After a year, Spanish companies are learning more about European funds and aid, which came to relaunch the economy after the Covid crisis. A total of 54.1% of companies are familiar with the European Union's next generation funds, according to the Business Climate Study presented this Tuesday by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Sigmados. This degree of knowledge has increased almost 14 percentage points compared to last year, when it stood at 40.6%.
The largest companies and those in the industrial sector are the ones that have been best informed of its existence in order to benefit from it. On the contrary, the hospitality sector is the one with the lowest knowledge (47.1%). In other words, small businesses, which are among those that have suffered the most from the pandemic, still do not know how to benefit from this type of aid.
The report of the body chaired by Juan Luis Bonet argues that the size of the company is essential to access funds. Specifically, 54.1% of the largest - more than 250 employees - know how to access, compared to 36.1% of companies with 6 to 10 employees.
Another relevant piece of information included in the study is that 24.2% of companies have applied for next generation funds or are going to do so in the coming months. Specifically, 14.2% have already claimed them and 10% "plan to do it" details the study. For Rosa Díaz, general director of Sigmados, "a quarter of Spanish companies have already applied for European funds or plan to do so". Which means that these aids have become one more instrument of the companies for their financing and development.
In absolute terms, and taking into account that in Spain, with data from the INE, there are some 260,000 companies with 6 or more employees, since more than 140,000 companies are aware of European aid, according to the report.
According to Luis Bonet, some 70,000 SMEs have joined the digital kit, which means receiving between 2,000 and 3,000 euros to acquire software and digitize the company. It is a sign of the interest also of small firms and freelancers to join the new technologies and take steps towards the digital age.
But the study not only includes access to next generation funds, but also analyzes the climate of the Spanish business community. It reveals that 80% of companies consider the increase in the cost of energy and raw materials as the main difficulty for the development of their activity in 2022. They are followed by the scarcity of raw materials and supply problems (42.6%) , as well as the increase in labor costs (34.3%). (See graphic).
The survey, carried out between May and July, points to "a generalized pessimism among Spanish companies about their activity in 2022 as a whole. In fact, 6 out of 10 companies declare themselves little or not at all optimistic about their evolution this year, a vision negative that extends to all sectors and business sizes.However, expectations for 2023 improve in terms of exports and to a lesser extent in terms of imports, the hiring of personnel and sales in Spain.
Bonet underlined that in order to recover the spirit of businessmen, it is necessary to work together with the Government to "banish business pessimism and preserve economic growth and job creation". The report shows that 86.7% of businessmen "estimate the risk of recession in 2023 as very or quite important".