The Business Development Support Fund allows current and prospective portfolio companies to increase their business performance and improve sustainable business development practices by offering grants and by co-financing Technical Assistance (TA), Feasibility Studies (FS), and Investment Support for innovative SMEs.


Technical Assistance

Improves business performance, skills and standards. It is important to improve the companies’ development impact. Think, for example, of digital product development for microfinance institutions or of the establishment of a business training centre for a bank's SME clients, or also of the preparation for certification (ISO, Fairtrade, organic,…).


Feasibility Studies

Analyse the technical viability and profitability of an investment project. They are indispensable prior to the creation or the further development of a company. Think, for example, of environmental and social impact studies for a new solar project, or of a market and technical study for an agribusiness project.


Investment Support for Innovative SMEs

Supports SMEs in developing innovative projects and services with a strong development impact. This is done by co-financing fixed assets or operational expenses. The business model, product or service must be innovative compared to the local context and demonstrate strong development impacts. Only available for SMEs in the fields of renewable energy/climate change, agriculture/agri-business or digitisation/digitalisation.


The maximum amount for TA-projects and investment support is €350,000. The budget and the co-financing rate should be proportional to the financial capacity of the company and the development impact of the project. For FS-projects, the subsidy may account for up to 50% of the total cost, with a maximum of €100,000 per client.

Eligible costs

Services must be delivered by external, independent, and qualified experts. They must be selected through a transparent process and be approved by BIO. Projects in progress and costs already incurred are not eligible for BIO co-financing. For innovative projects, fixed assets and operating expenses are eligible if they contribute to the innovative character of the project.


Successful applications meet a number of criteria.Eligible companies are current or prospective portfolio companies of BIO.BIO evaluates the project’s development impact, additionality, expected outcome, coherence of the work programme, skills of the expert and the budget and planning. Projects are to be implemented by external qualified consultants. Specifically for FS-applications, BIO will assess the sponsor’s or promotor’s quality, experience and track record.All proposed projects have to be in line with BIO’s investment strategy and country eligibility criteria.

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