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Innovation and Business Support Program

ARC Fund contributes to, and supports the development of information society policies in Bulgaria. This is being done through policy analyses in such fields as telecommunications, electronic media, and ICTs; drafting and proposing policy documents to responsible government agencies, and performing analytical work commissioned by Bulgarian and international organizations, including the World Bank, European Commission, or other major international agencies.

An analytical unit (IT Group) operates as part of ARC Fund's Information Society Program since 2001. The group involves experts with diverse backgrounds in IT, telecommunications, social sciences, economics, business, and law, thus emphasizing the cross-thematic nature of the information society. Its current research interests focus primarily on issues of e-government/e-governance, information and infrastructure security, ICT for development, e-economy, and e-readiness, among other themes.

Taking advantage of its strategic partnership with the Center for the Study of Democracy and Vitosha Research Agency, ARC Fund is also actively involved in drafting specific legislation (e.g. the Electronic Document and Electronic Signature Law), and collecting empirical data on different aspects of IS development through public opinion polls and social surveys.

ARC Fund's web-development unit specializes in web-based services and applications that demonstrate the value of ICTs in support of democracy, good governance, civil society empowerment, and small business development. The group operates a number of portal sites, including Southeast Europe Online, Bulgaria Development Gateway, and Bulgaria Online. It involves several IT engineers, database programmers, web-developers and graphic designers.

A third layer of ARC Fund's information society activities focuses on promotion, awareness and training. Since 2001 ARC Fund operates the e-Bulgaria Information Society Promotion Office, a stand-alone unit run in partnership with the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The office provides information and consulting services to businesses, public administrations, NGOs, academic institutions, and individual citizens. The overall goal is to raise IT awareness and skills, and create incentives for a wider spread of innovative business practices and IT applications.

In support of its mission to be one of the driving engines behind information and knowledge society developments in Bulgaria, ARC Fund also serves as secretariat to the Internet Alliance for Economic Development, and Bulgaria Development Gateway - two major initiatives fostering wider use of Internet and related technologies to the benefit of Bulgaria's economic and social development. ARC Fund is also a founding member of the Coalition 2000 - Bulgaria's flagship anticorruption initiative.

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