After the first year of digital cheques was successful, Liechtenstein’s government has decided to prolong the deadline for a second year. SMEs can apply for cheques to get funding for digital projects.
Liechtenstein’s government has tried a variety of measures to accelerate digitalization. One was creating innovation hubs, another was to create Fintech-friendly regulations, for example, the Blockchain Act. One initiative that has worked well in the past was the so-called “digital cheques,” which have enjoyed great demand.
Digital cheques are a monetary stimulus for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to invest in digital projects and the so-called “industry 4.0” technologies, for example, blockchain, artificial intelligence, or internet-of-things-devices. The idea is to foster and improve the long-term competitiveness of Liechtenstein-based businesses. Because digital cheques were in such high demand, the government has now decided to keep offering them for a longer time than previously agreed.
Requirements to get funding
Businesses need to be at least five years old to apply for digital cheques. The maximum amount SMEs can receive is 60,000 CHF per project and company. SMEs do not have to pay back this money, so it’s not a loan. Companies can apply for cheques until the end of 2022.
To receive a cheque, businesses need to apply before the start of the project. They send the application to the economics department (“Amt für Volkswirtschaft”) in digital form. There is no paper application. You can get to the application process here.
To increase the chances of success, read the governmental guidelines here before handing in your application. The project needs to increase the level of digital integration in your business significantly and impact your sales, business cost, and the quality of your products or services. You also have to show that your business has the technical know-how and business skillset to complete the project successfully.
There are three broader categories, which all have different requirements and maximum cheque amounts: “Digital Konzept” is for projects that develop business processes and concepts for digital change management. “Digital Invest” supports investments in equipment directly connected to digital transformation, such as hardware and software investments or communications technologies. “Digital Training” aims at training that builds up Liechtenstein’s digital know-how.
Use the opportunity
It’s great that Liechtenstein’s government has decided to prolong the program until the end of 2022. Especially today, SMEs see the need for digitalization, but many businesses hesitate to undertake investments in the wake of the current crisis. The digital cheques could help SMEs launch a project that will have a long-term positive effect on their business efficiency.
Although it comes with a bit of bureaucracy, businesses should use this opportunity and apply for the funding if suitable. Who knows if the government will prolong the deadline a second time.