The Bulgarian government and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed earlier in the week a funding agreement to implement the SME Initiative, which is expected to unlock 600 million euros in loans to Bulgarian small businesses.
The European Commission welcomed the signing of the funding agreement, which is expected to unlock between 400 million euros and 600 million euros of additional lending for Bulgarian small businesses.
The SME Initiative programme for Bulgaria is funded by 102 million euros from the EU's European Regional Development Fund.
It is part of a broader initiative of the European Commission and the EIB Group, in line with the Investment Plan for Europe, to encourage member states to double their use of European Structural and Investment funds invested through financial instruments in the 2014-2020 period.
European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Cretu, noted that the SME Initiative is a concrete example of how EU funds contribute to economic growth and creation of jobs.
Cretu added that the SME Initiative does not require co-financing from national or regional resources.
The implementation of the SME Initiative will provide entrepreneurs with an access to numerous EU business-support programmes such as competitiveness and innovation funding and will reduce the European fees for administrative compliance.
More than 3000 SMEs are expected to make use of the initiative under preferential conditions.
Bulgaria is the first country from the region to benefit from the initiative.
Sofia News Agency