Hardly any enterprise can expand without using external financing. But not all enterprises can finance their needs on commercial terms. Social enterprises are typical examples of companies, which may – due to a specific nature of their business – face difficulties when searching for commercial financing. In such cases of market failures, financing on preferential terms offered by the ČMZRB represents a possible solution.
Social enterprises are eligible beneficiaries in our programme S-ENTERPRISE, which results from our co-operation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Social enterprises are private business companies or self-employed persons, oriented not solely to making a profit, but also to contributing to public welfare. In economic terms, most of the profit should be re-invested back into the company or for the benefit of the respective local community. In social terms, company should employ people from vulnerable groups and should engage its employees into the strategic decision-making. In environmental terms, company should cooperate with local economic stakeholders, use local sources and satisfy primarily local demand.
ČMZRB offers to social enterprises interest-free loans, which can finance up to 90% of the project costs both of investment and working capital nature. In the case of investment loans (acquiring new machinery, technologies, software or real estates, including renovation), social enterprises can get a loan up to CZK 25 million (app. EUR 950,000) with a twelve-year maturity and a three-year grace period. In the case of working capital loans (for any expenses except for salaries and refinancing), social enterprises can get a loan up to CZK 25 million with a two-year maturity and a one-year grace period. For social enterprises with short history (less than three years), maximum working capital loan amount is limited to CZK 1 million (app. EUR 38,000). S-ENTERPRISE programme is open for social enterprises regardless their size, location and sector of business.
Call for project proposals was announced in December 2019 and will be open until the end of June 2023. Allocation of the programme, which is financed from the Operational Programme Employment, is CZK 380 million (app. EUR 14,5 million).
PONAP was the first social enterprise to receive a loan from this program. “Our enterprise was established in 2007 in Břeclav. 98% of our employees are disabled people,” says Pavel Bravenec, co-owner of the social enterprise. Its main business activity is the assembly work of sanitary ware, school and office supplies, food supplements or components for elevators. “Beside this assembly work, we serve also as a business partner for the PEMAR company active in the production of plastic packaging materials. We also develop affordable specialized medical training simulators for cardiac and lung surgery.”
Up to now, the PONAP company was located in leased premises. Beside higher energy and logistics costs, it did not enable further expansion of the company. “In order to expand our production capacity, optimize internal processes and create an adequate working conditions for our employees, we decided to invest in the construction of our own production, storage and office premises,” says Pavel Bravenec and adds: “Our own resources would cover only a part of the project costs. Interest-free loan from the ČMZRB is our preferred option to cover the remaining part. We will save on interest and other fees related to the loan, which is a very important form of help, given the nature of our business.” The new premises are expected to be completed in the first half of 2022. As a result, the increased production capacity will enable the company to create new jobs for people with disabilities.