For the first time, investment opportunities in the ICT sector in Bulgaria were the focus of Germany’s most significant event for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Minister of Economy and Industry, Nikola Stojanov, opened an online master class on “En route to Bulgaria: the newest hotspot for a strong growth for IT, innovation and digitalization”. The event is part of the elite entrepreneurship and innovation conference “Bits & Pretzels”, which takes place in Munich and traditionally gathers over 5000 participants.
“In the last 10 years the value of the product produced in the information and communication technologies sector in Bulgaria has increased 8 times”, Minister Nikola Stojanov emphasized. According to him, Bulgaria is third in the world in IT specialists per capita and in the top 10 countries with highly educated software engineers in Europe, whose number has reached over 50 thousand people in 2021, and the total number of employees in the ICT sector exceeds 200 thousand people. Our country also ranks first in Europe in the number of qualified women in the ICT sector.
Minister Stojanov presented some of the major investments of German companies in Bulgaria. Bosch has a development centre in Bulgaria and in 2019 the company opened an Engineering Centre in Sofia, where nearly 500 software specialists develop innovative technologies for the automotive industry. Last month, the company also announced its startup accelerator program in our country. Another example was the decision of the German leader in bus transportation – the Bavarian company FlixBus, which in 2021 chose Bulgaria for its Knowledge Hub Sofia – the company’s center of expertise with activities ranging from IT and digitalization to marketing and accounting. “We were competing with 6 other countries, but our achievements in the sector and the skills of Bulgarian specialists were what convinced them that Bulgaria was the right destination,” Nikola Stojanov stressed.
The Minister of Economy also presented INSAIT – the first institute of its kind in Eastern Europe, which offers world-class research in computer science, artificial intelligence and technology. It was established in partnership with two of the world’s top technical universities. It is funded by the Bulgarian government with $100 million over 10 years and is backed by over $15 million from Amazon Web Services, Google, DeepMind, SiteGround and VMware.
“Bulgaria is a destination of knowledge and when – if not now – is the time to discover it”, Minister Stojanov addressed the numerous representatives of German and global companies.
The online master class was attended by the founders of successful Bulgarian ICT companies – Coursedot, Anthill, Dreamix and the Bulgarian start-up association BESCO.
This is Bulgaria’s first participation in one of Germany’s most recognizable and influential events for entrepreneurship and innovation, held annually in Munich. Minister Nikola Stojanov’s participation in the conference provided a one-hour slot for a virtual masterclass with a Bulgarian focus. Guest speakers at past editions of B&P have included Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson and others.