The North-East Region of Bulgaria encompasses four provinces – Varna, Dobrich, Shumen, and Targovishte. This dynamic region boasts a wide array of resources and entities to support business development and innovation. Let’s delve into the remarkable components that constitute the North-East Region:
- Public Agencies: The region benefits from the presence of two public agencies, which actively contribute to regional development and progress.
- Development Agency: A dedicated development agency operates within the North-East Region, fostering growth and creating favorable conditions for businesses.
- Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Help Desks: Two IPR help desks provide essential guidance and support in matters related to intellectual property rights, assisting businesses in protecting their innovations.
- Clusters: Two prominent clusters, namely the Industrial Cluster Devnya and the ICT Cluster Varna (ИКТ Клъстер Варна), drive innovation and collaboration within specific industries, serving as vital hubs for economic advancement.
- Business Support Infrastructures: A comprehensive network of 24 business support infrastructures, including associations, forms the backbone of support services for enterprises in the region.
- Industrial Zones/Parks: The North-East Region is home to 12 industrial zones and parks, offering strategic locations and facilities to foster industrial activities.
- Co-working Spaces: With 11 co-working spaces, the region provides flexible work environments that promote collaboration and entrepreneurship.
- Associations: A diverse range of 40 associations exists within the North-East Region, focusing on various industries such as industry, science and technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, energy management and efficiency, maritime industries, agro-food technologies, tourism, and national clusters.
- Educational Institutions: The region prides itself on hosting 11 technical schools and 7 universities, cultivating a skilled workforce and fostering academic collaboration.
- Business Accelerators: Three business accelerators, including one regional accelerator and two national accelerators, operate within the North-East Region. These accelerators, within the BG33 framework, facilitate the growth and development of innovative ventures.
- Research Institutes and Innovation Centers/Organizations: The region boasts 12 research institutes, with 9 of them situated within university premises. Additionally, three innovation and tech-transfer centers/organizations contribute to research and technological advancement.
While the North-East Region currently has only one candidate European Digital Innovation Hub (EDIH), namely iVhub – Innovation Varna Hub, associations focused on business support and innovation predominantly cater to industrial sectors such as industry, science and technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, energy management and efficiency, maritime industries, agro-food technologies, tourism, and national clusters. These national clusters operate in fields such as ICT, green transport, digital transformation and innovation, health and life sciences, emerging technologies, AI, mechatronics and automation, electric cars, innovative technologies, and renewable energy.
The region’s notable regional clusters (associations) include the Regional Cluster “Northeast,” Marine Cluster Bulgaria, and Black Sea Energy Cluster, fostering collaboration and development in specific sectors.
When it comes to private funding, the North-East Region benefits from national actors such as the Bulgarian Fintech Association, Bulgarian Venture Capital Association (BVCA), LAUNCHub Ventures, Sofia Angels Ventures, Urban Impact Venture, Eleven Ventures, BlackPeak Capital, SILVERLINE CAPITAL, BrightCap Ventures. Notably, the BBF Angels Club represents the sole regional private funding actor.
Furthermore, business support is extended through entities such as Enterprise Europe Network Bulgaria: Office in Varna, BNI Leader, Varna, and the Regional Information Center for European Funds (Varna Municipality), enabling access to resources and guidance in navigating European funding opportunities.
The North-East Region of Bulgaria stands as a thriving hub of innovation, collaboration, and business support.