State Fund for Development of Information Technology will begin accepting applications for participation in the start-up projects contest to obtain grant funding from April.
The news was announced by State Fund's Executive Director Elchin Zeynalov.
The decision was taken at a regular meeting of the Supervisory Board of the Fund on February 28.
The projects submitted for the contest will be assessed by an expert group based on the previously approved criteria of the Board.
The evaluation of the projects will be conducted in accordance with 12 criteria, and projects that score eight points or more will be submitted to the Supervisory Board for further funding.
The issuance of small, medium, and large loans and grants from the State Fund is envisaged for financing the project.
Every Azerbaijani citizen can avail himself of the advantages of the ICT Fund's financing. The maximum grant available is 300,000 manats (over $382,000), provided for a period of 36 months.
The small grants amount to 10,000 to 50,000 manats (from $12,700 to $63,700) with a term of three years, medium grants can be from 50,000 to 500,000 manats (from $63,700 to $637,000) with a term of five years, and large grants can be from 200,000 to 300,000 manats (from $250,000 to $380,000) with a term of 10 years.
The interest rates of the loans will not exceed five percent per annum, and the maximum loan amount may reach five million manats (over $6 million).Funding terms
Small and medium-sized projects that will be implemented in two years will be funded in three phases. In the first phase, the projects will receive 40 percent of their total financing cost; in the second phase, an additional 30 percent will be allocated, and in the third stage when the final report is submitted, the remaining 30 percent of the amount will be given.
The applicants for the soft loans can apply to the authorized agents of the State Fund, which are "Pasha Bank", "Bank Respublika", "Demir Bank", "Rabita Bank", and "BTB Bank".
Financing the fund will be available for all individuals and legal entities that comply with the requirements of the fund.
The Board has specified five criteria (and sub-criteria) to select the projects for loan financing.
The grants allocation mechanisms and the range of projects that can be funded are available on the webpage of the Fund at ictfund.gov.az.
The state budget will provide 5 million manats for financing start-up projects in 2014. The second tranche is expected to be selected in May.
Along with support for entrepreneurship, the fund will also provide start-up participants with the necessary consulting services.
One of the important aspects of the fund's activity is commercializing innovative ideas both inside and outside the country.