OP „Competitiveness“ in the new programming period

This paper aims to introduce potential beneficiaries with the opportunities they will have in the programming period - 2014-2020 under OP "Competitiveness". The presented information is based on a working version of the Operational Program "Innovations and Competitiveness" (2014-2020), current from mid 2014. General conclusion that can be subtracted from reading the document is that successful and effective measures from the previous programming period - 2007-2013, which have caused considerable interest from the business side, will continue in the next programming period.

Under Operational Program "Innovations and Competitiveness" 2014-2020 are defined the following three priority areas / axes, under which are distributed the financial resources of the program:

Priority areas / axes:

1. Technological Development and Innovations

2. Entrepreneurship and growth capacity for SMEs

3. Energy and Resource Efficiency

Priority Axis 1: "Technological Development and Innovations"

The first priority axis "Technological Development and Innovations" is aimed at strengthening the innovation capacity of enterprises and development innovation infrastructure by supporting existing efficient structures / organizations with a focus on a direct support for the business. The implementation of the envisaged indicative activities aims to create and strengthen the capacity of Bulgarian enterprises for the development and commercialization of innovative products, services and business models and investments in research and development activities and the development of conditions for the realization of innovation activity and cooperation development between business and the scientific community.

Types of activities that will be funded under Axis 1:

1.1. Investment consultancy support for the development of innovations, technology transfer in the country, implementation of innovations in enterprises.

1.2. Promote cooperation between business and scientific circles through the implementation of common projects, including clustering and participation in pro-innovative EU networks and platforms. There will be created opportunities for enterprises and leading national and / or European academic and research groups to work with each other, which will lead to the creation / development of an innovative capacity and sharing resources for development and implementation of innovative processes and products, protection and transfer of copyright and licensing rights, commercialization of results from scientific research.

1.3. Support for the development of innovation infrastructure: creation and development of thematically focused certification laboratories, laboratories for proof of concept, testing laboratories, technology centers and other shared infrastructure in support for the innovation activity of the enterprises. Structures should share a basic set of processes and equipment, reflecting the specificity of the exact sectors / group companies, for which are designed to have a variety of specialists, including engineers, for the provision of technological support for the enterprises. Depending on the specific situation and the identified business needs it is predicted the construction of new structures and / or upgrading of the already functioning, in cases where there is a good base.

Beneficiaries under Axis 1:

- Companies developing / introducing innovations, including existing enterprises;
- Companies or their unions, including partnerships with research organizations;
- Agencies, departments and business organizations and other legal entities that are related to the provision of services for the support of research and development activities and the development of innovations in business;
- Technology transfer offices and technology centers;
- Clusters.

Priority Axis 2: “Entrepreneurship and growth capacity for SMEs”

The second priority axis "Entrepreneurship and growth capacity for of SMEs" is aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of SMEs by improving the efficiency and productivity of technologies and management in enterprises and support for launching and development business in priority sectors of the economy. Within this axis advantage will be given to enterprises from the identified priority sectors - pharmaceuticals, chemicals industry, computer production, optics and electronics, automobile production, metal products, machinery, information and communication technologies, health, cultural and creative industries, automobiles and components, and more traditional sectors such as tourism, furniture production, textiles and clothing industry but the support won’t be limited only to them.

The program also predicts for the period 2014-2020 to continue the process of technological modernization in SMEs, launched during the previous programming period. By encouraging investments in advanced technologies and equipment, the development of new products and services with high added value will be supported and the improvement of production processes.

During this programming period cultural and creative industries will be actively supported, due to their high potential for generating economic growth, job creation and tendency in sustainability in development.

It will continue to stimulate the development of economic connections based on the cluster approach, which is expected to lead to increased competitiveness and the degree of internationalization of SMEs, to support the formation of sustainable competitive advantages that will make the companies more competitive in the domestic and international markets.

Types of activities that will be funded under Axis 2:

The support within the priority axis is predicted to be concentrated without limitations for the following indicative types of activities:

2.1. Support for emerging and / or starting companies wishing to realize a business idea worth over € 25,000 - the measure predicts the provision for investment and consultancy services for start-ups for the realization of specific business ideas and investment intentions.

