ESA Council approves 35% advance payment for SMEs

During the 270th ESA Council held on 13/12/2017,  a new industrial policy measure that benefits small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was approved.

SMEs, acting either as prime contractor or subcontractor, will automatically be awarded an advance payment amounting to 35% of their contract price without having to demonstrate that they have a significant need for cash disbursement at the beginning of the contract.

The new measure is a means to systematically ensure a neutral cash flow for SMEs, thus supporting their financial viability.

Eric Morel de Westgaver, Director of Industry, Procurement and Legal Services, highlighted the importance of the change.

“Today we made a significant step in the implementation of the Agency’s SME policy. The 35% advance payment will facilitate the sustainable involvement of SMEs in ESA activities. It is a key step in addressing the financial challenges faced by small and medium-sized companies.”

The advance payment measure is an important element of the ESA SME policy which was approved by the Industrial Policy Committee for the first time in March 2016.

The policy aims at capitalising on the innovation and efficiency of SMEs to the benefit of all ESA programmes. It aims to foster the participation of SMEs in ESA activities and programmes by addressing the issues that are traditionally faced by SMEs such as financial viability, visibility and acquisition of in-flight-heritage which may hinder their participation. This policy also supports the development of the industrial base of the Agency’s Member States.

The SME policy is implemented by the SME Office through the SME Initiative programme.

For further information about the SME policy and the SME Initiative, see