Small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) are Bulgaria’s economy backbone, and count for 75.7% of the total number of businesses and 65.3% of value added in the economy. 50% of the total export of the country is carried out by small and medium-sized enterprises, which represent 98% of all exporting companies in Bulgaria. Having diverse needs than larger organizations, small firms are lagging in digital transformation, due to lack of perception that digitalization should be one of business priorities and lack of resources. Some businesses are not aware of the possibility to use European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility resources. Privately owned companies perceive RRF’s application process as bureaucratic and complex, so miss the opportunity to apply. To help SMBs on their digital journey, Microsoft and its partners offer program that supports SMBs and guides them through application process to gain resources for digitalization.
SMBs want to have proper business justification for investing in digital technology: how it helps them to grow, cut costs, improve efficiency, and access new markets. Historically, small, and medium businesses bought technology from solution providers. The economic situation, and the need for more resilience and working from home trends, accelerated digital transformation. SMBs today are now looking for more than just technology solutions; they are looking for technology strategy advice, support through partnership and funding from the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF).
Partners are familiar with the RRF application process and phases and could help the SMB application process from the beginning to the implementation phase. SMBs can benefit from partners’ support through several activities:
- Map the funds – partners help identify RRF funds to support the SMB
- Idea generation – partners advise in designing the project and help understanding what type of digital transformation project is needed for the company or, what is the approximate budget they need
- Apply for the grant – partners are guiding the SMBs to submit all necessary documentation to apply
For Bulgaria, Recovery and Resilience Fund responds to the urgent need of fostering a strong recovery after pandemic and making the country future ready. It includes reforms and investments supported by 6.27 billion EUR in grants to increase sustainability, resilience and better prepare for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions. The plan foresees 1.7billion EUR investments in renewable energy sources, electricity storage and interconnection capacities and over €1 billion in energy-efficiency renovation of the building stock and investing in green technologies. Resources are designated to increase SMBs productivity through digital transformation or to increase competitiveness globally by applying innovative technologies.
To reach out to partners and get assistance, small and medium enterprises can contact one of the partners directly through website opt in for partner’s newsletter, or attend briefing events, like webinars and live events.