Bulgaria to Invest EUR 102 M in Boosting Competitiveness of SMEs
The European Commission adopted on Monday an Operational Programme worth EUR 102 M to boost the competitiveness of Bulgarian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through increased access to finance.
The funds will be allocated from the European Regional Development Fund, the press service of the European Commission informs.
The expectations are that the investments under this programme, which will be in the form of bank guarantees, will generate between EUR 400 M and 600 M of fresh loans for SMEs.
The programme is part of the Commission's wider initiative to encourage member states to double their use of European Structural and Investment Funds channelled through financial instruments in the 2014-2020 programme period.
This is in line with the objectives of the Investment Plan for Europe of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Cretu congratulated the Bulgarian authorities on signing up to the SME initiative.
Cretu identified Bulgaria as being in the leading group of EU member states to benefit from this innovating tool.
The commissioner noted that small businesses are the engines of growth and job creation in Europe and improving their access to finance is crucial for the prosperity of the EU economy.
Bulgaria is the third member state after Spain and Malta to adopt such an investment programme.
The Bulgarian SMEs will make use of the first loans under the programme in the beginning of next year.
Commission Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva noted that the funds will help SMEs to expand their business, to emerge on new markets and to hire more employees.
Georgieva called on SMEs to be active and to make use of the EU funding in order to achieve better lives for themselves and the people around them.
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