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Bulgaria’s Profile in EWDN’s Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe Report

Recently, the Russian East-West Digital News (EWDN) technology news and research agency published Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe report – the first-ever study covering 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. EWDN has offices or representatives in Moscow, Kiev, Riga and Sarajevo as well as in Paris, Brussels, Silicon Valley, Bogota and Dubai and claims that the project is a collaborative effort to analyze startup investment trends and to highlight innovation ecosystems across CEE. Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe report includes case studies and interviews with local dynamic tech entrepreneurs and active investors. Each country profile includes key local facts and trends, venture facts and numbers, information about startup support infrastructure and individuals from the local innovation scene.

The report reviews the local innovation ecosystems, highlights the hottest tech hot spots in the region, analyzes development strategies by public authorities at the local and country levels as well as international programs to support innovation in the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine. Special sections are dedicated to AI projects, corporate investment and open innovation, and other hot topics related to innovation across the region.

According to the report, Bulgaria is a Modest Innovator with a score of 47.5 (index based on the European Innovation Scoreboard 2016 where Sweden is the top-performing country with a score of 143.6). The country has a well-developed IT industry which, over the past years, has been evolving from being engaged primarily in outsourcing activities to more innovative, R&D-related activities. Over time, performance has not changed relative to that of the EU in 2010, EWDN concludes.

Modest Innovators are also Croatia, Romania and Ukraine. In the innovation scoreboard, better performers are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – all of them listed as Moderate Innovators with a score higher than 54.1.

A key finding of the report is that CEE is quite a diverse region: it comprises some of Europe’s most advanced innovation ecosystems (Estonia, Slovenia) and some of the least developed (certain republics of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia). Brain drain and startup emigration affect the countries of the region, due to limited local market size, access to capital, and the appeal of Western countries – Western Europe and the US. However, the impact of emigration is not fully negative, according to EWDN Agency, with many startups keeping a foot in their country of origin, and successful entrepreneurs investing back in their home land.

The report contains 6 main sections. Detailed profiles by country, as well as links to all other sections of the study are available at