Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency presents a video about their Action Plan to improve the Bulgarian Operational Programme “Innovations and Competitiveness” 2014-2020. It contains the following measures:
1) Funding for SMEs that have been awarded with Seal of Excellence - the goal is to create a financial instrument through which public and private investors support projects from Horizon 2020's SME Instrument (Phase 1 and Phase 2). More specifically, invest in those initiatives that have been approved by the program and have received the label but have not been funded due to lack of funds.
2) Voucher scheme for SMEs to apply under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe: the measure is modeled on an already working model in UK. The aim is to encourage more businesses to apply for research and development.
3) Technology transfer development: the proposal involves an assessment of existing capacity in universities and research units and the creation of spin-off and spin-out companies. This measure would stimulate entrepreneurship and a start-up environment.
4) Annual SME Needs Survey: An annual survey of needs, problems and challenges of SMEs would support better policy planning, especially in view of changes in funding over the new programming period 2021-2027.
5) Support for the export of goods by SMEs: entering foreign markets is key to creating sustainable business models, expanding production, preserving jobs and hiring new workers. Therefore, the plan includes two sub-measures in this direction: supporting the certification of products that have potential for export, as well as updating the current National Export Portal of Bulgaria.