EBRD funds innovations in SMEs across Bulgaria and Romania

MachinesBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 3/2019 • 26.08.2019

EBRD funds innovations in SMEs across Bulgaria and Romania

A new financing programme will support investment in research and innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps. The programme was launched by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union and is aimed at companies in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.
The new Horizon 2020 programme will provide funding and advisory support to 200 selected SMEs.

“The financing targets these three countries as they have some of the lowest scores on the EU’s innovation scoreboard, which assesses innovation capacities and outcomes. Innovation support represents a strategic growth opportunity for transition countries to switch towards knowledge-based and low-carbon economies”, the EBRD elaborated.
The regional innovation scoreboard is a regional extension of the European report, assessing the innovation performance of European regions based on a limited number of indicators.

The European innovation scoreboard offers a comparative analysis of innovation performance in EU countries, other European countries, and regional neighbours. The report assesses relative strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they need to address. The latest edition of the European innovation scoreboard was released on 17 June 2019.

It highlights that the EU’s innovation performance continues to improve. “Compared to last year, innovation performance improved for 24 EU countries and the growth rate of lower-performing countries compared to higher-performing countries has accelerated. Since 2011, the EU’s average innovation performance has increased by 8,8%”, the document says.

Under the new framework, EU funding amounting to EUR 20 million will be provided to the EBRD to help the SMEs and midcaps in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania. According to the official EU definition, SMEs are companies that have an annual turnover of less than EUR 50 million and fewer than 250 employees. Midcaps are defined in terms of headcount, with a limit of up to 3000 employees.

The support under the new Horizon 2020 programme will be deployed through three main channels. In Bulgaria and Romania it will be used mainly for increasing innovative SMEs’ competitiveness with the provision of financing, advisory services and training. In Romania, EBRD credit lines extended to financial institutions will be on-lent to SMEs and small midcaps investing in innovation.

“In all three countries, green innovation support via technical assistance and co-financing grants for projects with SMEs and midcaps which are directly financed by the EBRD. This channel is also supported with technical assistance from the Taiwan Business-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund”, the Bank’s website further disclosed.
Up to now the EBRD has invested around EUR 3,9 billion in Bulgaria, EUR 697 million in Latvia and more than EUR 8,3 billion in Romania.

Origin: EBRD

Keywords: EBRD, SMEs, Horizon 2020, EU

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