MIG explained how it ranks companies with the "Seal of Excellence" from the EC for financing under the measure of RSP

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Photo: Ministry of Innovation and Growth

Clarifications about the companies classified for financing under the measure of the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan "Support for innovative enterprises awarded with the "Seal of Excellence" by the European Commission, were distributed to the media by the Ministry of Innovation and Growth. Here are the details:

· Directorate-General "European Competitiveness Funds" under the Ministry of Innovation and Growth has been designated as a Monitoring and Reporting Structure (MNR) under investment C2.I1 of the Recovery and Resilience Plan "Programme for accelerating economic recovery and transformation through scientific research and innovations", Pillar 1: Strengthening the research and innovation potential and accelerating the internationalization of the national innovation ecosystem, Operation 1: "Implementation of project proposals of innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that received the seal of excellence"1 on the competitions of the European Innovation Council".

The "Seal of Excellence" is awarded by the European Commission to projects that have applied to programs directly managed by the Commission such as Horizon 2020 (2014-2020) and Horizon Europe (2021-2027) and have passed all evaluation procedures at European level, but for which funding under the relevant tender procedure has not been reached.

· The specific procedure under the NRSP - BG-RRP-2.006 "Support for innovative SMEs awarded with the Seal of Excellence" is for Bulgarian enterprises for the implementation of projects awarded with the "Seal of Excellence" by the European Innovation Council under Horizon 2020 programs " and "Horizon Europe".

· At the national level, these projects are not assessed on their merits, but their eligibility is only confirmed in relation to the applicable national rules and the rules for the implementation of investments under the NRSP. Such an assessment has already been made by independent European evaluators and a jury of the European Innovation Council. It covers several stages of evaluation by independent evaluators and by a jury, which is composed of specialists in the high technology and innovation scheme at the European level (https://eic.ec.europa.eu/eic-jury-members_en). The presence of the EC document - digitally signed certificate of excellence is a condition for eligibility to participate in this specific procedure.

· The total financial resource of the investment is BGN 118,600 million. Within the first window, 12 enterprises with a total value of BGN 34,075,180.81 have been proposed for financing.

· 2 other candidates were rejected because they did not meet the conditions of the procedure. Detailed information is presented in the list of rejected candidates published on the website of MIG.

· The procedure was announced on 04/07/2023 with two deadlines (windows) for application. The first window is from 04/07/2023 with an application deadline of 05/12/2023.

· The 12 enterprises proposed for funding from the first window have, at the time of application, been awarded the "Seal of Excellence" by the European Innovation Council under the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programs.

· On January 08, 2024, the second window for financing projects awarded with the "Seal of Excellence" after 2021 will be opened, i.e. on the new competition sessions of Horizon Europe. The deadline for applications under the second window is 23.02.2024.

· For this type of instrument, called "alternative financing" (when a European program does not have enough financial resources, but there are many quality projects that can be financed through alternative financing sources), there is also a special eligibility regime in terms of point of state aid, regulated in art. 25a Aid for projects that have received the Seal of Excellence quality mark from Commission Regulation 651/2014 of 17 June 2014 declaring certain categories of aid compatible with the internal market in application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the functioning of the European Union (hereinafter referred to as Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014 or "General Block Exemption Regulation" - GBER), amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No. 2023/1315 of June 23, 2023.

A similar measure exists in many EU member states, including Portugal, Greece, Italy, Romania, etc.

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