The Fund of Funds will manage over 117 million BGN under the new science programme at the Ministry of Innovation
The money is to be invested in companies focused on technology transfer and innovation activities in Bulgaria
The Fund of Funds (FoF) and the Directorate General for European Competitiveness Funds at the Ministry of Innovation and Growth (MoIG) have signed a Financing Agreement. The funds are made available by the Research, Innovation and Digitalisation for Smart Transformation 2021-2027 (RIDST) programme, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The document mandates the FoF to manage financial resources under the programme amounting to BGN 117 415 542.
The funds for financial instruments awarded to the FoF through the agreement amount to BGN 97.84 million while the remaining BGN 19.57 million are intended for grants to be provided as blended financing along with financial instruments in a single operation.
A major part of the investments will be geared towards supporting spin-off companies (those that turn innovation into a real product), high-tech start-ups and knowledge-based companies; the creation and development of industrial start-up systems aimed at rolling out research and innovation; technology transfer and commercialisation; the translation of scientific developments into marketable products and technology; and the deployment and acceleration of start-ups around mature industries and clusters.
Under the agreement, the FoF will structure a Technology Transfer Fund - a specific financial instrument that will provide equity and quasi-equity investments (the hybrid form of financing between equity and debt products) to support technology transfer in Bulgaria. The instrument will support the development of potential in the areas covered by the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation 2021-2027, including mechatronics and microelectronics, information and communication technology, bioeconomy and biotechnology, circular and low-carbon economy, etc.
The instruments planned to be implemented under the new mandate are in line with the activities and objectives under Priority 1 of the RIDST Programme - "Sustainable development of the Bulgarian research and innovation ecosystem".
It should be recalled that on 16 February this year, another agreement was signed between the Fund of Funds and the Directorate General for European Competitiveness Funds, as the managing authority also for the Competitiveness and Innovation in Enterprises Programme for 2021-2027. The agreement gave a mandate to the FoF to manage financial instruments under the new Competitiveness Programme in the amount of over BGN 1.26 billion to be invested in the development of innovations, start-ups, implementation and development of digital solutions, working capital, funds for the purchase of equipment. Under that agreement, debt instruments (loans and guarantees) will also be implemented - one for energy efficiency and one for circular economy (support in product design, manufacturing processes and waste management).