Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure BG-2020-52/1665 – Updated – measures in Bulgaria
|Country||Bulgaria , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 21 December 2020 – 22 June 2021|
|Type||Other initiatives or policies|
Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Direct subsidies (full or partial)
|Author||Tsetomila Sabcheva and Luboslav Kostov (Citub)|
|Measure added||06 January 2021 (updated 18 January 2022)|
The measure concerns micro, small and medium enterprises, whose activities are limited by the temporary anti-epidemic measures introduced in the country. The affected businesses will be provided with working capital after applying for a project and approving it.
The funds provided under the scheme should be used to cover the current needs of the applicants and to incur operating capital expenditure. The money can be spent on raw materials, materials, external services and remuneration. The grant cannot be used to purchase goods for direct sale.
The budget of the program is €78 million, as the funding from the European Regional Development Fund is €66.3 million and the national co-financing - €11.7 million. The funds are provided under the Operational Program "Innovation and Competitiveness" 2014-2020 (OPIC).
Applicants must be micro, small or medium-sized enterprises - legal entities or sole traders, registered under the Commercial Act or the Cooperatives Act or legal entities registered under the Non-profit Legal Entities Act, and the registration should be made no later than 1 October 2020. Micro-enterprises have a staff of up to 10 people, an annual turnover of up to €1.95 million. Small enterprises have a staff of up to 50 people, an annual turnover of up to €9.75 million. Medium-sized enterprises have a staff of less than 250 people, an annual turnover of up to €48.75 million.
Each enterprise can apply with one project, which includes all its objects affected by the temporary restrictive measures, as the maximum eligible value of the support is €75,000. The calculation will be based on the percentage of turnover without VAT of the enterprise / specific site during the previous year.
The purpose of the assistance is timely and direct financial support in the shortest possible time to the Bulgarian companies for overcoming the economic consequences of the temporary anti-epidemic measures and stability of the jobs.
There is still no preliminary estimate of the number of companies that can and have benefited from the procedure, because the submission of documents is at its early stage. The grant under the scheme is provided by bank transfer within seven working days of project approval. The duration of the implementation of a support project is three months from the date of award of the grant.
Following an order of the Executive Director of the National Revenue Agency, issued in July 2021, the Revenue Agency paid over BGN 1.1 million (€560,000) to 355 companies eligible under the program. About 2,800 companies have requested working capital support during the third phase of the program. The total amount of requested grant support is almost BGN 30 million (€15 million). Over BGN 120 million (€61 million) have been paid under the first two phases of the program.
|Does not apply to workers||
||Does not apply to citizens|
Company / Companies
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Role||Consulted||Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative|
|Form||Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal||Direct consultation outside a formal body|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The measure was widely discussed between the government and employers' organisations. The unions were not so active, their role was rather consultative. The measure was developed entirely with the assistance of the business, which helped define the restrictions and eligible beneficiaries. This means that the measure was developed through prior consultation with the business, which greatly helped the administration to define the basic parameters in a way that allows for effective implementation. The role of trade unions was more limited, but they expressed full support, although it was not directly about supporting employment in SMEs.
All social partners supported the measure within the consultative bodies that were conducted (bipartite and tripartite). Preliminary meetings were held with both business and trade unions, at which the Ministry of Economy presented its intentions in detail. At these meetings, the government received the approval of all parties (employers and trade unions).
Eurofound (2021), Capital support for SMEs - Second Phase, measure BG-2020-52/1665 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BG-2020-52_1665.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.