BULGARIA, North-East Region – national & regional innovation framework
A supportive innovation environment is currently developing in the country. To encourage R&D&I, Bulgaria has steadily created a variety of laws and regulations. The Government is prioritising high-tech industrial and technological advancement through numerous policies and strategies for scientific research and ICT designated high-tech industries as preferential, which resulted in lower investment capital requirements and additional benefits to businesses in the areas of social security, taxes, and vocational training. The presence of innovation strategies, policies and the establishment of a Ministry of Innovation and Growth in 2021 in order to facilitate them, together supporting the so-called innovative system, are the provisions to further develop and implement a competitive economy (national, regional, and local).
More than 50 University units – 10 among them are so called “Research Universities” (providing the general public with various learning opportunities, promoting lifelong learning, and playing a crucial part in the transmission of information through research and its practical, applied usage, which is embodied in innovation). Hundreds of intermediary organisations (business incubators, consultancy organisations, branch associations, trade associations, regional development agencies, technology parks, and innovation centres, etc.). Increasing availability of financing institutions (venture capital companies, business angels networks, foreign direct investments, national and international funding programs).
The economic situation in the North – East Region is considered to be favourable in comparison to the other northern regions in the country. ICT usability is increasing at the fastest rates (higher than the national average). Strategic transport-geographical area (transport infrastructure – relatively high share of motorways from the national network, rail, air transport, and water transport roads along the Danube and the Black Sea are prerequisite for market expansion and cooperation on local/regional/national and international level). Availability of scientific institutes and higher education institutions are prerequisite for the development of high-tech industries (availability of qualified researchers in the field of natural and mathematical sciences, computer science technology and engineering sciences and medicine due to high performance of R&D in universities, National Institutes (BAS) and regional academic centres under its jurisdiction on the theritory of BG 33, and other organisations/enterprises engaged with R&D processes).
Availability of potential for development of high-tech productions: emergence of regional clusters and branch organisations, NGOs. More than half of the GDP in the north region of the country is accumulated in Varna Province – the so called “maritime capital” of Bulgaria has a top-notch educational system, known for drawing talents, and has effectively reoriented its economy toward greater added value by using digital skills and R & D initiatives in the shipbuilding, informatics, and medical fields.