SMEs can use preferential loans ranging from CZK 0.5 to CZK 60 million to finance investment projects in the Ústí nad Labem Region and the Karlovy Vary Region, or up to CZK 100 million for projects located in the Moravian-Silesian Region. Enterprises can finance up to 90% of eligible project costs. “We are going to provide these loans at zero interest rate, with the maturity of up to 10 years and with a 4-year grace period. Neither providing of the loan nor its early repayment is subject to any fee,” says Pavel Křivonožka, Member of the Board of Directors responsible for business.
“Interest-free loans for small and medium-sized enterprises are an exception these days. Interest rates for similar products on the market may reach 7%. Contrary to a grant, entrepreneurs can gain quick funding for the planned investments. In those regions, which are currently under the economic transformation due to the end of coal mining, is the support for entrepreneurship one of the main building blocks of our Operational Programme Just Transition. In total, we have earmarked CZK 1.8 billion in interest-free TRANSFORMATION loans that can be used repeatedly as the loans are repaid over time. Such loans are supposed to kick-start business in new industries and bring new employment opportunities to the regions, while also supporting modern and environment-friendly industries and innovations. Resources from the Operational Programme Just Transition are complementary to other types of funding as they allow supporting areas not covered by other operational programmes. Thus, they represent additional funds for the three coal regions, compared to other regions,” says Petr Hladík, Minister of Environment.
Operational Programme Just Transition (OPJT) is a brand new programme aimed at addressing the negative impacts of the shift away from coal mining in the most affected regions. The above mentioned total allocation of the program is divided among the three regions based on their contribution to the program: CZK 1 billion will be invested in the Moravian-Silesian Region, CZK 600 million in the Ústí nad Labem Region and CZK 200 million in the Karlovy Vary Region. A wide range of beneficiaries can be supported, from municipalities and regions to SMEs, universities, research institutions and large companies. Entrepreneurs are supposed to use TRANSFORMATION loans to acquire tangible and intangible fixed assets, such as the purchase of machinery, equipment, software and licences or the acquisition and technical improvement of buildings and land. What is important is that the do-not-significant-harm principle will be applied to ensure that all these regions will really move from their fossil past into a green future.