The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund has launched its Blue Economy Window call, aimed at supporting sustainable development of SMEs in the oceans sector.
The €22.5m Blue Economy Window, which forms part of the EU’s BlueInvest financial platform, will distribute grants of between €700,000 and €2,500,000 to successful applicants: any for-profit small to medium enterprise (SME) based in the EU will be eligible to apply, either as a single participant or as part of a larger consortium. Companies applying for grants through the call must be able to demonstrate investor commitment, convincing business and commercialisation plans; and must be able to pitch their concept successfully to a jury of investors.
The EU’s blue economy contributes around 5% of the bloc’s total GDP and supports around five million jobs. As concerns grow over the sustainability of the agriculture industry and the need to reduce carbon emissions across the EU, the extensive untapped potential of ocean food production has been tapped as a relatively environmentally sound means of meeting increasing global demand. Blue Economy Window grants are therefore designed to support innovative marine technologies and services towards full entry into the market and to promote investment in new maritime projects; while ensuring the EU’s climate targets and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are taken into account.
SMEs applying for grant funding under the Blue Economy Window should be able to demonstrate their ability to meet or contribute to at least one of the EU’s overarching sustainability objectives:
- Lowering greenhouse gas emissions;
- Accelerating the transition to a circular economy;
- Shoring up energy security;
- Adapting to the global climate emergency;
- Greater socioeconomic inclusion of coastal communities;
- Creating high value jobs within the blue economy; or
- Providing protection or sustainable use of natural or cultural capital.
The Blue Economy Window call for proposals will remain open until 27 February 2020.