Programme implementation agreement signed for the Business Development, Innovation and SMEs programme in Bulgaria

The programme implementation agreement for the Bulgarian Business Development, Innovation and SMEs programme was signed on 16 May 2018.

Photo credit: Christophe Vander Eecken

Key information about the programme

  1. The programme is operated by: Innovation Norway.
  2. The programme covers the following programme area: PA1 “Business Development, Innovation and SMEs”.
  3. The programme’s objective is: Increased value creation and sustainable growth.
  4. The programme funding amounts to €28,500,000 and is funded entirely by the Norway Grants.

Why is the programme needed?

The objective of the Business Development, Innovation and SMEs programme is increased value creation and sustainable growth in Bulgaria’s private sector. It will contribute to increased competitiveness in Bulgarian private enterprises by supporting more innovation in products, technologies, services and processes. The programme encourages companies to develop and commercialize innovative technologies, processes and solutions and to implement sustainable production processes. In addition, the Programme will strengthen competences, capacity building and awareness raising in Bulgaria’s business communities on issues related to business development and environment. Welfare technology and ambient assisted living are two areas with high business and high innovation potential. The above two areas will be combined in one component providing the opportunity to develop practical tools to enable and empower an improved quality of life for groups in need.

Further, the programme aims to stimulate and develop innovation-led long-term business cooperation between Bulgaria and Norway through bilateral cooperation projects.

What will the programme achieve and who are the beneficiaries?

The programme will focus on SMEs, as there is a need to improve the business environment for SMEs in Bulgaria. However, also large enterprises are eligible for support under the programme. The programme will provide support for innovation, research and development and growth in existing companies through supporting and facilitating cooperation with relevant Norwegian entities. Through the development of sustainable business initiatives in the private sector, the programme will contribute to increasing private enterprises’ competitiveness and sustainable growth and aims at increasing profit and creating new jobs by using innovative and environmentally friendly production patterns.

Green Industry Innovation and Welfare Technology have been selected as focus areas for this programme. The selection of focus areas is based on stakeholders input, market needs and findings of a potential for development and innovation in private enterprises.

Thanks to this programme:

  • 28 innovative technologies/processes/solutions will be applied
  • 10 innovative technologies/processes/solutions will be developed
  • 4 innovative technologies/processes/solutions will be commercialized
  • 30 start-ups will invest in technology/machinery/equipment
  • 30 SMEs, 10 large enterprises and 20 start-ups will receive business skills support (training, coaching, mentoring etc.)
  • 10 business organizations and clusters will support SMEs in fields such as business models, eco-innovation, circular economy, internationalization, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • 150 persons will be trained
  • 180 jobs will be created
  • 65,000 tons of waste from operational processes will be collected for re-use or recycling annually
  • 60,000 tons of CO2 will be reduced annually
  • 2000 MWh will be reduced from energy consumption annually

How will the programme strengthen bilateral relations?

Innovation Norway, the Fund Operator, will support bilateral initiatives, such as networking, exchange, sharing and transfer of knowledge, experience and best practices in business.

Matchmaking events for Norwegian and Bulgarian entities will be organised in cooperation with Enterprise Europe Network prior to the launching of the Calls for Proposals. These strategic actions are expected to contribute to increasing the trade relations and business cooperation between Norway and Bulgaria.

Donor partnership projects will be highly encouraged and will be based on signed partnership agreements. The Programme seeks to finance partnerships with strong potential to continue after the project implementation will end.

Availability of funding through open calls

The funding in this programme will be made available through the following open calls:

  • Call 1: The first part of this call for project proposals focused on Green Industry Innovation and was closed on 11 October 2018. The second part of the call focused on Welfare Technology and was closed on 21 March 2019.
  • Small Grants Scheme no. 1: Focus areas: Green Industry Innovation and Welfare Technology: expected in Summer/Fall 2019.
  • Small Grants Scheme no. 2: Focus areas: Green Industry Innovation and Welfare Technology: expected in Fall 2019.
  • Small Grants Scheme no. 3: Focus areas: Green Industry Innovation and Welfare Technology: expected in Spring 2020.

Bilateral call: Calls for bilateral activities (Bilateral business cooperation development) will be available.

Download the full programme agreement for more detailed information about the programme.

More information can also be found on the Innovation Norway’s website.