The Operational Program “Innovations and Competitiveness” 2014-2020 (OPIC) is the basic program document on national level outlining the aid envisaged for the Bulgarian business from the European structural and investment funds for the period 2014-2020. The Program’s main objective is the achievement of dynamic and competitive economy through the development of innovations, entrepreneurship, growth capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), energy and resource efficiency of enterprises.
The total budget of OPIC amounts to € 1,39 billion, with financing from the ERDF almost € 1,18 billion (85% of the budget ), and national cofinancing € 209 million (15% of the budget).
The resources of OPIC are divided in five priority axes: Technological development and innovations – € 250 million from the ERDF (21,24% of the budget); Entrepreneurship and growth capacity of SMEs – € 593 million from the ERDF (50,17% of the budget); Energy and resource efficiency of enterprises – € 264 million from the ERDF (22,35% of the budget); Removing bottlenecks in security of gas supplies – € 38,2 million of the ERDF (3,24% of the budget); Technical Assistance – € 35,4 million of the ERDF (3% of the budget). Support is envisaged within the framework of Priority axes 1, 2 and 3 in the form of financial instruments, such as guarantees for bank loans and equity investments which amount to almost 25% of the overall program resources.
The Program is mainly focused on SMEs. Under part of the measures supported by OPIC, big enterprises shall be eligible beneficiaries too. Support is also envisaged for clusters, technology transfer offices and technology centers, Sofia-Tech Park, various agencies and government structures that provide services to the business. Priority axis 4 is designed to remove bottlenecks in security of gas supplies.
The expected results from the implementation of OPIC include support of over 9000 enterprises by means of grant aid or financial instruments, mobilization of over € 1 billion of private investments, increase of the share of innovative enterprises, enhancement of SME’s efficiency and contribution to the reduction of the economy’s energy consumption.