Until June 21, Bulgarian companies with innovative solutions in the fintech sector can apply for the Elevator Lab Challenge program of Raiffeisen Bank International. Proven innovative products and technologies in the field of finance are sought in 8 categories: Analysis of data and AI; Technologies related to the regulations; Large corporate and institutional clients; Banking for SMEs; Retail Banking; Cybersecurity; Forex solutions; Payment and processing of transactions via mobile devices.
Companies that register in Elevator Lab Challenge will receive feedback from experts of the bank and guidelines for improving the product or project. Five finalists will be selected for the Regional Challenge and one of them will be on the final of the global competition for start-ups from around the world. Applications should be submitted here: http://www.elevator-lab.com/bg/
Scientists with proven experience can apply in the second round of funding at the European Research Council (ERC). The Council is a structure of the European Commission and provides EUR 540 million grants for excellence in science. The application process will start on May 21 and has a deadline until August 29. You can start a preliminary preparation for participation by looking at the sample projects from the previous application time periods published by the ERC here.
In general, the applicants should be scientists with 10 years of experience. They should have worked on original projects with proven value in their respective fields. Their scientific research could be part of areas such as climate change, circular and blue economy, food of the future, cities of the future, energy projects, etc. The funding could reach up to EUR 2.5 million per project or EUR 3.5 million if there is a need for some kind of special equipment.
The conditions for application and link for submitting the documents: erc.europa.eu/funding/advanced-grants
More than 200 companies will be funded with another BGN 30.5 million by the Fund of funds: 37.5 million from the common budget of the Innovations and Competitiveness 2014-2020 (OPIC), and the others will be provided by private investors. The funds will target the entrepreneurs during the next five years through the chosen financial intermediary Innovation Accelerator Bulgaria.
The fund manager will provide not only the funding but also mentorship, strategic support and business contacts. It will be invested in startup companies with innovative business ideas in healthcare, education, elderly care, transport and logistics, light industry, digitalization, etc.
The investments in the acceleration stage are up to BGN 100 000, and in the stage of the startup they could reach up to BGN 2 million if there are equity and quasi-equity investment.