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President Radev awards innovative companies the Excellence in Innovation label

On 30 January 2020, the President of Bulgaria Mr. Rumen Radev awarded the Excellence in Innovation label for a second time. It was presented to all finalists at the Innovative Enterprise of the Year 2019 contest. The ceremony, organised by the Applied Research and Communications Fund and Enterprise Europe Network under the aegis of the President, was attended by ambassadors and diplomats from European and global innovation leader countries such as Germany, Austria, South Korea, Japan, the UK, Israel, Poland, and by Bulgarian entrepreneurs, public officials, NGOs and academia representatives.

The ARC Fund Chairman Dr. Ognian Shentov opened the ceremony by noting that apart from giving credit to innovative Bulgarian companies, the Excellence in Innovation label is a valuable marketing instrument, in particular with respect to foreign markets. He expressed hope that the selected companies would play a part in advancing innovations in Europe.

The Ambassador of Germany Christoph Eichhorn underlined that there is no monopoly over ideas, talent and entrepreneurship in Europe at large and Germany in particular. He shared his positive experience in working with Bulgarian start-ups and acknowledged the success of a number of Bulgarian companies already present at the German market. Ambassador Eichhorn pointed out that innovation is a cross-cutting need for both policy-makers and business, and that Germany and Europe welcome all innovative businesses.

Martin Danovski, Chairman of the Management Board of the Fund of Funds and adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, stated that public institutions are indebted to the innovation system, but that efforts are made to secure greater funding and encourage better collaboration between the R&D community and business.

Two of the awarded entrepreneurs also shared their experience and advice on how to drive forward innovations.

Plamen Tsekov, CEO and Founder of ScaleFocus, underlined that entrepreneurship itself is a driver for innovations. The IT company he leads, for example, has set up offices across Bulgaria and the Balkans. Bulgarian and foreign entrepreneurs, too, are drawn to the country by the available programmes for entrepreneurship support.

Boyko Karadzhov, Co-Founder and CTO of Payhawk Ltd., acknowledged that the innovation and entrepreneurship milieu in Bulgaria has triggered his company’s success. As its first clients, Bulgarian companies speeded up Payhawk’s development. Moreover, using their specific expertise, companies from the industry are always available to help find relevant solutions. Mr. Karadzhov said he was amazed at the range of technologies produced in Bulgaria and confident that a Bulgarian unicorn is due to appear soon.

In his address to the Excellence in Innovation awardees the President of Bulgaria Mr. Rumen Radev pointed out that innovation-wise Europe has lagged behind the USA, China, and Japan, among others, but that the chance for Europe is to consolidate the ambition of individual countries to do better in innovation, using their unity to catch up. The President also put forward the idea that each district city in Bulgaria should have its own digital technology and innovation centre, which should be made freely accessible to primary and secondary school students as a place where they could build their innovation culture, conduct experiments and observe the outcomes.

The representatives of all 21 start-up and established companies from all economic sectors received their Excellence in Innovation label from the President, who defined innovation as fitting only the smart and the bold. He acclaimed the fact that their numbers are growing and argued that the state, society and each individual must do their best to encourage innovation.

The Excellence in Innovation label of the Applied Research and Communications Fund acknowledges the finalists in the Innovative Enterprise of the Year national contest. These companies are pre-selected by ARC Fund experts and a special jury of leading relevant organisations and institutions. Both the label of excellence and the Enterprise of the Year awards are given for high-quality and original innovations with an effective business model and considerable impact on the home and the global markets, the environment and society at large.

List of the finalists at the "Innovative Enterprise of the Year" 2019 National Contest



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