BGN 2.93 billion planned for Bulgarian business under the Competitiveness and Innovation Program until 2027

The program was sent a week ago to Brussels and is awaiting final approval

Industry / Bulgaria , Finance
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Source: Ministry of Innovation and Growth

Raya Lecheva

Over BGN 2.93 billion are planned for Bulgarian business under the Competitiveness and Innovation Program until 2027, which was sent to Brussels for approval last week. This was commented by Iliyana Ilieva, Chief Director of the General Directorate "European Funds for Competitiveness" at the Ministry of Innovation and Growth during an online forum of the Executive Agency for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises.

Over 30% of the budget is for innovation in enterprises, 30% is for investments in the circular economy, over 17% is set aside for growth and competitiveness projects, more than 13% is for digitalization, separately nearly 7% is for energy efficiency in enterprises .

The first measure under the program is expected to start by the end of the year. The Ministry of Innovation and Growth plans to open a measure for the development of innovations in enterprises with a budget of BGN 127 million. Enterprises with low and medium market capitalization with up to 400 and up to 1500 employees are allowed to participate, cooperation of large and small enterprises is envisaged.

And already at the beginning of 2023, it is planned to launch a procedure to improve the production capacity in enterprises for BGN 117.5 million for small businesses, family businesses and companies from the creative industries and crafts.

In the second quarter of 2023, a measure for implementing innovations in enterprises with a budget of BGN 293 million will be launched.

Separately, over BGN 2.1 billion have been earmarked for the Scientific Research, Innovation and Digitization for Intelligent Transformation Program by 2027, the Ministry of Innovation and Growth announced. It will be managed by two Intermediate units, namely units in the Ministry of Education and in the Ministry of e-Government. According to her, nearly 30% are for digitization in the public sector, followed by technology commercialization transfer with 25%, over 21% will be for European integration and internationalization. Also, more than 19% will be for research capacity building and a very small budget, but again about 2% from a program to measure capacity building in the areas of smart specialization.

With the formal approval of the program from Brussels, several important measures related to innovation in cooperation between business, science, the non-governmental sector and local authorities will be launched.

BGN 135 million are earmarked for innovation hubs in the country

More than BGN 135 million are earmarked for the construction of a national network of 12 digital and innovation hubs. Separately, more than BGN 277 million have been earmarked for the development of the Centers of Excellence and the Centers of Competence. The goal is for the centers to receive support for seven years, so that they can earn money and really support the enterprises, commented Ilieva. A voucher scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises for BGN 49 million will also be launched, in which universities can also apply.

Limit prices will be created for suppliers, but there will be no application, suppliers must meet certain conditions, and for projects up to BGN 20,000 direct conclusion of a contract is envisaged.

For all enterprises that have received a certificate of excellence under the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programs of the European Innovation Council, they will be able to benefit from an additional 118 million BGN.

Companies are already applying for modernization under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan,

open measures for more than 400 million BGN

Until September 21, companies can apply under the first procedure open to Bulgaria from the "Technological Modernization" Recovery Plan. It is for BGN 260 million, and the submission of documents is entirely online through the ISUN system. But for two more days, businesses can ask their questions. It is mainly for manufacturing companies - for medicines, computers or optical materials, food, beverages, clothing, etc. Companies with architectural, engineering or research and development activities are eligible. Depending on the size and needs, companies can receive between BGN 180,000 and BGN 700,000 for new equipment, machinery, machines and software.

The procedure is aimed at four of the country's economic sectors - processing industry, water supply; sewage services, waste management and recovery, creation and dissemination of information and creative products, telecommunications, professional activities and scientific research.

Microenterprises will receive 50% financing, and companies from Sofia and Pernik up to 30% co-financing of their projects, while the support for companies from Blagoevgrad will be 50%.

Companies will have to be registered no later than the end of 2019. Realized sales revenue in the last 3 years for micro-enterprises should be BGN 210,000, for small enterprises BGN 750,000 and for medium enterprises BGN 3 million. For 2021, the net income of a micro-enterprise should be more than or equal to 52,000 BGN, for a few 187,000 BGN, for an average 750,000 BGN.

The entire amount must be pledged in the project budget, and co-financing is up to 50%.

In September, a grant scheme for BGN 30.6 million will be launched for businesses for ICT solutions and cyber security.

Nearly BGN 200 million will go to the business for the construction of RES capacities for its own needs by the end of the year. At the beginning of next year, the circular economy program for 180 million BGN will be launched

Applications can be made at ISUN in the section for the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability. Ilieva warned that businesses should be careful about exactly which programs they apply for, so as not to confuse the measures under the Competitiveness Plan and Program.

Businesses should be careful and not mix the measures under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan and the Program for Competitiveness and Innovation, advised Iliyana Ilieva, Director General of the Directorate General "European Funds for Competitiveness" at the Ministry of Innovation and Growth during an online forum of the Executive Agency to promote small and medium enterprises.

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