Red tape was putting off Polish small businesses from applying for EU cash until an innovative project in Małopolska stepped in. Thanks to the ‘Subjective Financing of Education’ project that introduced a voucher scheme to help businesses and individuals pay for training options, more SMEs are receiving finance through the European Social Fund (ESF).
Flexible and secure solution
Vouchers have become a quick, flexible solution to the bureaucratic complexity behind paying for training activities with an added bonus of proper protection for public funds. Each beneficiary receives funds without bank transfers, thus avoiding unnecessary returns and debt collection. Funds can only be redeemed through vouchers by organisations whose services have been rigorously assessed and carry the Małopolskie Education-Training Services Standards (MSUES) quality mark.
Initial project testing saw:
- training vouchers awarded to 180 enterprises
- vouchers redeemed with one of 147 local training companies that met the MSUES standard
- use across the region to pay for projects which help businesses and their employees adapt to change
The payments system continues to develop and become more user-friendly: paper vouchers were recently replaced by an online system.