The European Commission has given its approval for the Bulgarian Program for Competitiveness and Innovation in Enterprises (PCIE), which is worth more than 1.49 billion euros, for the program period 2021-2027. This was announced by the representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria.
The program provides targeted support to Bulgarian companies to overcome the main problem areas that are delaying the transformation of the Bulgarian economy into an innovative, digital, low-carbon and efficient use of resources. More than 85 percent of the PKIP budget, or 1.28 billion euros, is intended solely for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), BTA recalls.
The main goals of the program are to achieve intelligent and sustainable growth of the Bulgarian economy, as well as industrial and digital transformation in the country. Other priorities are also:
· development and strengthening of capacity for scientific research and innovation and implementation of advanced technologies;
· promoting sustainable growth, job creation, internationalization and competitiveness of SMEs;
· ensuring the benefits of the digital transition;
· transition to a circular and energy-efficient economy
The types of activities that will be supported, according to the European program, are:
- support for innovation in start-up and fast-growing enterprises in the field of high-tech industries;
- promoting digitization, including solutions to ensure cyber security, and developing technologies necessary for the transition to Industry 4.0;
- support for the introduction of low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies, certification of energy management systems and incentives for renewable energy sources;
- support for SMEs in introducing technologies for the efficient use of natural resources, increasing recycling rates, modernizing waste management technologies and promoting partnerships between enterprises and the sharing of good practices.
Part of the program's budget (35 percent) will be implemented through financial instruments, such as bank loan guarantees and capital investments at all stages of SME development. This will ensure a more efficient and sustainable use of EU resources in support of projects that generate income and savings.
A day ago, the EC approved the "Transport Connectivity" Program. This is the first major infrastructure program for our country for the current program period. According to it, the EU grants Bulgaria 1.61 billion euros intended for investments promoting the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport and alternative fuels.
Implementation will start by the end of the year
The implementation of the program is expected to start by the end of this year. The first procedure under PCIE will have a budget of BGN 127 million and will be aimed at micro, small and medium-sized companies from various sectors of the economy. It is for the development of innovations in enterprises, the Ministry of Innovation and Growth reports.
The next procedure, which is expected at the beginning of 2023, is in the amount of BGN 117.5 million to improve the production capacity of SMEs, family businesses, enterprises from the creative industries and crafts.
After it, there will also be a procedure for implementing innovations in SMEs for nearly BGN 300 million.
The "Competitiveness and Innovations in Enterprises" program is aimed at micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country, and companies at different stages of their development will be supported. Partnerships between SMEs and large companies to develop new technologies will also be stimulated. The main priorities of the Program are two - "Innovations and Growth" and "Circular Economy". Funds are provided for the development and implementation of innovations in companies, development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, creation of new or development of existing companies with a focus on high-tech sectors of industry, protection of patents, industrial property, etc. Digitization, the increase of cyber security, the confidentiality of data in SMEs and the skills of the staff to work with the technologies of Industry 4.0 will be stimulated. The modernization of family businesses and those in the creative industries and crafts will be supported.
In addition to greater energy efficiency and independence of companies, the second priority - "Circular Economy" includes financing for more efficient use of resources, the development of products with greater durability or with the possibility of recycling, increasing use of secondary raw materials, improvement of waste management, etc.
We would like to remind you that BGN 600 million under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan is provided by the Ministry of Innovation and Growth by the end of the year to support local businesses alone.