Operational Programme under the SME Initiative


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Programme description

Main Objectives

The Bulgarian Operational Programme SME Initiative is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Investment for growth and jobs goal in Bulgaria. The Programme's budget was taken from the Operational Programme Innovation and Competitiveness that had originally earmarked EUR 102 million for bank guarantees.

Thanks to the SME Initiative, the ERDF has allocated those EUR 102 million for an uncapped loan guarantee instrument. The latter would support implementation of appropriate financial instruments to provide Bulgarian economy players with an easier access to finance and to pave the way for economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social development.

The Operational Programme SME Initiative will also contribute towards the achievement of the European goals to reduce disparities between the development levels of the EU's various regions by promoting economic growth, job creation, and competitiveness.

In addition to the ERDF budget, the EIB group and the Horizon 2020 Programme also contribute to the Programme's funding.

Funding priorities

The aims of the intervention, as well as the expected results, are:

  1. Enhancing the access to debt finance for SMEs in Bulgaria (that is the Programme's priority axis);
  2. Increase in SME investment activities;
  3. Increase productivity of SMEs;
  4. SMEs growth capacity;
  5. Finally, the Programme will contribute towards the Union strategy for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth, particularly to Smart Growth through Thematic objective 3.

Expected impacts

  • Some EUR 400 to EUR 600 million of loans to SMEs
  • Some 3000 SMEs benefitting from it


  • Bulgaria


  • Regional Development Fund (ERDF): 102,000,000.00 €

Thematic priorities

  • TO3 - SMEs competitiveness

Financial information

Total OP budget: 102,000,000.00 €

Total EU contribution: 102,000,000.00 €

CCI number: 2015BG16RFSM001