2020. This year, the allocation is 5 million lei. It is a programme designed for Romanian products and Romanian companies that want to participate in international trade fairs that want to organise classes, etc. There is a grant cap of 50,000 lei for the specialties for which they want to apply, and the there are matching funds to be provided by the applicant of 10 percent of the project value. At 12:10, we already had 141 sign-ups, which gives a sign-up every two minutes and 49 seconds, which reflects major interest," Laufer said.

He added that in 2017, the ministry's goal is to finance between 100 and 150 companies under the internationalisation programmme, according to the grant they will request. Scheduled entries will be finalized on Friday, August 4, at 20:00hrs, EEST. The "first-come, first-served" principle applies.

The maximum amount a company can get is 50,000 lei. The applicants have to provide matching funds to the tune of 10 percent, which means the grant is 90 percent non-refundable, Laufer told the programme's launch conference.

The maximum eligible budget is 30,000 lei for individual attendance of international trade fairs and exhibitions; 15,000 lei maximum for individual attendance of trade missions abroad; 10,000 lei for creating the visual identity of the company; 10,000 lei for websites site and mobile applications; 10,000 lei for classes for employees; 10,000 lei for market research and studies and 10,000 for other activities.

The programme's total budget is 71 million lei for 2017-2020. This year, the budget is 5 million lei, which will increase to 20 million in 2018, to 22 million in 2019 and to 24 million in 2020.