Over the coming years, more than 600 million euro of additional lending from the European Investment Fund (EIF) will be allocated to Bulgarian small and medium size enterprises (SME). The funds will be available for entrepreneurs as a part of the SME Initiative, developed by the European Commission alongside with the European Investment Bank (EIB).
“The SME initiative is a concrete example of how the European Investment Fund programmes contribute to the objectives of growth and jobs of the investment plan. The SME Initiative does not require co-financing from national or regional resources; without tapping into limited public budget, it is a major opportunity for job creation and economic growth in Bulgaria”, Corina Creţu, Commissioner for Regional Policy, said.
The funding agreement was signed on Thursday between the EIF Chief Executive Luigi Gilibertand the Bulgarian Minister of Economy Bojidar Loukarsky.
The implementation of the SME initiative programme will allow entrepreneurs to get an access to numerous EU business-support programmes such as competitiveness and innovation funding as well as to reduce the European fees for administrative compliance.
Both the EU Commission and the Bulgarian government are confident that the reached agreement will contribute effectively to the growth of the job market and attract private investments in the country.
The SME Initiative is a joint financial instrument of the Commission and the EIB Group, which aims at stimulating financing of small and medium size businesses in EU member states. The programme guarantees selected intermediaries, such as banks, leasing companies, guarantee institutions and debt funds, against losses and potential capital relief at an advantageous cost. These organisations, in turn, are entitled to provide small and medium side businesses with loans, leasing and guarantees at favorable terms.
The SME Initiative for Bulgaria was adopted in 2015 and funded by 102 million euro from the European Regional Development Fund. At present only Spain and Malta participate in this programme.