New EU programmes in support of Bulgarian businesses

Bulgarian businesses will soon be able to take advantage of two new programmes aimed at overcoming the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The programmes are part of the Innovation and Competitiveness 2014-2020 Operational Program, in particular Support for the small enterprises having a turnover of over BGN 500,000 aimed at overcoming the negative economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and Adapting the activities of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the context of COVID-19. The final terms and conditions of the procedures are yet subject to clarifications, but the final versions are expected in the next few days.

1. Support for the small enterprises having turnover of over BGN 500,000 aimed at overcoming the negative economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic

The procedure is aimed at providing operating capital for Bulgarian small-sized enterprises having a turnover of over BGN 500,000 during 2019.

The maximum amount of funding to be received is expected to be fixed at BGN 50,000. The funds may be used within three months for current operating costs such as: costs for materials and consumables, external services (including overheads), employment related expenses such salaries and statutory insurance and health contributions due by the employer. The value of the covered expenses should be included as a production/service costs, forming part of the end price.

According to the initially announced information, the eligible applicants (Bulgarian legal entities or sole traders) shall meet the following criteria:

(i)    To have completed at least two financial years of business activity (2018 and 2019);

(ii)   To be classified as small-sized enterprises;

(iii)  To have accrued an annual turnover for 2019 equal to or exceeding BGN 500,000;

(iv)  To have registered a decrease in their turnover of at least 20% during one of the calendar months within the  period started 01.02.2020 to the month preceding their application, compared to the turnover for the same  month  in 2019;

(v)   Not to be participating in other EU-funded plans and programs;

(vi) To have a scope of activity different from the areas specifically excluded by the program such as processing    and/or marketing of forestry products, fisheries and aquaculture, financial and insurance activities, gambling activities, etc.

2. Procedure Adapting the activities of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the context of COVID-19

This procedure is intended to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises regarding reorganisation and adaptation of the workplaces and business processes and models in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the announced information the minimum financial support shall be fixed at BGN 3,000, while the maximum amount of financing should depend on the type of enterprise, namely: (i) BGN 15,000 – for micro enterprises: (ii) BGN 30,000 – for small-sized enterprises; and (iii) BGN 75,000 – for medium-sized enterprises.

The funding should be used within a period of nine months for expenses related to the healthy and safe working conditions and adaptation of the work and organisational processes.

The recognised expenses include:

 (i)    Expenses related to fixed assets, intangible assets, construction works, materials and consumables, provision   of collective protective equipment and sanitation and disinfection equipment.

 (ii)    Expenses related to reorganisation and adaptation of the work processes through:

  •   Ensuring of physical safety at the workplace;
  •   Distribution of people flows and ensuring contactless routes between the separate premises;
  •   Air conditioning and ventilation minimising the risk of virus circulation;
  •  Providing conditions for remote form of work through hardware/software for remote access and remote operation reporting software.

According to the initially announced information, the eligible applicants (Bulgarian legal entities or sole traders) shall meet the following criteria:

(i)     To be classified as micro, small or medium-sized enterprises;

(ii)    To have completed at least one financial year of business activity (2019);

(iii)   Not to be participating in other EU-funded plans and programs;

(iv)  To have a scope of activity different from the areas specifically excluded by the program such as processing and/or marketing of forestry products, fisheries and aquaculture, financial and insurance activities, gambling activities, etc.