New Venture Capital Fund for Equity Investments in SMEs Launched in Bulgaria

Sofia, June 14 (BTA) - Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov and European Investment Fund Deputy Chief Executive Roger Havenith signed here on Thursday a financing agreement on the BrightCap Ventures under the JEREMIE Holding Fund Bulgaria for equity investments in small and medium-sized enterprises.

The fund, which will have capital of 25 million euro, will support Bulgarian SMEs with equity investments over the next five years. Five million euro will be in the form of private financing, while 20 million will be national financing under the JEREMIE initiative. Innovative SMEs will be supported in their initial stage of development. Between 500,000 and 3 million euro will be provided for SMEs under the Fund, while 200,000 will go to startups.

Roger Havenith noted that five funds in Bulgaria have been supported between 2007 and 2013 under the JEREMIE initiative, managed jointly with the European Investment Fund. Karanikolov commented that during that time, enterprises have managed to attract over 75 million euro, invested in 210 companies, 191 of them startups.

Karanikolov described the agreement's signing as yet another important step taken by his Ministry for improving the investment environment in Bulgaria. Equity investments mean that the trust of private investors has been won, and they see potential for development in the relevant companies, opportunities for internationalization via partnership and entering new markets, the Economy Minister commented.

Havenith and Karanikolov have also discussed the Junker Plan. Bulgaria ranks second within this plan in terms of investments to GDP, Havenith commented. "Our ambition is to make Bulgaria number one," he went on to say.