SME instrument



  • You are a Belgian SME
  • Who wants to export for the first time
  • An innovative equipment or investment good or related service
  • To a developing country
  • With sufficient Belgian added value
  • With a  maximum contract value of 876.000 euro
  • To a public client

Finexpo can support you by granting you a gift between 80,01% and 100% of the contract amount with a maximum value of 700.000 Euro or 500.000 Euro depending on the Belgian content.

Belgian SME

The European definition will be used to determine if an enterprise is a SME or large enterprise:

  • staff headcount
  • either turnover or balance sheet total
  • Independance: if not more than 25% of the enterprise is owned by an enterprise that is not an SME

To be regarded as an SME all three of these criteria have to be meeted.

Innovative product

The aim of Finexpo is to support the export of Belgian capital goods and related services. This means that other goods and services fall out of the scope.

The products and related services, that are developed need to be fully functional. This means that the products and related services cannot be  in a test phase.

The products have to be also innovative. To determine if a product is innovative the definitions will be used of the regional, federal or European public institutions/ agencies. Products that are developed with public innovation support will be as such acknowledged. This support can have taken place during the R&D phase or the product or process development. Products which aren’t developed with public support can still be taken under consideration. The innovative character needs to be thoroughly motivated in the request form and will be evaluated by Belspo.

Products and related services can be financially feasible.

Products and related services have to be fully functional but adaptations to the local context can be financed.

The training that will be provided to the personnel of the client to work with the product can also be billed.

The innovation cost should be at least 40% of the total project cost. The following elements can be included in the calculation:

  • The cost of all production factors (capital, labour and raw materials) belonging to this improved product
  • or if the new product consists of a combination of products, the cost of (all separate production factors of) the different products.
  • Costs that belong to adapting the innovative product to the context also seem to fit the innovation definition as they are also adaptations.
  • So are spare parts.


The following cost items are not included in this calculation:

  • Transport and other logistics costs
  • Finance costs
  • Management costs
  • Training costs
  • Maintenance costs 
  • Installation costs
  • Margin and overhead

First export of a product

The support can only be demanded once for the same product and his to be the first export of this product to a country on the DAC list.

Developing country

The regulatory framework of the WTO, Worldbank, OECD allows Finexpo only to give tied and untied aid to developing countries and this support has to be relevant for the development of these countries.

Sufficient Belgian added value

Only projects of Belgian SME’s with sufficient Belgian content (30% or 50%) can benefit of this instrument. The percentage Belgian content determines the level of support.

The calculation of this Belgian content can be found in the Finexpo vademecum. The importance of the project within the strategic export vision will also be taken into account.

Maximum contract amount

For projects with a Belgian content of 50% contracts up to an amount of 700.000 euros will be paid for 100% with the grant. The maximum contract amount can be 874.000 euros but the part above 700.000 euros has to be paid by the client except for the LDC countries where the maximum contract amount is 700.000 euros.

For projects with a Belgian content of 30% contracts up to an amount of 500.000 euros will be paid for 100% with the grant. The maximum contract amount can be 624.000 euros but the part above 500.000 euros has to be paid by the client except for the LDC countries where the maximum contract amount is 500.000 euros.

To a public client

The client needs to be a public entity.

>> Procedure