Companies & corporate law

Financial shield of the Polish Development Fund. Basic conditions for obtaining support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises

On April 29, 2020, the possibility of submitting applications for support under the financial shield of the Polish Development Fund was launched. to micro, small and medium-sized businesses.

Applications for support may only be made through the electronic banking system.

The list of banks enabling such a service can be found on the website: https://pfr.pl/tarcza.html.

These banks include almost all the largest entities operating on the Polish market, including, among others PKO S. A., Bank Pekao, BOŚ, Bank Pocztowy, Santander, Credit Agricole, Millenium Bank, ING, mBank.

The basic instrument of the financial shield is financial grants, with up to 75% of the funding to be non-refundable once the conditions set out in the programme are met.

The total value of the programme amounts to PLN 75 billion, of which PLN 25 billion is earmarked for support for microenterprises and PLN 50 billion for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).

In view of the above, the following concepts should be clarified:

  1. Micro-company (microenterprise) – an entrepreneur with at least 1 employee and no more than 9 employees (not including a natural person) and whose annual turnover and/or balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million,
  2. SME (small and medium sized entrepreneur) – an entrepreneur who employs up to 249 employees (not including a natural person) and whose annual turnover does not exceed EUR 50 million or balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 43 million; however, he is not a Micro company or a beneficiary of the DP Programme (large enterprises).

Generally, in the assumptions of the above programme, an entrepreneur is a natural person, a legal person or an organizational unit which is not a legal person, which has been granted legal capacity, performing business activity, or a partner in a civil partnership within the scope of its business activity. Cooperatives, associations, foundations are also entrepreneurs, if they run a business.

The fulfilment of the criteria for a Micro-business and an SME is determined on the basis of the number of employees at December 31, 2019. The annual turnover or balance sheet total should in principle relate to 2019. Turnover and balance sheet total should be determined in accordance with Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 of June 17, 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Article 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (OJ EU L 187/1 of June 26, 2014). Within the meaning of the financial shield, employees are persons who are linked to the beneficiary by a full-time employment relationship, not including employees on maternity leave, maternity leave, paternity leave, parental leave and parental leave, as well as those employed for the purpose of professional preparation

The above information makes it possible to determine whether a given entrepreneur meets the first condition and belongs to the circle of entities entitled to apply for support.

Further conditions include:

  1. a decrease in the entrepreneur’s economic turnover (sales revenue) by at least 25% in any month after February 1, 2020 compared to the previous month or the same month of the previous year due to the disruption of the economy due to COVID-19,
  2. conducting business activity by the entrepreneur as at the date of filing the application, not opening liquidation under the CCC and not opening bankruptcy proceedings against him as at the date of filing the application, or restructuring proceedings,
  3. being an entrepreneur: (i) who has a tax residence on the territory of the European Economic Area, (ii) who is registered on the territory of the Republic of Poland (in the National Court Register or CEIDG) and (iii) whose main actual beneficiary does not have a tax residence in the so called „tax office”, (iv) who has a tax residence on the territory of the European Economic Area. tax havens; however, an exception to this rule is possible if the entrepreneur and/or its main actual beneficiary is obliged to transfer its tax residence to the EEA within 9 months from the date of granting the financing under the financial shield,
  4. running the business activity as at December 31, 2019; this condition shall not apply if as at December 31, 2019 the activity of the entrepreneur was suspended,
  5. no arrears in payment of taxes and social security contributions as at December 31, 2019 or the date of application,
  6. not carrying out activities relating to: (i) products or services which may result in restrictions on or violations of individual freedoms and/or human rights; (ii) activities carried out by credit institutions, cooperative savings and credit unions, investment firms, loan institutions, insurance undertakings, reinsurance undertakings, pension funds, investment funds and other collective investment undertakings and asset managers, payment service providers and other financial institutions and credit rating agencies; or (iii) areas of ethical and moral hazard.

Source: Polish Development Fund, "A guide for micro, small and medium enterprises to the financial shield of the PFR. Programme description and funding conditions” Version 1. 0, April 30, 2020 (downloadable at https://pfrsa.pl/tarcza-finansowa-pfr/tarcza-finansowa-pfr-dla-mmsp-wazne.html)

Author team leader DKP Legal Michał Puk
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