Responsible and sustainable development was the main focus of the sixth annual meeting of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum with the foreign ambassadors
Transformations and innovations are the key to tackling the challenges, it emerged at the meeting of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) with the foreign ambassadors accredited in Sofia, which was held for the sixth consecutive year on 30 June 2022 at the InterContinental Sofia. The exclusive event traditionally gathers high-level representatives of BBLF’s responsible business community, the diplomatic corps and the executive branch, this year's motto being Bulgaria 2022: Innovations That Lead to Success. With the discussion, the Forum aims to provide an effective platform for dialogue on topical issues for the country's economic and social development.
Official guests were Deputy Prime Minister for EU funds and Minister of Finance Assen Vassilev, Minister of Innovation and Growth Daniel Lorer and his deputy Desislava Boneva. This year's diplomatic partner and keynote speaker was French Ambassador Florence Robine. The meeting was attended by senior diplomats from over 25 countries, as well as senior business executives from over 45 BBLF member and partner companies s who had the opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences and best practices.
This country’s responsible and sustainable development was the main focus of the discussion. BBLF Chair Levon Hampartzoumian said at the opening: "We are living in a challenging time - the world is changing fundamentally and Bulgaria is part of this process and has good opportunities to develop its potential. We will withstand today's challenges if we act on the basis of shared values, responsibility, reason and a clear vision for the future of our country."
Maxim Behar, member of the BBLF Board and CEO of M3 Communications Group, who was also the moderator of the meeting, pointed out that the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum has been working since its inception in 1998 to attract investment, improve the business environment and promote transparency and business ethics to ensure opportunities for development and prosperity in Bulgaria.
The annual BBLF meeting with foreign ambassadors is an event that the BBLF conventionally organises in cooperation with a diplomatic partner. This year it was Florence Robine, Ambassador of France, the country that has held the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the last 6 months. In her keynote speech on Innovation for Success, she focused on the many aspects of innovative thinking, from information technology and security to the system of education to production and supply chains to building a society based on justice and solidarity. Today's challenges require EU countries to seek and apply innovative approaches to transform business models, find alternative sources of materialsupplies and ensure social cohesion, Florence Robine said.
Assen Vassilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, underlined the main objective of the ministry - financial stability, channelling funds to important social areas such as health, education, pensions and support for families, as well as ensuring freedom for business through transparency, equal opportunities and not being mistreated by the state. As a result, we are witnessing a surge in exports, industrial production and growing interest in investing in this country despite all the challenges, he added. The deputy prime minister answered a number of questions related to the Recovery and Resilience Plan, the adoption of the euro, global inflation and Bulgaria's role in Europe-wide processes. According to him, the next five years will be a period of serious tests because of the war in Ukraine and the need to overcome its consequences in material and food supply. "Europe is forced to act together and Bulgaria will play its role in this process," he said.
Daniel Lorer, Minister of Innovation and Growth, presented the effective measures taken in the last 6 months to stimulate investment, start-up and business development in Bulgaria. He focused on policies to promote exchanges between research and science centres and manufacturing enterprises. In his words, a transparent business environment, turning science into real business and growth through innovation are key to being competitive.
Anton Panayotov, Deputy Chairman of BFBL and Managing Director of Alaric Securities, Milena Dragiyska, CEO of Lidl Bulgaria, Karel Kral, CEO of Electrohold Bulgaria, also took an active part in the conversation, and so did Stamen Bankovski, CEO of Astelas, and Petar Kemalov, Corporate Development Director of the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, as well as the Ambassadors of Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, etc.
In the discussion part and the cocktail that followed, the diplomatic corps and business executives talked about policies and measures the successful development of the Bulgarian economy and society.
For more photos from the event, please see the Gallery below.
Golden Partner: JTI Bulgaria
Silver Partners: Alaric Securities, Electrohold Bulgaria, Lidl Bulgaria, M3 Communications Group
Bronze Partners: Astellas, Dundee Precious Metals Chelopech
Partner: French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBTIC)