The forum is organized by the Association for Innovation, Business Excellence, Services and Technology (AIBEST), the Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO), the Ministry of e-Government and the Sofia Municipality in partnership with InvestSofia. Its main goal is to support the development of the business ecosystem in Southeast Europe and to position the region as a leading destination for high-value-added services in the world. The event managed to gather the business leaders of the leading technology companies and startups in Bulgaria and the countries of Southeast Europe.
During the forum, the trends and forecasts for the development of the business services industry and the technology sector were discussed. The necessary transformations that need to take place in the region in order for the knowledge economy in Southeast Europe to grow at an even faster pace and be a competitive player on the world map were also discussed.
"It is very important to have a dialogue with the government on all important topics because we can no longer talk about change or moving forward in small steps. We need big jumps. It is no longer enough for us as a business to know how important the knowledge industry is - we must educate society about its importance to the state, "said Iliya Krastev, chairman of the Association for Innovation, Business Services and Technology.
The necessary transformations, both at the national and regional level, are taking place at the company level and then at the industry level. The state administration is also an integral part of this process.
"In the past, investors came to Bulgaria because of cheap land, people and electricity. We want them to come here in the future because of our green power and our smart people. This is our plan - to attract next-level investors to our latitudes. We need to bring entrepreneurship back into our economy, "said Daniel Lorer, Minister for Innovation and Growth.
"Our main goal is to support and make easy the development and operation of the business in the field of innovation. It is of strategic importance for the knowledge industry to become the basis of the economic development of the region" said Bozhidar Bojanov, Minister of e-Government.
"There are many things we want to change. Our strategy is first to apply connectivity to all systems because this will allow us to do automation, "he added.
"Europe cannot compete with the United States in terms of innovation or with China in terms of prices. But Europe is a leader in the life policy. In this regard, in a municipality, there is a much deeper understanding of people and their businesses. We are trying to find the right approach to building smart infrastructure for the city, based on the "15 minutes" concept as the Paris model is. There you can find everything you need for living within 15 minutes walks, "said Gencho Kerezov - Deputy Mayor of Sofia in the field of Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development.