Operational Programme “Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Initiative“ 2014-2020

Updated last 26.03.2021

The program period for the implementation of this programme has expired. The preparation of the new programme for the period 2021 – 2027 is under way.

What is OP “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Initiative“ 2014 – 2020 ?

Operational Programme “SME Initiative” (SMEI) is a joint programme of the European Commission, the European Investment Bank for Financial Instruments and the European Investment Fund (EIF) whose main objective is to facilitate the access to financing of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the period 2014 – 2020.

How does the programme facilitate SME’s access to financing?

The support is focused on facilitating SME’s access to loans and / or leases for investment in assets and / or working capital to strengthen their growth and development. The guarantee instrument allows SMEs to receive loans at lower than the standard interest rates offered by the bank, because the EIF guarantees 60% of the credit risk on each SME loan that the bank grants under the SMEI.

What is the budget available to SMEs?

The budget under the Operational Programme amounts to EUR 102 million, which are entirely EU funds from the European Regional Development Fund. The funds are allocated from the budget under Priority axis 2 „Entrepreneurship and Capacity for Growth of SME” under OP “Innovations and Competitiveness” 2014-2020, envisaged for the implementation of a financial instrument in the form of bank guarantees to SME, which apply for loans for investment in tangible and intangible assets, as well as working capital.

How can you take advantage from the funds under OP “Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Initiative“ 2014-2020?

At the end of 2016 the EIF signed agreements with 10 financial intermediaries offering services under the SMEI:

  • United Bulgarian Bank;
  • Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria;
  • UniCredit Bulbank;
  • Procredit Bank;
  • Societe Generale Expressbank;
  • DSK Bank;
  • Post Bank;
  • Deutsche Leasing Bulgaria;
  • Piraeus Bank.

As of the end of 2016 the financial intermediaries have actually started the disbursement of loans under the SMEI. Their role is to select the final recipients that have to be functional SMEs. The following sectors are excluded: agriculture, gambling, tobacco products, alcohol, etc. Financial intermediaries have the right to provide only new loans (refinancing of old credits is excluded) to the enterprises until 31 December 2019.

Additional details on the terms and conditions and how you can apply are available at the financial intermediaries themselves.

For more information
For more information

For more information on Operational Programme “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Initiative” see the Managing Authority of the Programme’s website: