El Berguedà launches a pioneering virtual platform that streamlines Leader support
The Association for Rural Development of Central Catalonia has launched a pioneering virtual platform that aims to streamline the processing of the Leader grants. Inforber is the company that created the new system and its owner, Pere Ballar, explained that the platform will be beneficial both for the citizen, who will be able to present the documents telematically, but also for the association, because they will have access to all files immediately and in real time.
According to Ballar, the new system will improve efficiency and productivity. In addition, it has already aroused the interest of other associations and administrations not only in Catalonia, but also throughout Spain. In this way, the Association for Rural Development of Central Catalonia has taken a step towards the so-called Big Data world.
The president of the Association, Toni Clement, explained that the platform is already underway and so far there are three registered users who are online processing their documentation to access the grants. The objective of the Association is to convert this tool in the basic work system and that after this first call for grants, which ends on March 21, all users are already incorporated and familiarizing with the new model.
Ballar said that with the new platform, it ensures an increase in transparency and also a reduction in expenses, which causes the entire procedure to be more efficient and productive.
The platform has costed 18,000 euros and has been financed with capital from the Department of Agriculture.
Agreement with BBVA
Clement has pointed out that one of the points that most worried the Association to be able to bring Leader assistance to everyone was access to the financing of companies. In other calls, it had been found that some projects had not been carried out due to lack of financing and, in the end, the initiatives could not be successful.
To avoid cases like these, the Association for Rural Development of Central Catalonia has signed an agreement with BBVA that will allow companies to provide financial solutions that fit the nature of different business and business projects.
In this sense, broadly speaking, BBVA offers “advance to the subsidy” and will facilitate the financing of the investments to be made, a loan of up to 80% of the amount of the subsidy approved or the guarantee in operations where the grant is greater than 50,000 euros.
The budget allocated for the 2016 convocation of the Leader grants is 675,275.11 euros and the deadline for submitting applications ends on March 21.
The Manager of the Association, Eduard Barcons, explained that this year’s edition has opened the range of legal entities that may be eligible for the grants, that until now were aimed at micro-companies. The novelty, then, is that in this convocation may also be accessed by small and medium-sized businesses. Other beneficiaries of the Leader grants can be cooperatives, associations, foundations or public entities.