ARC Consulting is:
ARC Consulting EOOD is the Enterprise Europe Network coordinator for Bulgaria. The company is the consulting arm of the Applied Research and Communications Fund (ARC Fund) and renders services in the domain of SMEs’ and clusters’ innovation and internationalization support, of the analysis and public policy on innovations and information and communication technologies in the European Union, and of the design and implementation of national and international projects under the EU framework programs, the Cohesion and Structural Funds. ARC Consulting develops and supports the capacity of ARC Fund in the delivery of high-quality consulting services to its customers and partners for the achievement of its mission, in the development of the Innovation.bg annual report and in the organization of the Innovative Enterprise of the Year national contest and the National Innovation Forum.
Established in 1980, Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) is among the biggest national business representative organizations in Bulgaria. The main business support services of BIA are its trainings for project development for funding by the European Innovation Council, as well as its advisory assistance for assessment of the proposal success potential and the delivery of improvement recommendations for its content.
The organization supports for more than 40 years the access of SMEs to international markets, consulting them in their expansion to third countries, and also assists them with professional advices in the domain of financing and investor attraction. BIA organizes around 15 export capacity building events for SMEs and is a co-organizer of 10+ brokerage (B2B) events annually, part of which in collaboration with the Inter Expo Center. BIA is the coordinator of an Erasmus+ project in the domain of open innovation and industry 4.0 being awarded by the program for best project implementation. The organization launches the first Bulgarian open innovation platform.
Joint Innovation Centre (JiC-BAS) is the coordination unit of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS) for its policy implementation in the domain of innovations, intellectual property, technology transfer and R&D results’ commercialization. The organization provides advisory support on access to finance, entrepreneurship (BAS spin-offs), internationalization, renewable energy sources and energy storage, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, clean technologies, circular and carbon-neutral economy.
JiC-BAS is a key partner in the Centre of Competence “HITMOBIL – Technologies and systems for Generation, Storage and Consumption of Clean Energy” (OP “Science and Education for Smart Growth”, co-funded by the EU via ERDF) and partner both in the “Energy Storage and Hydrogen Energetics” National R&D Infrastructure and in the BalkanMed INNOVA action (Balkan-Mediterranean Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, INTERREG). The organization partners with the Bulgarian SME Promotion Agency for the creation of more favourable innovation environment and result maximization of the “science-business” relations. In 2021 they piloted together the “Science for Business” forum, scheduled to occur on annual basis.
Renewable Energy Synergy Cluster (RES Cluster) is the first national cluster for promotion of green energy production. The organization delivers advisory support on a spectrum of domains: green innovations, national and EU regulations and requirements, policies on green transformation, etc. Its purpose is to streamline the efforts of companies towards green growth, access to new markets, development of innovative products, processes and technologies in the RES sector and building international partnerships in cross-cutting domains such as digital transformation, mechatronics, robotics and automation, etc.
The cluster’s flagship initiative is the setting up of RES Demo Center as a high-tech arena to give the companies the opportunity of demonstration and promotion of their innovative green-energy solutions and services to a wide target group, as well as to provide young professionals and university graduates with a Living Lab to help them acquire practical skills and expertise in line with the latest tech-trends. In 2021 the RES cluster was awarded support by the “Towards Green Transition” Facility of the European Cluster Collaboration Platform.
The Centre is one of the most experienced non-governmental organizations of its kind in Bulgaria with more than 25 years of activity in the domain of regional economic development and SME support. It has pioneered and managed numerous innovative SME support instruments – the first business incubator in Bulgaria, along with a virtual incubator and a JUNIOR business incubator for young to-be-entrepreneurs. The Center empowered the region with the first non-banking financial instruments in support of the entrepreneurship and SMEs in Bulgaria (start-ups credit line, machine leasing, and a Guarantee Fund).
The Centre has experience in the support of social enterprises too (in assistance of disabled people). At present it also functions as a Creative Hub. It is a co-founder of the regional IT and gaming cluster together with Ruse Municipality and other stakeholders. The Centre organizes capacity building trainings on a series of topics, amongst which innovation and clustering in the agri-food sector, digital marketing, GDPR, etc. It developed the smart specialization strategy of the North Central Region of Bulgaria as a member of the Regional Council for Economic Development.
The SouthEast Digital Innovation Hub (DigiHub) supports the efficient digital transformation in the Southeast Region and the adoption of digital technologies and smart systems for improvement of the quality of products and of the results of member companies’ activity. It provides access to advanced computer facilities and networks, wind farms, photovoltaic and hydroelectric power stations, as well as to advanced R&I labs on artificial intelligence, industry 4.0, prototyping and testing, cyber security, biosensors, simulation and modelling, photonics, automation, optical functional materials, real-time and embedded systems.
In 2020 DigiHub developed the online Digital Assistant platform for evaluation of the companies’ digital maturity, which is also used for the purposes of provision of tailored digitalization support for them. The organization is a part of the European digital innovation hubs network. It co-developed the Regional Development Strategy, as well as of the Integrated Regional Strategy (2021-2027). DigiHub participated actively in the development of the National S3 strategy and its regional dimension too (2021-2027).
