"This is one of the most prestigious forums in Bulgaria and the fact that for the second time we host it in Burgas is significant enough. Over the years our partnership with AIBEST has grown into a real friendship, which led to the opening of the Vocational School for Computer Programming and Innovation in the city 2 years ago, the establishment of IТ academies, and by the end of this month we expect another large company to open its office in Burgas. ”, commented the mayor of Burgas, Mr. Dimitar Nikolov at the press conference held before the start of the event.
"What we witness the recent years in our sector is 20% growth on an annual basis and we expect it to continue this way. We would like more and more companies to expand beyond the capital of Sofia, because we believe that this is the future of the industry in Bulgaria and will enable young people to develop in their hometowns. We will try to attract not only Bulgarians but also foreigners in the sector of business services and IT.", said Mr. Ilia Krustev, Chairman of AIBEST Management Board.
The high value-added business services sector in Bulgaria last year will be analyzed within the conference, a forecast about the impact of the global pandemic on it in 2020 will be made and the direction of the industry’s development will be outlined.
The factors and measures that must be taken at a local and national level to attract new investments and to create a favorable business environment for the development of the sector, which according to the latest data forms 5.2% of the country's GDP, will also be discussed.
Ilia Krustev, Chairman of the Board of AIBEST, presented the preliminary data from the Association’s report for the Development of the Knowledge Economy in the country:
-The number of companies is growing by 5% on an annual basis, as by 2019 610 companies operate in the knowledge industry;
-Employment in the sector increased by nearly 8% compared to 2018. Wage costs in the industry amounted to 1.463 billion euros – an increase of 18.3% over the previous year. Insurance expenditures also followed a growth rate, reaching EUR 204.3 million or 19.02% growth compared to 2018;
-The companies in the sector generated EUR 2.87 billion in total operating revenues in 2019, marking an increase of 19.4% compared to the previous year.
Ilia Krustev also presented the way the industry evaluates 2020 and how it sees the way forward.
Contrary to popular expectations for a decline and loss of projects, 54% of companies in the sector even report an increase in the number of new projects and launched products. There is an increased demand for software and social media platforms, e-commerce, contactless payments, direct deliveries to the user and other online services.
A special guest to the event was the physics teacher Teodosii Teodosiev, who inspired the audience with his motivational speech. He said: "We teach children to learn, and that is a quality for life. We must become a civilization of intellect, a civilization of quality. "