Strong Participation of Bulgaria at FI Campus 2024 in Brussels and Showcase Award for the Successful Implementation of FIs in Bulgaria


Between 25 and 27 June, the annual FI Campus forum of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank took place in Brussels. Experts from the Fund of Funds and 5 organisations from our partner network took part in a number of panels during the event programme. With this, Bulgaria was once again an active participant in the European dialogue on best practices and the positive impact of the European Structural and Investment Funds on the lives of people in European regions and the importance of these instruments across the EU.

We are delighted that in addition to our strong participation in the discussions, we have once again received a well-deserved award from the Forum - the Showcase Award for our instrument Risk-Sharing Micro-Finance Facility with funds from Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2014 — 2020 co-financed from the European Social Fund, implemented by our financial partner SIS Credit in support of social entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship among vulnerable groups.

Here are the highlights of the forum and Bulgarian participation.

Iva Petkova, Director of the FLAG Fund and the Sustainable Cities Fund participated in the discussion "Taking Energy Efficiency Financial Instruments to the Next Level", which provided examples from Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Bulgaria on the challenges in combining instruments with grant funding and the growing role of financial instruments. "FLAG, together with the Fund of Funds and the Managing Authority, agree that we need to strengthen the role of the Energy Efficiency Financial Instruments as a long-term financing mechanism. They are also more flexible compared to grants, they can ensure a greater scope and focus", said Iva Petkova and pointed out that an action in this direction is the pilot product of FLAG under the LIFE Programme, focused on providing technical assistance, as well as loan financing, for large-scale municipal projects in energy efficiency and renewable energy.


At the end of the first day, two-minute presentations of the entries for the fi-compass Showcase Awards were held, which recognise good practice and achievements in the positive impact of financial instruments on people's lives in European regions and the importance of these instruments across the EU.

"I believe that every business should have its social mission. The financial instrument "Micro-credit with shared risk" in support of social entrepreneurship and such among vulnerable groups has achieved 1,500 new jobs in Bulgaria with only €10 million fully reimbursable funds," said SIS Credit CEO Martina Grigorova, in presenting the application through the success stories of a small bakery in Sr. Dren, which hired 15 employees over two years and produced 1,000 loaves of bread a day, supplying a number of surrounding towns, and the social enterprise of Yanina Taneva, which successfully implemented a social project for hand knitting in one of the poorest regions of Bulgaria, giving jobs to 40 elderly women on low incomes and increasing their income by over 140% through partnerships with companies for the knitwear produced by the women.


Iva Petkova and Lyubomir Tsarev from the Fund for Sustainable Cities presented the successful urban development projects implemented in Sofia and Southern Bulgaria. In recent years, our financial intermediary for Southern Bulgaria has supported dozens of urban projects with 160 million euros - from the improvement of public parks and spaces, through the restoration of historical sites, to urban libraries, cultural centers, and the largest climbing wall in the Balkans. The Sustainable Cities Fund has already twice (in 2019 and 2023) won the Fi-campus Showcase Award.


The Bulgarian applications competed with successful examples from Italy, Slovakia, Croatia, Malta and Romania. The other two prizes were awarded to: the Slovak Investment Fund for a project on faster integration through affordable housing and to Romania for a Morphosis Capital supported project on physical and mental health through a chain of sports centres, growing from 7 locations in Bucharest to now 38 across Romania with 35,000 regular visitors. See the videos from all countries here:


Deputy Head of the Debt Financial Instruments Department of the Fund of Funds Iliana Ivanova participated in a panel on the second day of the forum - "Measuring the impact of financial instruments". Preliminary results of the study on the impact of ERDF financial instruments for SMEs in Europe and their role in supporting broader reforms were discussed. Iliana Ivanova presented the results of the mandates awarded for the 2014-2020 period, the macroeconomic effects, the instruments, the number of projects supported, the additional private capital raised and the 100% achievement of the targets for the period. "Bulgaria managed to become a regional leader in private equity investments. We have worked a lot with our financial intermediaries and learned how valuable it is to partner with funds in promoting the instruments and in developing the ecosystem to have a good uptake of the resource in the market."



Angelina Todorova-Boneva, former Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, participated in the discussion "Results-based financial instruments - lessons learned". A seminar on Private Equity Financial Instruments with an interactive exchange of experience with the participants was attended by Stoyan Nedin from Vitosha Venture Partners and a discussion on financial intermediaries, including a session on credit risk, was attended by Kiril Velichkov, Director European Projects and Financial Instruments at UBB. Martina Grigorova, Executive Director of SIS Credit, participated in two discussions - "Overview of the implementation of ESF+ financial instruments, including best practices of Member States" and in "Financing migrant integration projects through financial instruments - a seminar with managing authorities".


All panels from the three days of the Forum are available on the fi-comapss YouTube channel here -

The active participation of Bulgarian experts from our partners in the implementation of our financial instruments, as well as another award for best practice from Bulgaria, give us confidence that we are maximising the potential of the resource assigned to us to manage. We will use what we have learnt in the new programming period to build on what we have achieved and achieve our main objective - to ensure both sustainability of results and impact in the country's economy.