European Commission OKs Bulgaria’s Innovations&Competitiveness Operational Program
The European Commission has approved Bulgaria’s operational program Innovations and Competitiveness 2014-2020, according to the press office of the EC.
The operational program has a budget of around EUR 1.39 B that is to be invested into the development of the Bulgarian economy, including EUR 1.18 B under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The program is aimed at stimulating economic growth and increasing productivity, especially at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Special attention is paid to the cooperation between the business sector and research networks and to the goal of boosting entrepreneurial activity in Bulgaria.
The main tools that will be used to achieve these goals will be financial instruments such as bank loans, guarantees, and private equity.
The operational program will also provide funding for measures aimed at increasing the resource efficiency and energy efficiency of companies.
Major expected results include support for more than 9000 companies through grants and financial instruments and the mobilization of over EUR 1 B in private investments.
The program is expected to increase the share of innovative businesses and the productivity of SMEs.
The operational program will also contribute to a reduction of energy consumption in Bulgaria’s economy.
The main priorities of the program are: technological development and innovations: EUR 250 M under the ERDF (21.24% of the budget); energy efficiency and resource efficiency of enterprises: EUR 593 M under the ERDF (50.17% of the budget); removing obstacles in the sphere of security of supply: EUR 38.2 M under the ERDF (3.24% of the budget); technical assistance: EUR 35.4 M under the ERDF (3% of the budget).
Around 25% of the funding under the operational program will be provided in the form of financial instruments such as guarantees on bank loans and private equity.
The first calls for proposals under the program are to be announced in 2015.
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