2.2 Promoting cultural and creative industries - the measure is aimed at enterprises (newly registered and existing) from the following industries: publishing industry, software industry, music industry, media industry, film industry, advertising industry, design - industrial, furniture, fashion, graphic, media, web – design etc, architecture, including interior decorating activities and landscape etc. It is included investment support for the acquisition of equipment and machinery necessary for the creation / implementation of high tech and innovative products / services / content; support for activities for the protection of intellectual property rights (purchase of licenses, renting or lending rights, other copyrights and related to them rights) on the produced and distributed products / services / content; support for the imposition of new products / services on external markets; Investment support for digitization of the newly created copyright products / services / content; support for the development of online platforms, networks and other forms of cooperation and partnership (including international) between enterprises from the cultural and creative industries aimed at promoting and the commercialization of the created products / services.

2.3 Promoting enterprises (newly registered and existing) developing new products and services related to the active aging of the population and social - health entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurs and cooperatives of people with disabilities, information and communication technology applications and e-commerce applications and services in these areas.

2.4 Support for the increase in productivity, effective and efficient use of factors of production, the improvement of production processes through investments in tangible and intangible assets, introduction of leading technology solutions and / or reengineering of processes, expansion of production by adding new features or improvement of existing products and services and the diversification of the activity by diversifying the portfolio of the enterprises and access to markets. Improvements will be made in the efficiency in enterprises through measures for implementation of new technologies / practices / methods / systems for improvement of resource efficiency and effectiveness in the production process, the introduction of good practices / technological methods / technologies / processes for reducing consumption of natural resources, non-waste technologies, making use of secondary raw materials and production waste, regeneration and others.

2.5 Support for the growth of enterprises by improving the quality and by using information and communication technologies. The support will be directed to:

- Development, implementation and certification of systems for quality management, environmental protection, energy management, information security and other international, European and national standards;
- Improving the quality of existing processes, products and services through development, transfer, deployment and certification of good manufacturing practices;
- Development and implementation of ICT-based systems: for business management, including those for integration of different departments and locations of certain company, systems for automated design, engineering activities and production; to transform business and operational processes that lead to increase productivity and competitiveness; electronic platforms for business to improve the access to foreign markets.

2.6 Support for the implementation of activities and provision of services for the direct benefit to business development and opportunities for export orientation of SMEs

It will be invested in improving the entrepreneurial culture in regard to the unification of SME in clusters and export consortia; promoting trans-national and international activities of the Bulgarian SMEs by providing information and consultations for the European and third markets, organizing courses in internationalization and export management of SMEs, organizing contact and informational exchanges in Bulgaria, at business forums in the country and abroad, supporting the participation of enterprises in trade missions abroad, as well as in national and international exhibitions with the aim to promote Bulgarian production; awareness, business statistics, databases and others; activities with investment and export orientation, including support for export consortia, organizing visits to potential investors and partners of SMEs in the country; programs for attraction of foreign investments.

Beneficiaries under Axis 2

- On point 2.1 Emerging and / or starting enterprises for actions;
- On point 2.2 and point 2.3 newly registered or existing micro, small and medium enterprises;
- On point 2.4 and point 2.5 existing micro, small and medium enterprises;
- On point 2.6 existing micro, small and medium enterprises, clusters, institutions and business organizations as well as organizations and institutions that are related to the realization of activities and the provision of services in support of business and improvement of business environment, offices for technology transfer and technology centers.

Priority Axis 3 "Energy and Resource efficiency"

The third priority axis "Energy and resource efficiency" is aimed at improving energy and resource efficiency. Reducing energy consumption and increasing the efficiency of the use of natural resources are among the main factors for improving the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy.

Types of activities that will be funded under Axis 3:

- Preparation of energy efficiency audits, pre-project research, technical specifications;
- Construction works leading to the improvement of the energy features on the buildings fund of the enterprises;
- Implementation of systems for the production of energy from renewable sources;
- Introduction of energy management systems;
- Implementation of high-technology solutions for optimizing production processes and the reduction of the use of raw materials;
- Implementation of modern technologies for use of waste as a raw material in new production and / or other alternative uses;
- Implementation of modern non-waste technologies;
- Implementation of innovative production materials and increase the use of recyclable materials;
- Implementation of technologies for the production of "green products";
- Consultancy services for the identification of measures for improvement of the resource efficiency and sustainable use of raw materials.

Beneficiaries under Axis 3

Existing micro, small and medium enterprises, large enterprises (outside the sectors of commerce and services).


OP „Competitiveness and Innovation” (2014 - 2020) Criteria for opredelyane whether an entity is a micro, small or medium / SME / Improve production capacity in MSP