Who we are

November 1998 – Inauguration of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum

The Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum was set up by 12 leading international and national companies and inaugurated by former President Petar Stoyanov and HRH The Prince of Wales on 6th of November 1998 in Sofia.

October 1999 - Launch of the Code of Business Ethics Project

The project was launched on October 27, 1999 when several BBLF member companies presented their codes of business ethics and shared examples of good business practices. Special contribution was made by Mr. Bill Drysdale - Managing Partner of KPMG and then Chairman of BBLF. The strategic goal of the project was to initiate the preparation of a Code of Business Ethics on a voluntary basis by companies operating in Bulgaria. The first draft of the Code was presented at a press conference on September 26, 2000, and its latest version broadly discussed with Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Deputy Prime Minister Nikolay Vassilev and the business community on September 3, 2001.

May 2001 - Launch of the Career Advisory Project

BBLF and AIMS Human Capital Bulgaria in cooperation with the Student Career Advisory Center launched their joint initiative called Career Advisory Project. Due to the fact that the project turned out to be quite successful, the Managing Board decided to keep it as an ongoing one. It was completed in three consecutive years with over 6,000 students participating in the professional seminars for career orientation.

November 2002 - Launch of the Open Doors Initiative

In November 2003, the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum started the Open Doors initiative, which aimed to "open the doors" of companies for the students, in the form of trainings, internships, seminars etc. AstraZeneca and Curtis/Balkan were the first two companies, who welcomed students to their offices as part of the Open Doors Initiative.

March 2003 - Prince Charles visited Bulgaria

HRH The Prince of Wales came to Bulgaria for the second time upon the invitation of BBLF. He took part in the "Practical Management of Business Ethics" conference and a consequent meeting with BBLF members.

July 2003 - Launch of the ENGAGE Project

The ENGAGE Project aimed at increasing the extent and quality of employee engagement in the development of healthy and sustainable communities. It was launched with a conference on the topic ‘Community Involvement and Volunteer Work in the Corporate Sector’.

October 2003 - Launch of the Business Master Classes

The Business Master Classes came as a natural continuation of the BBLF Career Advisory Project, only more professional, practical and selective to both lecturers and students. BBLF's partner in masterminding the Business Master Classes became AIMS Human Capital.

November 2003 - BBLF Annual Responsible Business Awards

The BBLF Annual Responsible Business Awards were launched at the fifth anniversary of the Forum on 21 November 2003 and grew into a meaningful tradition. Since then the Awards have distinguished companies with major contribution to the development of the community, education, human capital and the environment. The special ENGAGE Award - granted by the International Business Leaders Forum - recognises the level of employees’ involvement or the scale of employees’ overall contribution to the CSR projects of the nominated companies.

June 2004 - Business Leaders Olympics Launched

On June 12, 2004, BBLF brought together its members and friends for a meeting that is slightly less business, more fun, but just as challenging as any business venture. More than 200 representatives of the big business faced each other on the field in 15 different sports. Results were reported to be positive on all physical, mental, and communicative levels. Since then the event is held annually in great interest.

May 2005 - BBLF - National Coordinator for European Business Awards for Environment

In May 2005, BBLF was appointed a National Coordinator for Bulgaria for European Business Awards for Environment of the EC. In this capacity, BBLF has the right to nominate the winners in its Investor in Environment award for the European Business Awards for the Environment. The European Awards are given every two years for exclusive contribution to the ecology in four categories – production, processing, management and international co-operation.

September 2005 - The New Front-Runners

On September 8, 2005, BBLF hosted an event called ‘The New Front-Runners’ introducing the new CEOs that had come to the position either from international offices of their companies or from within the hierarchy of their own Bulgarian offices. The event is held annually, presenting the new members as well. The purpose of these meetings is to facilitate personal contacts, the full integration and inclusion of new members to the projects and initiatives of the Forum. September 2006 - Launch of the project ‘Business Hour’

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Daniel Valchev opened in the National Financial and Economic School in Sofia the new initiative of the BBLF. The project was part of the international initiative of the IBLF - ENGAGE. In those business hours the employees of the companies, members of the Forum, met pupils from professional schools in Sofia and introduced them with the most interesting market innovations, particular situations from their everyday practice, and gave the students valuable professional advices.

November 27, 2008 - 10th Anniversary of BBLF and first Grand Charity Ball

BBLF celebrated its 10th anniversary with a Charity Ball on November 27, 2008. The Forum showed its concern regarding the future of our aging nation, supporting causes related to the preservation of the Bulgarian family in its entirety, namely the creation of new life by funding free in vitro procedures for financially burdened families and increasing awareness and prevention of breast cancer. Each year the charity event gathers representatives of the responsible business community in Bulgaria at a gala dinner, where funds are raised at a charity auction.

November 2008 - ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in the Tourism Industry in Bulgaria - the Facts and the Future’ project, funded by the EC

BBLF in partnership with the NGO - Initiatives for International Development and Sofia University -Public Administration Department of the Faculty of Philosophy and former State Agency for Tourism was awarded a contract under the Budget Line 04-04-01-01 ‘Projects in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), administered by European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The total project cost was 113 234 Euros of which 80% was to be funded by the EC and the rest collected from partners and advertisers. The project was called ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in the Tourism Industry in Bulgaria - the Facts and the Future’. The key objective of the project was to promote corporate social responsibility in tourism in Bulgaria, including socially responsible production, consumption and investment. The project started on 15th of November 2008 and finished in February 2010.

May 2011 – Launch of Lead for Tomorrow 

On May 12, 2011 Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum officially launched the project ‘Lead for Tomorrow’, aimed at supporting the professional development and leadership thinking of talented young people. Its scheme and scale are unique for Bulgaria, and it is designed to solve one of the most complex problems facing our society today – the lack of leaders with ethics, scope, courage, dedication and effectiveness. The first three lectures were delivered by Rosen Plevneliev - former Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, elected president of Bulgaria in November 2011, David Fagiano - COO of Dale Carnegie Training, and Tom Keith Roach – Area Vice President Central Europe, Balkan, Baltics and CIS at AstraZeneca.

October 2012 - Inspirational Leaders Charity Auction launched

BBLF held the first ever Inspirational Leaders Charity Auction in support of Teach for Bulgaria. The unconventional auction convenes business leaders and popular stars to raise funds in support of the foundation’s mission to provide equal access to quality education to every child in Bulgaria by encouraging and training capable and ambitious young people to teach at schools in struggling communities. The auction grew into an annual project and the celebrities that joined it throughout the years feature popular and inspiring individuals. Every one of them donates two hours of their time to the company that offers the best price.

April 2016 – start of the Annual BBLF-Ambassadors Meeting

BBLF’s new project is inspired by our vision of a modern Bulgaria that welcomes business and offers stimulating jobs and excellent quality of life. The event is meant to trigger a meaningful dialogue between responsible business and ambassadors of this country’s biggest current and potential economic partners as well as the public sector on measures that will secure next generation’s prosperity. The comments and experience shared by the diplomatic corps are invaluable as they outline sustainable economic development patterns and contribute to designing policies that will bring about a positive social change.

November 2018 – BBLF Turns 20

Transforming Bulgaria, BBLF’s 20th anniversary motto, summarises the Forum’s mission of driving a long-term positive change to Bulgaria’s economic and social environment. The Forum has been committed to making Bulgaria a good place to invest, work and live in by encouraging business ethics, promoting best CSR and sustainability practices and offering a platform for dialogue with stakeholders. What is more, the concept has been shared by a growing number of partners from all sectors.