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Bulgarian Industry Mission Indeed Possible

April 11, 2014
Bulgarian Industry Mission Indeed Possible

BBLF’s conference in Plovdiv showed the way to its completion: innovation, competitiveness, education and a willingness to resolve existing issues

The Bulgarian Industry mission is indeed possible and depends on the concerted efforts of stakeholders – businesses and institutions, participants in the conference that took place today at Novotel Plovdiv agreed.

The event was attended by over 150 guests: top managers of Bulgarian and international companies, central and local authorities officials, economic experts, diplomats and the media.

The discussion organised by BBLF aimed to provide a platform enabling stakeholders: the business and the administrators to discuss current issues with an impact on investment, manufacturing and sustainable development. The second key objective was support of industrial companies and raising public awareness of their contribution to economic growth, achievements, innovations and good practices.

Topics discussed included prospects for economic development in the country and in the region of Plovdiv in particular, incentives to foreign investors, EU funding opportunities, manufacturers and investors’ success stories and the challenges they are facing.

"Our motto is sustainable development and responsibility so we opted to hold this event aiming to support both businesses and administrators. We at BBLF strongly believe that  Bulgarian industry has an untapped potential so we decided to highlight good practices and shed a light on difficulties that investors and manufacturers are facing and assist them in their dialogue with the central and local authorities”, BBLF Chairman Iravan Hira said at the opening of the event. “I wish we would soon call Plovdiv the industrial capital of Bulgaria”, he added.

BBLF Board Member Maxim Behar who moderated the two panel discussions believes that “if Bulgarian manufacturers regain their positions within the mandate of the incumbent government, it would be a major leap forward”.

Plovdiv Mayor Ivan Totev stated Plovdiv has both a history and a future as a manufacturing hub. “Plovdiv Municipality’s objective is to come up with a common economic region, ie. Trakia Economic Zone”.

“The government’s plan for reindustrialisation of the country that rethinks the role of industry and its impact on economic growth is open for comments and enhancements”, Anna Yaneva, Deputy Minister of Economy and Energy said in her speech. Georgi Stoeff, a leading economist from Industry Watch, Ilko Nikolov, Plovdiv Municipal Council Chairman, Svetoslav Mladenov, InvestBulgaria Agency Executive Director and Lyubomir Ganchev, Advisor to the Minister of Economy and Energy on Competitiveness operational programmes also joined the discussions.

A major highlight of the event was the input of business representatives who already embraced the Bulgarian Industry mission. They shared their achievements, innovations and good practices as well as hindrances such as the numerous licensing requirements, the archaic labour legislation, and the expensive energy costs for businesses. Ass. Prof. Nikola Dobrev, PhD, KCM 2000 Group Management Board Chairman, and Rumen Tsonev, KCM 2000 CEO, presented the company, one of Bulgaria’s biggest industrial groups and the influential Trakia Economic Zone project. Guests were able to find out more about Schneider Electric’s experience in Bulgaria from Guilhem Lassale, Plovdiv Plant Manager, the company’s biggest plant in Europe, and Hristo Hristov, Power Projects Infrastructure and Services Director.

Other speakers included Baris Yeniceri, Commercial Attaché with the Turkish Consulate General in Plovdiv, Thomas Pfanne, Counsellor and Head of the Economic Department with the German Embassy, and Janette Verrijzer, Second Secretary Economy and Trade with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Official guests also included officials from Plovdiv Town Hall, mayors and representatives of municipalities in the region, the top management of dozens of Bulgarian and international companies. Discussions ended in a question-and-answer session.

The Bulgarian Industry: Mission Possible conference was powered by platinum sponsor Schneider Electric Bulgaria, golden sponsors KCM 2000 Group and Dundee Precious Metals Chelopech and our partners from Team Vision.

The conference received extensive media coverage. We have selected the following media links for you (in Bulgarian): Bulgarian National Television (here and here), Bulgaria on Air TV, 24 Chasa daily, Troud daily, Darik News, Focus Agency, Investor.bg, Pod tepeto.

For more pics please refer to the Gallery below.

If you missed the event, have a look at our guest speakers’ presentations:

Georgi Stoeff, Industry Watch;

Ilko Nikolov, Plovdiv Municipal Council

Svetoslav Mladenov, InvestBulgaria Agency

Lyubomir Ganchev, Competitiveness operational programme.