Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country can now apply for grants for the purchase of equipment and software for the development of new production lines and products. A total of BGN 260 million will be invested in the Bulgarian business under the "Technological Modernization" measure. It is the first under the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan (NRSP) and will be implemented by the General Directorate "European Competitiveness Funds" (GD ECF) of the Ministry of innovation and growth.
The minimum amount of the grant under the program is BGN 35,000. The maximum is differentiated depending on the size and needs of the companies. If they are micro, they can claim a maximum of BGN 180,000. The ceiling for small ones is BGN 350,000, and for medium ones – BGN 700,000. The funds can be used to buy, for example, machines with automated control, robots or systems for digital control of the processes. Co-financing is up to 50%. The deadline for submitting projects is two months - until September 21, 2022 inclusive. This is done entirely electronically through the ISUN 2020 system, in which a new module for NPVU was developed.
"The main objective of the procedure is to increase the efficiency of production processes, achieve higher productivity, reduce costs and optimize the production chain by providing grants to SMEs", commented the Minister of Innovation and Growth, Daniel Lorer. He emphasized that the expected effect is the restoration of the economic potential of enterprises from the period before the COVID pandemic and the creation of conditions for the growth and development of Bulgarian companies through digitalization of production processes.
The procedure is aimed at companies in four of the country's economic sectors – C (Processing industry), E (Water supply; Sewerage services, waste management and recovery), J (Creation and dissemination of information and creative products; Telecommunications) and M (Professional activities and research).
These are mainly manufacturing companies - for medicines, computers or optical materials, food, beverages, clothing, etc.
Enterprises that deal with the collection and disposal of waste or the recycling of materials, film and television studios, radio, television and news agencies, as well as companies with architectural, engineering or scientific research and development activities are also eligible.
A mandatory condition is that they are registered no later than December 31, 2019. They must also have realized annual net sales revenue for the last three years in the amount of over BGN 210,000 for micro, over BGN 750,000 for small and over BGN 3 million for medium-sized enterprises.
By the end of the year, under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, another procedure for supporting production investments is expected to be launched - for the construction of RES and energy storage facilities. Its budget will be BGN 200 million. In 2023, under the "Competitiveness and Innovations in Enterprises" Program, family companies and those in the creative industries and crafts will be supported with BGN 119 million.