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Twelfth National Innovation Forum “Innovation powered by talent”

Applied Research and Communications Fund, ARC Consulting, Enterprise Europe Network – Bulgaria, Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, Design for Europe and Joint Innovation Centre of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with the support of Directorate General GROW, EC, the Executive Agency for SMEs, EC and with the media partnership of Bloomberg TV Bulgaria and held the Twelfth National Innovation Forum "Innovation Powered by Talent".

Dr. Ognian Shentov, Chairman of the Applied Research and Communications Fund, opened the Forum by outlining the significant role of the private sector in developing the national innovation eco-system. This trend is illustrated by the growing number of alumni of the “Innovative Enterprise of the Year” award, which is a positive sign for the innovative potential of the Bulgarian economy.

Mr. Michael Forbes, Ambassador of Ireland to Bulgaria, highlighted the main steps taken by Ireland to develop its economy in the context of the global financial crisis and increasing competition. Key measures that can serve as a good example for Bulgaria, are attracting foreign investments by creating favourable legal and tax conditions for businesses, as well as significant and targeted investments in education and innovations, which have led to higher labour productivity and a more flexible economy.

The President of Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Rosen Plevneliev, acknowledged the positive developments powered by Bulgarian innovative companies, especially in three high-technology sectors: ICT, outsourcing and the automotive sector, which have created over 70 000 jobs in the last few years. Mr. Plevneliev also highlighted the favourable environment for start-ups in Bulgaria, created by the European Investment Fund and the accelerators Eleven and Launchub, which play a key role in attracting innovations, talents and knowledge in Bulgaria.

The President of Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rosen Plevneliev awarded the winners in the National Contest “Innovative Enterprise of the Year 2016“.

Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator of the group at the Applied Research and Communications Fund, presented the main challenges outlined in the 2016 report on “Innovation powered by talent”. defines three groups of conditions necessary for the establishment of a shared eco-system for growth and attraction of talents: a)general factors featuring all trends in economy, demography and healthcare; b) policies supporting education, life-long-learning, science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship; c) corporate practices for attracting and growing talents, tapping the potential of talents into innovations, applying international good practices for talent management.

Ms. Milena Damyanova, Chairperson, Education and Science Committee, National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, summarized the basic amendments in the new Pre-school and School Education Act that supports talent development through creativity, critical thinking and entrepreneurship. The Act will allow teachers to choose the most suitable education methods for their pupils. The newly established innovation schools on the other hand will design and implement innovative educational processes in order to solve pressing challenges of the education system.

Mr. Todor Tchobanov, Deputy Mayor of Sofia municipality, presented recent initiatives by the municipality for fostering innovations. Sofia as capital city is the first Bulgarian city with its own Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialisation, which aims to improve the quality of life in the region. The municipality also supports large scale events focused on innovations and digital growth and is a very active participant in OP “Science and Education for Smart Growth” 2014 – 2020 and EC framework programs.

Prof. Nikolay Denkov, lecturer at the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Sofia University, provided recommendations for the future development of science and research in Bulgaria, which are currently lacking qualified staff, funding and modern facilities. Prof. Denkov suggested that Bulgaria’s science infrastructure requires better organization and strategic documents from the government, stronger incentives to conduct research and stricter control over spending of EU funds, including those from OP "Science and education for smart growth" 2014-2020.

Mr. Milen Ivanov, Director of the Founders Institute in Bulgaria, closed the discussion by presenting the main activities of the organization, which offers local entrepreneurs mentorship, contacts and new skills. He believes that the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs are curiosity, professional experience in their sector and fluid intelligence – the ability to adapt and use existing knowledge in new areas.

The panel session and the discussion were moderated by Prof. Stefan Hadzhitodorov, Institute of Biophysics and Biomedical Engineering, BAS

Agenda and presentations (in Bulgarian only)

Innovation.BG 2016 "Innovation powered by talent" (ZIP PDF, 4,5 MB)

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