Smart Innovation Norway visits Bulgaria to build network and share expertise

Innovation Norway recently hosted an experience-sharing workshop in Sofia, uniting project promoters and partners from both Bulgaria and Norway – with the goal of training, exchanging best practices, and discussing future cooperation. Smart Innovation Norway’s Dr. Iliana Ilieva shared valuable insights on energy efficiency and sustainability of SMEs.

In Bulgaria, Innovation Norway manages the Business Development, Innovation, and SMEs Programme, which has supported 104 projects through the Norway Grants. The projects have reduced CO2 emissions by more than 40,000 and increased the turnover of the companies by almost 100% so far.

Smart Innovation Norway has been a partner in several Norway Grants projects and has been collaborating, among others, with the Black Sea Energy Cluster. The collaboration aims to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of SMEs in the region.

Innovation Norway hosted the experience-sharing workshop, which reflected on challenges, celebrated victories, and fostered cross-country collaboration.

Dr. Iliana Ilieva is Smart Innovation Norway’s expert in these projects. On 16 April, she shared her insights and experiences with 85 fellow project promoters and partners during an Innovation Norway workshop in Bulgaria.

“We have been a partner in the Norway Grants projects Enlarging the independent life of elderly and persons with disabilities through WT smart service | EEA Grants and GreeINN-Increased competitiveness of BSECluster members to utilize the potential of green innovation | EEA Grants. Our aim has been to create network, contribute to innovation and development in Bulgaria, and increase expertise in the field. During the workshop, our contribution was to give a Norwegian partner’s perspective on the collaboration,” says Dr. Ilieva.

85 project promoters and partners from Bulgaria and Norway participated at the workshop.

The main purpose of her visit to Sofia was participation in meetings with the Bulgarian SMEs Promotion Agency (BSMEPA) and a recently awarded by Innovation Norway tender on the Evaluation of the Innovation Support System in Bulgaria.


  • The EEA and Norway Grants are funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
  • The Grants have two goals – to contribute to a more equal Europe, both socially and economically – and to strengthen the relations between Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, and the 15 Beneficiary States in Europe.
  • The objective of the Grants is to reduce social and economic disparities and strengthen bilateral relations. This strengthens the internal market, leading to a more prosperous Europe.  
  • The Grants are composed of two funding schemes – the EEA Grants and the Norway Grants. The main difference between the two lies in where the funding comes from and which countries receive the funding.