Pécs and Baranya

 

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya (PBKIK), led by the Institute of Transdisciplinary Research of the Faculty of General Medicine of the University of Pécs (PTE ÁOK ITD) and the Pécs Healthcare Innovation Centre Ltd (PEIK), as a partner, has been awarded a consortium project in response to the Capacity building call for proposals launched by the InnoStars Centre of the Health Sector of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).  The project is entitled “The South Transdanubian region as a thriving health economy: bringing together the unique knowledge, health, government and industry sectors to reap the benefits of the silver economy”.

The project will analyse investment opportunities to make the Silver Economy a feasible development strategy in the long term.

The implementation of our economic development strategy can be observed in the environmental industry, the health industry and the creative industry. These are underpinned by higher education and research. The cluster activities organised by the Chamber have contributed to making creativity, innovation and vocational training a common practice in cooperation.

Population ageing affects all developed countries. This process need not be a barrier to economic growth, but can stimulate the development of new goods and services, such as housing or transport adapted to the needs of an ageing population, or new social and welfare services. Improving the quality of life of older people is not only of social importance, but also has significant economic potential. These findings have been confirmed by a study carried out in 2021 with MSB Zrt.

The growth prospects for the Silver Economy (economic activity based on the needs of older people) are steadily improving. The sector’s high multiplier effect also creates an excellent opportunity for related sectors, especially in areas with tourism and rural areas such as the South Transdanubian region.

The huge potential of the Silver Economy is illustrated by projections that by 2025 Europe is expected to have 222 million ‘silver-age’ residents, 43% of the total population, generating an expected €5,7 trillion in spending, 31% of European GDP. The over-65 (inactive) age group has assets worth around 75% more than the average net worth. Last but not least, the Silver Economy will sustain 88 million jobs by 2025.

This economic development concept, which is based on the needs of the foreign and Hungarian over-55s, offers great opportunities for many sectors, including:

  • Health care industry – development and capacity building of private and public health care systems, health innovation, health insurance system development.
  • Services sector – physical and mental recreation services, passenger transport, banking, telecommunications, services for workers in the silver economy.
  • Tourism – hospitality – health and wellness, eco-tourism, gastronomic tourism through development.
  • Construction – real estate construction, renovation of both private and commercial real estate, low energy, smart – home technologies, protection of built heritage.
  • Research – development, education – products and services developed directly for the target market and products, services and training developed for workers in the Silver Economy.

The following is a summary of the tax incentives and good practices available, as well as the (typically non-financial) tools available to investors in the region, primarily in Baranya County, through the Pécs-Baranya Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

R&D certification from the SZTNH – tax relief

The tasks related to the certification of research and development (R&D) activities are performed by the National Intellectual Property Office (SZTNH) on the basis of the provisions of the R&D Act (Act LXXVI of 2014 on Scientific Research, Development and Innovation).

Within the framework of its regulatory activities, the Office may initiate R&D qualification procedures:

  • Project qualification

In the framework of the project classification procedure, the Office classifies the designated project with regard to whether the activities constituting its content can be considered research and development (R&D).

In addition, the Office will, at the request of the applicant:

  • determine the proportion of basic research, applied research or experimental development activities in the project and whether
  • whether the activities in question are carried out by the applicant within the scope of its own activities within the meaning of Section 4(32) of Act LXXXI of 1996 on Corporate Tax and Dividend Tax.

In certain cases, the determination of the ratio is necessary for the receipt of R&D aid, as different aid intensities may be linked to different R&D activities and tax benefits may be available for R&D activities carried out in the own-account activity.

Qualification is project-based and can only be requested for projects/parts of projects that have not yet started. If you wish to qualify an R&D project that has already started, you can request an expert opinion. The Office will take a decision within 30 days.

A project classified as R&D by a final decision of the Office must be considered as such by other authorities.

  • Project group qualification

Upon request, the Office will classify groups of projects on the basis of whether the projects included in the group of projects by the applicant can be considered as research and development (R&D) activities. In the case of a positive decision, the scope of the project group qualification shall cover all projects in the project group.

  • Preparation of an expert opinion

The Office may be consulted as an expert by the tax authorities in the course of tax audits and by other authorities or courts in order to assess the R&D aspects of the activities referred to in the request and to answer other technical questions.

The above procedures are described in more detail in the information brochure of the OHIM (entitled ‘RDI Manual – Methodological Guide for the RDI Evaluation of Proposals’), which summarises the most important information on the Office’s procedures (1).

Investing in start-ups: angel register or start-up register – tax relief

The angel investor relief allows the first private investors in start-up companies (early-stage businesses) to reduce their corporate tax base by the cost value of the shares they hold in such companies.

The tax relief is intended to reduce the risk for angel investors in corporate form and thus encourage business angels to invest in (i.e. acquire ownership stakes in) early-stage, innovative start-ups by providing capital.

The incentive allows the angel investor to reduce his pre-tax profit by three times the amount invested (including any subsequent capital increase) in the tax year of the investment and in equal instalments over the following three tax years. The pre-tax profit can be reduced by up to HUF 20 million per tax year and per early stage company, i.e. by a maximum of HUF 80 million over four years. The extent and conditions of the tax relief available are regulated by the Act on Corporate Tax and Dividend Tax.

As the tax relief is considered to be “de minimis” aid, it is not available to business angels under EU state aid rules if they invest in start-ups in the following sectors:

  • Fisheries and aquaculture;
  • primary production of agricultural products;
  • processing and marketing of agricultural products;
  • processing and processing of agricultural products

and start-ups with the following core activities:

  • transport, freight forwarding;
  • trade;
  • real estate.

In order to benefit from the tax relief, both the startup receiving the investment and the company investing in such businesses (angel investor) must apply for registration (i.e., registration) with the National Intellectual Property Office. (2)

According to the Tao Act (Act LXXXI of 1996 on Corporate Tax and Dividend Tax), a company can claim a tax base reduction (investment in an early-stage company) for three times the cost value of the participation (increment), but up to HUF 20 million per tax year – and per early-stage company – for a maximum of 4 tax years.

Under the rule described, the tax base reduction is available if the investor

  • acquires an interest in an early-stage enterprise, or
  • acquires an additional holding in an early-stage enterprise (increases the size of its holding). (3)

Early-stage enterprise according to the Tao:

Condition 1: a legal entity registered under the Government Decree on the Registration of Early Stage Enterprises, provided that it complies with the requirements of the Government Decree on Registration [Government Decree No. 331/2017 (XI. 9.) of 9 November 2017], i.e. it is included in the official register of the National Intellectual Property Office on early stage enterprises and enterprises supporting early stage enterprises, which requires:

  • the enterprise was established within three calendar years preceding the date of the application for registration,
  • the annual net turnover of the enterprise, as shown in its annual accounts for the financial year preceding the submission of the application for registration, does not exceed HUF 100 million,
  • according to the annual accounts of the enterprise for the business year preceding the submission of the application for registration, the average number of employees is at least two and not more than twenty,
  • the undertaking has not been invested in by a venture capital fund manager pursuant to Act XVI of 2014 on Collective Investment Schemes and their Managers and amending certain financial acts,
  • does not hold a participation (share) in another company,
  • its activity meets the conditions for innovation as defined in Section 3(6) of Act LXXVI of 2014 on Scientific Research, Development and Innovation

and

  • has no enforceable tax debts registered with a state or municipal tax authority at the time of submitting the application for registration,

and, in addition

Condition 2: the average number of employees in the early-stage enterprise during the tax years in which the benefit is claimed is equal to or greater than two persons,

Condition 3: the early-stage enterprise is not an associated enterprise of the taxpayer entitled to the benefit for the tax years in which the benefit is claimed. (4)

Here are brief summaries of the results of 3 projects funded by the European Union. The results, suggestions and learning materials generated by these projects can help local businesses and tourism development.

In addition, a number of other international (e.g. Interreg) projects in the field of tourism are being implemented, which will open up further investment opportunities for public and private investors.

ADOBE (Accessible Tourism Destinations And Services In Border Areas) project

The aim of the project is to help people with disabilities (different types and levels of disability or illness) to get to know Baranya as a tourist region and to improve the accessibility of attractions and services through joint information provision, service development and competence development.

The project will develop a survey, an evaluation and an assessment tool. The project will develop an assessment and evaluation system, including a “trademark” system, which will make it easy for people with disabilities to evaluate and visualise the different services, and to identify the strengths and development needs of attractions and services. Service development will be carried out through a practical handbook, and the project will also include the organisation of competence development and events for service providers, guides and facility managers. The project will contribute to the joint promotion of tourism in the counties of Baranya and Baranja, to better meet the needs of the specific target group targeted by the project and to increase the number of visitors and demand for local services for people with disabilities (5).

The project has produced a guide entitled Developing accessible tourism services and an app.

The aim of the guide is to enable more travellers with some form of disability to visit Baranya and enjoy the accessible tourism values and services. The first step is to make the county’s service providers aware of what accessible tourism is and how it can be developed. Accessibility can be expressed in relation to several target groups and at different levels. Implementing universal design principles throughout the entire facility may require a major investment, which may discourage owners from investing. However, there are also a number of smaller, easier and less costly changes that can be made to open up the service to new target groups and which can be financed by the owner (6).

The “ADOBE Interreg HU-HR” application provides information on the availability of tourism products and services in Osijek-Baranja County and Baranya County. Its main task is to provide information on the adaptation of selected tourism products and services for persons with disabilities, as well as accessibility ratings available based on user evaluations. When visiting Osijek-Baranja County, you can book and rent equipment for people with disabilities to fully enjoy the tourist offer.

Project website: https://adobe-huhr.com/

REFREsh project

The main objective of the REFREsh project was to recycle industrial heritage through new creative uses, involving creative actors and actors from the commercial and service sectors. Over a period of three years, ten partners from Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy and Croatia worked together to reuse five selected industrial sites. The investments were made in Freiberg (DE), Komlo (HU), Piran (SI), Castello di Godego (IT) and Lokve (HR).

After the renovation of the sites, the new use was tested in pilot actions in each region. This focused on the integration of the creative scene to test the reuse of spaces as cultural centres – starting points for the development of selected industrial areas, municipalities and regions. The pilot activities included exhibitions, cultural events and creative workshops, with the intention of reaching a critical mass of creative actors and fostering transnational collaboration of the creative scene. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 epidemic, most of the events could not be implemented as foreseen.

However, the partners have developed successful alternatives in the form of videos and digital implementation to test recycling concepts in countries and to implement pilot actions in new ways. These have demonstrated the success of the newly created spaces. The project also developed benchmarking and strategies for the integration of the creative scene. This has brought new value to rural regions and sustainable results. The proven approaches of the REFREsh project can be transferred to other rural areas in Central Europe, where old industrial heritage can be given a new purpose. Through the project, the partners have improved capacities for sustainable use of cultural heritage and resources and have tried to show how old industrial heritage transformed into cultural centres can be a starting point for the development of industrial areas, municipalities and regions in Central Europe (7)

The project has also produced a handbook of good practices, an international benchmarking support tool, regional SWOT analyses, feasibility studies and investment concepts. These are available in English on the following page:

https://www.interreg-central.eu/Content.Node/REFREsh.html

Cult-CreaTE project

The potential of cultural and creative industries (CCIs) to develop new cultural and creative tourism (CCT) products and services for growth and job creation has been promoted by the Cult-CreaTE project through policy changes in 8 regions.

The common challenges identified by the project were:

– The contribution of cultural and creative industries to cultural and creative tourism has not received sufficient attention. Cultural tourism needs CCIs to partly reinvent itself and attract new generations. CCIs are also an indispensable source of innovation for other types of sustainable tourism, typically “creative tourism”.

– Creative tourism can be seen as a new generation of cultural tourism, involving tourists and locals in the co-creation of tourism products.

– The cultural and creative industries are strategically positioned to promote smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in all regions and cities of the EU, and thus, through their use in cultural and creative tourism, they can fully contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy.

– Synergies between sustainable tourism and CCIs can increase the visibility and promotion of CCIs. These synergies can contribute to promoting sustainable tourism destinations, attracting new investments and creating new employment opportunities, especially for young people and underdeveloped regions.

The main deliverables are action plans for the implementation and monitoring of the improved policy instruments in the 8 target regions (8)

26 good practices have been implemented under the project, more information on which can be found here:

http://projects2014-2020.interregeurope.eu/cultcreate/good-practices/

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Pécs-Baranya (PBKIK) has extensive international contacts and can pass on best practices to our members in order to improve their competitiveness and willingness to cooperate. The implementation of the Chamber’s economic development strategy can be observed in the environmental industry, the health industry and the creative industry. These are underpinned by higher education and research. Cluster activities organised by the Chamber have contributed to making creativity, innovation and vocational training a common practice in cooperation.

The Chamber also seeks to attract international investors and raise awareness of the investment opportunities in the county. This is why the website https://pecseconomy.eu has been created, which is available only in English and summarises basic information about Baranya County for investors: a brief introduction of Pécs and Baranya, as well as its accessibility, are of particular importance:

  • information on the labour force (availability, qualifications),
  • the conditions for setting up a business (legal and financial requirements),
  • tax information (general and local taxes, tax rates),
  • presentation of industrial parks,
  • a description of the clusters operating in the county and the region,
  • and a description of the organisations and authorities that support and supervise businesses.