Marine Cluster Bulgaria (MCB) unites SMEs, branch associations, educational and research and development organizations, covering a wide range of marine and maritime activities in the value chain of the Blue Growth sectors in Bulgaria. It shares the European Union strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy by 2050 and other related initiatives for green and clean waterborne transport. MCB contributed to the extension of the national Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization by complementing the priority “Mechatronics and Clean Technologies” with the Blue Growth Technologies.
The cluster organizes regular regional and international conferences, with its “Blue Career Days” flagship (250 participants on average) that promotes career opportunities to youngsters in the maritime sector and helps its members to respond to the new industrial challenges and trends (industry 4.0, digital transformation). MCB is commissioned by EISMEA to act as a National Hub of the Black Sea Assistance Mechanism to support the implementation of the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea.
The Chamber is the leading business support organization in the South-East Region of Bulgaria that represents the economic interests of SMEs. It has a lead expertise in the domains of smart energy management and RES (awarded by Eurochambres as one of the 3 lead chambers across Europe in the field), as well as in CE-marking, ISO certification and REACH. It realized an Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs project as a coordinator.
Another initiative of the Chamber is the project Jump Start: Make First Steps in Entrepreneurship and Accelerate your Business. It is a co-founding member of the Zagore DIH for new technologies in the creative and recreational industries, mechatronics and clean technologies, healthy lifestyle and biotech, as well as of the Clean Environment Technologies Cluster. The Chamber is also an associated member of the Smart Mechatronic, Eco- and Energy-saving Systems and Technologies Centre of Competence (OP “Science and Education for Smart Growth”) at Gabrovo Technical University, which is focused on the new and emerging technologies.
Sofia Tech Park is the first science and technology park in Bulgaria. It acts as a hub for researchers, innovative start-ups and mature companies in Bulgaria and the region. Its activity is devoted on the development and management of unique environment for SME support and growth via provision of know-how, networking opportunities and access to new technologies in three focal areas: information and communication technologies, life sciences and clean energy.
The organization is based on the interconnection of knowledge, technologies and people and includes a few basic components: Laboratory Complex with 11 laboratories, Forum for Events, Business Incubator, Interactive Center for Science and Technologies. The Incubator offers the start-ups offices and co-working spaces, where they can share knowledge and turn their ideas into successful business endeavours, as well as incubation services. The Park also facilitates the access to finance by providing contacts with investors. Sofia Tech Park organizes technological, business and educational conferences, seminars, trainings, exhibitions, etc.
Plovdiv Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a leading business support organization in the South-Central Region of Bulgaria. It delivers various business services and consultations related to import/export procedures, customs legislation, consultations regarding administrative procedures and legal environment for business, markets’ and partners’ searches, innovations. The Chamber is a recognizable partner in a number of international cooperation projects and in different local initiatives in favour of the business and society. It’s a founder and a member of various non-profit organizations for support of tourism, local foods, wine and culture, regional development.
The Chamber actively organizes business cooperation events and business missions abroad, it hosts foreign business delegations, organizes seminars and trainings in the domains of financing, innovations, sustainable economy, digitalization, health and safety working conditions. It is a partner of the International Fair Plovdiv, where it organizes foreign and Bulgarian group participations. The Chamber works in a fruitful cooperation with Trakia Economic Zone and the local authority and supports the entrance of foreign investors, it promotes Plovdiv as an investment destination in its international participations and partnerships and assists for the building of region’s image as a leading industrial center.
Cluster of Mechatronics and Automation (CMA) is one of the premium clusters in Bulgaria, working in the areas of mechatronics, automation and robotics, and uniting high-tech companies in the fields of mechanical engineering, hardware and software, functioning on the principles of industrial revolution 4.0. Its activity is based on the sharing of resources for the purposes of smart growth enhancement. CMA supports the development of high-tech export-oriented products, services, technologies and factories of the future (digital control, virtual factories, etc.). It was awarded with Bronze Label for Cluster Management Excellence.
CMA has 6 regional centers and labs throughout Bulgaria (in Sofia, Blagoevgrad, Plovdiv, Vratsa, Smolyan and Samokov), equipped with computers, conference facilities, industrial robots for training, 3D printers and CNC machines for metal processing. It is strongly focused on business internationalization in the domains of digital transformation, clean technologies, circular economy and sustainable development. Its members elaborate on patent-protected equipment and products that are exported worldwide, including but not only, to Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, UK, Poland, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, China, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, India, USA, Brazil and Mexico.
The Centre supports regional SMEs in their digital transformation, green transition and work based on the principles of circular economy. Its goal is to assist the SMEs in their digital transition to innovativeness and competitiveness on the global market and to support regional governance towards better digital services, eco-friendly and energy efficient regional development. The attraction of foreign direct investments and the internationalization support are also at the heart of Center’s portfolio. In 2021 it joined European Association of Development Agencies (EURADA) as a full member.
The Center includes members from the business community (innovative companies, including start-ups and spin-offs operating in the field of mechatronics and information and communication technologies), academia and R&D community (Technical University of Gabrovo) and regional authorities (Gabrovo Municipality and the Regional Government of Gabrovo region). Its core competences lie in the following sectors: manufacturing of machinery and equipment, education, science and research in the areas of sensory systems, artificial intelligence, CPS and IoT, software systems, robotics.