The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union have launched a new financing programme that supports investment in research and innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and midcaps in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.
Launched at an event in in Bucharest, the Horizon 2020 programme is offering up to 200 selected enterprises financial and advisory support.
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 support will be deployed through the following three channels:
In Bulgaria and Romania, 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 mid-caps investing in innovation.
In all three countries, green innovation support via technical assistance and co-financing grants for projects with SMEs and mid-caps which are directly financed by the EBRD. This channel is also supported with technical assistance from the TaiwanBusiness-EBRD Technical Cooperation Fund.
Under the framework, EUR 20 million of EU funding is being made available for EBRD efforts to help SMEs and midcaps in Bulgaria, Latvia and Romania.
Under the 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 3,000 employees.
The EBRD’s collaboration with Horizon 2020 reflects the Bank’s commitment to building competitive, resilient and green economies in its regions of operation.
To date, the Bank has invested around EUR 3.9 billion in Bulgaria, EUR 697 million in Latvia and more than EUR 8.3 billion in Romania.
The EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 38 economies across three continents. The Bank is owned by 67 countries as well as the EU and the EIB.
EBRD investments are aimed at making the economies in its regions competitive, inclusive, well-governed, green, resilient and integrated.