Three innovative hubs from Bulgaria will participate in the European Commission’s Smart Factories in New EU Member States project. The Bulgarian teams have been selected among 140 candidates from Central and Eastern Europe, competing for the final selection of 34 hubs.
The formal start of the EC initiative was given in Sofia by Alexander Manolev, deputy minister of economy, who took part in the opening conference on the project in Sofia Tech Park. The 34 innovative hubs will participate in a program that will help them develop their business plan through free business training and mentoring on business development, including identification of funding opportunities. The teams will be part of a network with other innovation centers in Europe and will benefit from well-established good practices. They will also have free access to the professional services of Oxford University Innovation Oxentia, PricewaterhouseCoopers Bulgaria, and the European Commission.
The activities under the program will take place from February to November, 2018. The financial scope of the project is EUR 1.8 million and it aims at providing SMEs with greater access to technical expertise and testing of digital technologies, as well as financial and innovation services.
At the program opening conference, Minister Manolev said that the ICT sector in Bulgaria is the fastest growing in Southeastern Europe.
In recent years, the information technology definitely seems to be the area with the most turbulent and successful development, both in terms of productivity and working conditions. The IT sector is becoming more and more important for Bulgaria’s economy as a whole, and Sofia is undoubtedly the center of information technology in the country. Detailed data and analysis of the sector over the last few years can be found in our report “Sofia – Status and Development of the IT Industry” here.