Bulgarian American Credit Bank (BACB) and Sofia Municipality announced the launch of a joint program to finance innovative start-ups. The special guarantee scheme of the Municipal Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises is already open for application.
The priority areas of the program are innovations in the field of information and communication technologies, as well as new technologies in the creative and reactive industries.
Start-up companies willing to participate in the program, established no more than 3 years ago and based on the territory of Sofia Municipality, are eligible to apply.
Female entrepreneurs with a Bachelor’s degree in one of the fields of the project, businesses with social and environmental impact, as well as businesses that create new jobs, will be given priority in the program. Guarantees of up to 50% will be secured by the program, as the maximum guarantee amount of the Municipal Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises is BGN 30 000. The guarantee commitment lasts for a period of up to 60 months.
The State Fund of Funds chose the managers of the first two funds to finance start-ups with public resources. A total of BGN 64.7 million of startup capital is provided to the Bulgarian-Italian joint venture AD – Ventures, where Cleantech Bulgaria is a leading partner, and to Next Tech Ventures. The funds are to be used for equity investment in start-ups and for boosting the growth of already established innovative companies.
The new funds were created as a result of the partnership between a public financial instrument – the Seed/Acceleration and Start-up Fund (SASF) co-financed under the ‘Innovation and Competitiveness’ Operational Program on one hand, and the selected private sector partners on the other. Under the terms of the SASF, fund managers will need to add their own funds, as well as to attract private co-investors to the deals.
AD – Ventures joint venture will manage a fund with an initial capital of EUR 14 million and has proposed a total of 215 enterprises for initial investment. Next Tech Ventures will work with already established startups at an acceleration stage and will invest a total of EUR 19.1 million in them. It has proposed a list of 45 enterprises that can be supported under this scheme.
Some 200 startups are expected to be supported within the initial 5-year period for which the funds are created. They will be able to rely on funding of between EUR 25 000 and EUR 1 million, depending on the company’s profile and its financial results. The funds will be provided against a minority shareholding, stakes or equivalent instruments that give the right to participate in the capital of a startup.
The voucher system for listing small and medium-sized enterprises on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE) has been launched. The initiative is organized by the Ministry of Economy and the BSE and aims to support the trade of shares of small and medium-sized companies on the stock exchange. The program is part of the Capital Market Development Strategy and the budget of EUR 2 million is provided under the ‘Innovation and Competitiveness’ Operational Program.
Funding under the scheme will be carried out through vouchers amounting to BGN 50 000. The Beneficiary will be the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, which will administer the process and collect applications for vouchers. Each voucher will be valid for 9 months. During this period the companies should obtain approval of a prospectus to issue of securities by the Financial Supervision Commission (FSC) and carry out a successful issue to raise capital (initial public offering) through the stock exchange or through book building.
The general terms of the procedure are already published on the website of the Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.
Enterprise Europe Network Offers Consultation Services Free of Charge to Companies with Growth Ambitions
Enterprise Europe Network is the main tool of the European Commission that aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises benefit to the full from the opportunities of the European and global market. The experts from the network provide integrated services and consultations on commercialization of innovations, development of international business and project partnerships, European funding, European standards, CE marking and other issues relevant to the growth of your business.
The network is present in 67 countries and consists of more than 600 specialized business organizations that provide global reach and contacts all over the globe. This year the network celebrates its 10th anniversary since its creation.
How can the network help you?
The Enterprise Europe Network provides the following specialized services and tools to support SMEs:
In Bulgaria, the network is made up of 12 organizations, covering the entire territory of the country, including chambers of commerce and other organizations supporting the business, innovation and technology transfer. Contact the Enterprise Europe Network via the BCCI or another contact point on the EEN Bulgaria website: www.een.bg
For more information:
Enterprise Europe Network
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tel: +359 2 8117 505/515/525/417
BCCI Provides Vouchers for Free Consultancy Support to Innovative Companies
The Enterprise Europe Network at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports innovative Bulgarian enterprises by providing the ‘Assessment of the Innovation Capacity of SMEs‘ service using the IMP³rove method.
IMP³rove thoroughly studies the innovation strategy and vision of the company, the innovation culture, the innovation life cycle and the main factors regarding their better management. The method was developed by A.T. Kearney and the European Commission in order to boost the innovation potential of enterprises in the EU. The assessment is in compliance with the European Innovation Management Standards CEN/TS 16 555-1 and CWA 15899.
Over the last three years, over 100 leading Bulgarian companies from different sectors have benefited from the tool and have received recommendations in the form of an action plan that is fully in line with the client’s needs and sets the necessary steps for creating an innovation strategy, finding new markets and customers, stimulating employee creativity, retaining quality staff, etc. Companies also receive a certificate of a successful assisted IMP³rove assessment, which is in line with the European Innovation Management Standards CEN/TS 16 555-1 and CWA 15899. The assessment is useful for applications under the SME Instrument of the Horizon 2020 program.
BCCI offers free assessment vouchers to companies that meet the following criteria:
Benefits for the companies include:
The assessment process:
Within two hours a certified expert arrives at the company’s office and assists you in answering a series of questions on the management of all processes in the company related to innovation. After the assessment, you receive a report that contains an assessment of your organization’s performance compared to other companies in your sector, a certificate for completed assessment and recommendations for improvement and good practices that you can implement. The submission of information by the applicants is voluntary and is not accompanied by a proof or a verification procedure. The information received during the assessment remains strictly confidential.
The granting of the assessment to selected innovative companies is funded under the European Horizon 2020 Program. Companies that are interested in the assessment can get more information on the phone and by the email specified below. The number of vouchers is limited.
For more information please contact:
European Information and Innovation Center
Enterprise Europe Network Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Phone: +359 2 81 17 515/525