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Bulgaria to invest 1.5 bln euro by 2027 to support start-ups, tech innovation

Bulgaria to invest 1.5 bln euro by 2027 to support start-ups, tech innovation Author: MPD01605. License: Creative Commons, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), August 8 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria will invest close to 3 billion levs ($1.56 billion/1.53 billion euro) of EU-backed funds over the next five years to foster innovations in business and the development of new technologies, the innovation ministry said.

The funds will be geared mostly towards micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including technology start-ups, the ministry said in a press release on Sunday.

The grants will be disbursed in the new programming period of the operational programme Competitiveness and Innovations, which is part of the European Union's regional funding mechanism.

Bulgaria's caretaker government will this week formally apply for the programme's final approval by the European Commission, the ministry added.

The financing will be provided to businesses both in the form of grants and financial instruments, with a ratio of almost 50:50 between the two types of funding. This is also the first time that the programme will provide a combination of a financial instrument and a grant, the ministry noted.

The companies are expected to use the funds to enhance their research and development capabilities or grow export potential. The funds will also aim to boost the creation or development of businesses in high-tech industry sectors, for new patent applications and intellectual property, among others. Grants and financial instruments will also be available to stimulate the circular economy in the form of green production lines development, efficient use of resources and improving capabilities for recycling and the use of by-products and secondary raw materials.

The first procedure under the operational programme will allow MSMEs to apply for total funding of 127 million levs.

In a separate statement the ministry said earlietr that Bulgarian MSMEs will receive 200 million levs for the construction of renewable energy sources and energy storage facilities of up to 1 MWh in capacity under the EU-backed national Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP), with grants for photovoltaic plants and battery storage systems to be open before the end of 2022.

Last week, the European Commission approved Bulgaria's first operational programme, Human Resources Development, giving the green light for the disbursement of over 3.8 billion levs including co-financing by 2027, the ministry of labour and social policy said.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)