The Bulgarian Fintech Association just published its second comprehensive annual report about the Fintech sector in the country. The research was conducted in cooperation with SEE News and provides extensive information about the industry – number and distribution of the companies by sector, analysis of the regulatory landscape, the investments in Fintechs and the place of the Bulgarian Fintech in South East Europe. For the first time, the annual report includes a mapping of the companies and the organisations that are part of the fintech ecosystem in Bulgaria
According to the report, the estimated number of Bulgarian Fintech companies is 100 – 66 emerging and 34 advanced. More than half of the companies were established between 2015 and 2020, with 22 being established in 2018 alone. Following a constant increase in the number of employees in the last five years, there was a slight decrease in 2019 to 3,338 people from 3,667 in 2018.
In 2020 Fintech companies in Bulgaria hit an all-time high operating revenue of EUR 361 million. Venture capital investments in fintech companies equal to 1/3 of all VC investments in Bulgaria. The local startups are backed not only by a number of venture capital funds, angel organisations and private investors but also by startup supporting initiatives of local banks.
Again, the heart of the Bulgarian fintech ecosystem is the capital Sofia with 84 of the identified fintech companies being headquartered here. Our city is one of the fastest-growing destinations in SEE and is becoming the fintech centre of the CEE region as well.
The fintech enterprises cover a wide variety of fintech segments. Still, payments and billing, capital markets, lending and personal finance are the most preferred development field for the Bulgarian fintech companies.
According to Valeri Valtchev, Co-founder and Chairman of BFA: Although the Bulgarian Fintech industry is considered a small contributor to the national GDP, it is one giant leap towards a high-value-added economy. For developing countries such as Bulgaria, the Fintech industry provides one of a few opportunities for catching up and promoting a highly efficient economy”.
Trending Topics SEE, Vangavis, and AI Cluster Bulgaria are working on a comprehensive report on the participants, strengths, and opportunities for the #AI ecosystem in Bulgaria.
The document will map the organizations that are applying Artificial Intelligence in Bulgaria. It will aim to make the most complete and thorough analysis of the environment, to draw attention to the most prominent developments and companies. It will also explore how AI enters people’s daily lives, what technical expertise should engineers in the industry have, the labor market’s situation, where the potential and critical points in AI in Bulgaria are.
To make the survey as thorough as possible, Trending Topics and the partner organizations want to draw data directly from the environment. Companies in Bulgaria that use AI to solve problems across industries are invited to complete a survey designed specifically for the analysis’s needs. Everyone who fills in the survey will have the opportunity to have the company’s logo included in the first AI mapping in Bulgaria.
For the purposes of the research, an AI company’s definition involves organizations developing AI-based products or services, providing solutions using AI and having at least one engineer on the team having experience in areas such as machine learning, big data analysis, NLP Computer Vision, or other AI technology subsegments.
Organizations that are not directly using AI solutions but are only applying the term as a marketing tool will not be admitted. The same applies to companies that use or resell solutions of third parties.
Newcomers in the segment and companies that have AI development planned on their roadmap at some point in the future will be included in a separate category of the report – “To Watch.”
If you are a company that implements solutions based on Artificial Intelligence in your business and wants to see your brand in the first Bulgaria AI sector analysis, fill in the survey and state your place on the local AI map: trendingtopics.eu/ai/
Three hundred sixty-five vouchers with a total value of BGN 6,105,000 have already been distributed under the procedure “Voucher scheme for providing of Information and Communication Technology Services”. The indicative programme provides two types of vouchers – BGN 5,000 for website or application development and BGN 20,000 for digital marketing, process optimization, cyber- and information security, and others.
The procedure is managed by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA), and the goal is to reach a total of 450 enterprises with a budget of over BGN 9 million. The funds are under the Operational Programme “Innovation and Competitiveness”. They are directed to the digitalization of Bulgarian enterprises, access to digital know-how and technology, integration of new business models based on technological solutions, and others.
The BSMEPA will also support 25 project proposals with nearly BGN 7 million from the 11th competitive session of the National Innovation Fund. Through the funding, companies will be able to develop an innovative product or service or improve already existing ones to support the further development of the companies, including in times of economic crisis.
The approved projects fall within the thematic areas of the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization / ISIS/: “Informatics and Information and Communication Technologies”, “Mechatronics and Clean Technologies”, “Healthy Living and Biotechnology” and “New Technologies in Creative and Recreational Industries”.
The development of over 500 projects was funded in the previous ten calls with over BGN 90 million.
Microloans financed using funds from the Fund of Funds will be available at even more relaxed terms. Financing is now available to companies and self-employed that have registered no longer than 5 years ago. The administrative requirements for proving the eligibility of costs financed with the loan under the financial instrument have also been relaxed. The loans are granted for the acquisition of tangible and non-tangible assets intended for developing and expanding business, as well as to cover other costs relating to the core business, including occupational training of workers or the entrepreneur. There is now an opportunity for granting small loans up to BGN 5000.
The modification comes as yet another step by the FoF to support business against the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. The public resources earmarked for micro-lending with shared risk amount to BGN 23.9 million and come from OP Human Resource Development 2014—2020 which is co-financed by the European Social Fund. The funds reach the enterprises via three financial intermediaries: SYS Credit, MicroFund and First Investment Bank (FIB).
The European Commission has launched a €5 million call for strategic alliances to help the European Union’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) maximise their use of new technologies.
This call for proposals aims to contribute to the Commission’s COVID-19 recovery package by establishing strategic alliances between tech-savvy SMEs and the traditional SMEs facing the need to adapt to the post-crisis economic environment, focusing on the benefits of adopting advanced technologies.
Applicants must be legal entities and shall be representatives of industry, research community, and technology providers, for instance: cluster organisations, technology centres, SMEs. The projects shall specifically contribute to:
Click for more information.