On 1 October, the first live radio broadcast from the Applied Research and Communications Fund was broadcast on the topic “Bulgarian innovation in international markets – challenges and opportunities”. Host Lili Goleminova from Radio Sofia met with experts and entrepreneurs who shared their experience and analyzed the national and European innovation environment, discussed the topic of digital-media literacy.
Daniela Chonkova, Programme Coordinator of the organization, presented the Innovative Enterprise of the Year Contest, organized by the Applied Research and Communications Fund and Enterprise Europe Network – Bulgaria, with the support of the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission, in partnership with BNT, the Bulgarian National Television, and the European Magazine. Economic.bg. Chonkova quoted statistics that 31% of the awarded companies in the history of the initiative since 2004 were from the ICT sector. 13% of the winners have developed engineering innovations.
This year the winners in the 8 categories of the competition will receive their award from the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev.
Representatives of the winning companies in the 12th edition of the Contest – Svetlana Savova from Proznanie Academy (for social innovation), Dimitar Dimitrov from Tickey
Mobile Solutions (in the category for start-up) and Ivan Armianov from Tangra AB (for green innovation) shared their experience of entering international markets.
Dr. Todor Galev, Senior Expert at the Fund, spoke about some of the innovative projects of the organization since 1991 – the introduction of new methods for developing public policies, the introduction of the principles of responsible innovation and technology in applied research, the preparation of a rural map for the construction of a broadband network. Galev also commented on the so-called European innovation paradox, i.e. Europe successfully produces a scientific product of sufficiently high quality, but fails to turn the results of research into a technological product, i.e. to commercialise these results. “This problem is even more profound in the so-called post-socialist countries, including Bulgaria, where there has been and continues to be an even greater distinction between basic ‘theoretical’ science and applied research, or so-called ‘research and development’.”
The experts Denitsa Marinova and Dr. Fanny Koleva talked about the opportunities that the Horizon 2020 programme and in particular the SME Instrument gives to Bulgarian innovative enterprises. Dr. Koleva stressed the importance of intellectual property protection over innovative products, explaining the different options.
Prof. Teodora Georgieva, Senior Expert, presented the first data from the Innovation.bg 2017 report. “According to a survey from 2017, which covers the period 2013-2016, the innovation activity of companies is mostly oriented towards changes related to increasing revenues at the expense of creating radically new offerings. 80% of enterprises indicate that a certain part of their profit is generated on the basis of innovative developments. For 14.6% of enterprises, the entire profit is generated by innovation (representatives of both the high-tech sector and traditional activities).
The number of enterprises with successfully implemented process and organisational innovations has doubled in four years. But only 29% of companies have used external public funding. Nearly 70% of the enterprises surveyed relied to some extent on external markets to validate the success of their innovation projects.” Listen to the conversation with her here.
Georgi Apostolov, coordinator of the National Center for Safe Internet, stressed the importance of parents as well as children to be digitally and media literate. He talked about the initiative to train cyberscouts to help their peers to use mobile technology and social media safely. With him was Deyan Blagoev, creator of the Protect Your Kid app – the Bulgarian nomination for the World Summit Award 2017. He urged parents not to ban Internet usage, but to be there for their children as they enter the digital world.