In the 2014-2020 programming period, Bremen and Bremerhaven are to receive a total of € 103 million out of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) from the European Commission. The overriding objectives of Bremen’s ERDF programme in this period are:
in order to promote smart, sustainable and integrational development in the State of Bremen. With a view to achieving this, the State of Bremen has evolved a programme consisting of four thematic priorities, or “priority axes”:
This axis aims to initiate innovations and research projects in the State of Bremen. Research, development and innovation are important factors for the growth and competitiveness of companies in the region. For this reason, more than half of the new ERDF funding is going towards this priority axis.
Part of the funding is allocated for establishing and expanding close-to-market research facilities in the state. The main focus will be on fields in which the State of Bremen has particular strengths and expertise, e.g. aerospace or wind power. Funding will go towards the enlargement of the facilities’ buildings and to new appliances and technologies, groups of researchers and special services.
Most of the funding in this axis is provided for research, development and innovation projects in which companies from the State of Bremen – in cooperation with other companies or research establishments – develop and bring to market specific new products, processes or services. Such projects tend to be risky, and in many cases companies can only cope with them if they have financial backing and work together with experts from the research community. A special focus here is placed on projects in environmental technology and research.
The SME axis is intended to initiate investment projects in small and medium-sized enterprises and to boost the number of start-ups in the State of Bremen.
If small and medium-sized enterprises are to be able to grow, purchase new machinery, introduce more efficient production processes and thus safeguard and create jobs, they need to be able to invest. Small and young companies in particular, which lack collateral and equity, often encounter difficulties when trying to obtain bank loans for such investment. In order to close this liquidity gap and to enable more investment projects to be carried out, the ERDF supports the investment loans of the State of Bremen via the SME axis.
Furthermore, funding is going towards microloans for micro and small enterprises, new start-ups, professional service providers and cooperatives. As the name suggests, this is about micro projects which, due to their small size, often cannot obtain funding on the credit market.
Another objective of the SME axis is to boost the level of start-up activity in the State of Bremen. To this end, various support services for those wishing to start up in business in the State of Bremen are being combined and further optimised in 2015 with a view to establishing BEGIN, an even more effective advisory network.
Anyone wishing to start up a business
One focus of the new programming period is on particularly innovative start-up ideas which the ERDF supports with specific consultancy and coaching services under the “BRUT” programme.
Combating climate change and reducing carbon emissions in the State of Bremen is the third important theme of the ERDF programme in the State of Bremen.
On the one hand, the ERDF is concentrating on conservation and energy efficiency potential in companies in the State of Bremen. Funding is going towards information and consultancy services in order to pinpoint potential energy savings in companies and to provide information about specific efficiency measures. Building on this, the ERDF also funds very specific investment projects in the companies, e.g. for energy-saving machinery and process technology, more resource-friendly building and plant technology, more efficient and renewable-based energy generation, the use of renewable energy, and thermal insulation of the building envelope.
On the other hand, the ERDF funding in this axis can be used to promote the drafting and implementation of climate change mitigation concepts focused on specific urban areas in the State of Bremen and viewing the various fields of action in the overall context. In this way, the potential savings offered by energy efficiency and climate change mitigation projects for improving the energy performance of buildings, for energy supply and distribution, but also on the issues of urban spatial design, infrastructure, mobility and logistics can thus be viewed in terms of their spatial interactions, making it possible to improve the interaction of the projects.
Finally, in the fourth priority axis, the ERDF promotes integrated urban development in the two urban districts of Bremen-Gröpelingen and Bremerhaven-Lehe. Both neighbourhoods are particularly severely affected by the repercussions of structural change and by poverty, exclusion and low employment and educational opportunities. On the other hand, Gröpelingen and Lehe have an especially important function as driving forces for integration in the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven.
Against this background, the prime objective of the ERDF is to promote projects which invest in education and employment and thus help to stabilise the local economy. In the context of a coordinated package of measures, funding is going towards urban renewal measures, neighbourhood initiatives, local support centres and educational structures, as well as advisory measures for the neighbourhood economy.
Overall, it can be seen that, over the next few years, the ERDF programme of the State of Bremen aims to provide an important stimulus towards promoting innovation, employment and the spirit of entrepreneurship in the region, to foster climate change mitigation, and to improve the prospects for those living in particularly disadvantaged neighbourhoods to participate.