Bulgaria Redirects 150 Mln Euro from EU-funded Programme to SMEs

Bulgaria Redirects 150 Mln Euro from EU-funded Programme to SMEs

Bulgaria's economy ministry said 150 million euro ($194.5 million) from the EU-funded Competitiveness Operational Programme will be redirected from institutional beneficiaries to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) next year.

SMEs will be able to take low-interest loans from a newly created fund worth 300 million euro, as half of the money will come from the EU-funded programme at zero interest rate and the other half from commercial banks at market interest rates, the ministry said in a press release.

This is a new financial engineering scheme which aims to streamline procedures and facilitate access to cheap financial resources for SMEs, the ministry said.

Three new grant schemes under the EU-funded programme will start operating at the beginning of next year. The first one - worth 150 million euro - will be called Energy Efficiency for a Competitive Industry and will be co-financed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Another 50 million euro will be used for construction of technology parks and 10 million euro will be allocated to the development of regional business incubators.

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