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"EU funds in support of the business community" was the topic of the information and explanatory meeting held on 10 July 2013 by the Kyustendil Regional Information Centre (RIC), which involved representatives of local companies and sectoral organizations. The information event took part in Kyustendil and was focused on the new elements of the Energy Efficiency and Green Economy procedure, the draft of the Applicants' Guide for the Technology Upgrade in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises procedure, and common difficulties in the preparation and implementation of projects under Operational Programme Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007-2013". The participants in the meeting learned that a part of the changes in the application conditions for grant financing under the Energy Efficiency and Green Economy procedure, which was financed from the budget of Operational Programme Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007-2013, involved the introduction of simplified conditions for contractor selection: by collecting 3 offers and providing reasoned justification of the choice made. The other major change that has led to alleviation in the conditions for applying under the procedure concerns the recognition of the eligibility of activities and expenditures for auxiliary materials and equipment necessary for the assembly of the technology on the list of eligible materials and equipment as an operational system. Another modification in the Applicants' Guidelines for the procedure is an increase in the maximum rate of advance payments to 65 % of the value of the grant awarded to the project. This change ensues from Council of Ministers Decision No 300 of 18 May 2013. Another highlight in the information event was the presentation of common difficulties in the design and implementation of projects under Operational Programme Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007-2013. The presentation made it clear that the most frequent mistakes in the preparation and compilation of the project proposal were the use of a template of an outdated procedure and wrong, inaccurate or incomplete filling in of the required declarations. During the meeting the representatives of RIC also imparted the information that the Managing Authority of Operational Programme Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007-2013 was planning to launch an open competitive selection procedure under the "Technology upgrade in small and medium-sized enterprises" scheme. The overall objective of this procedure is to contribute to the enhancement of the competitiveness of the Bulgarian small and medium-sized enterprises in different sectors of primary significance for the development of the national economy by encouraging investments in modern technology and equipment. The participants in the meeting were also informed about the special section "SUGGESTIONS, COMMENTS, RECOMMENDATIONS" recently enabled on the web site of Operational Programme Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy 2007-2013, where the business community can send its proposals, comments and recommendations for the programming of the new 2014-2020 period on the basis of the experience/opinion on the current programme.  

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The web portal is developed and maintained under Project 0045-CIO-3.2 "Maintenance and development of а Single information web portal for Structural and Cohesion Funds in Bulgaria www.eufunds.bg" (BG161PO002-3.2.01-0004-C0001). The project is implemented with the financial support of Operational Programme "Technical Assistance" co-financed by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund