Developing and sustaining the new wave of business clusters


December 2010

Operation on Two Fronts – Forestry and Dobrudzha

The consultants of the Forestry Sector Institutional Reform Support Project presented the project in front of SFE Senior Staff Representatives and other Stakeholders on a seminar in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. After the presentations there was a broad discussion of the main issues of the project.

Meanwhile the research of the Dobrudzha Region continued. Members of our team made a series of interviews in the seaside area of Dobrudzha. Thus they completed the research phase of the Cross-Border project and prepared the first two reports: Good Cluster Practice Report and Sectoral Study.

And some party…

On December 22nd the team celebrated the good work over the year on a Christmas party in the Sushi restaurant Kabuki in Sofia. We shared the good mood and the exotic food with our partners of Ligna Consult.

November 2010

Closer to the Nature – support of the Bulgarian Forestry

Growthclusters continues to work with the Bulgarian Executive Forestry Agency. In November we started the work on a project for Supporting the Forestry Sector Institutional Reform. The project is funded by the World Bank and the Growthclusters’ work involve reviewing the proposed institutional models for the forest sector; analyzing the economic viability of the new structures and drafting business models for their first six months operation as well as drafting outlines of the future standard operating procedures.

Meanwhile another part of the team started a research in the Industrial Zone of Dobrich with respect to the Cross-Border Bulgarian-Romanian Cluster Project. The team interviewed local representatives of SMEs and BSOs.

October 2010

Conference In Paris

One of our members attended a two-day conference on eco-management of SMEs. She established contacts with the DG Environment of the European Commission. The conference was organized by Chamber of Commerce and Industries of France and was attended by production companies that work for bringing in the eco-design and innovation in their production. On the second day of the conference they visited the French company Oray, which manufactures projection screens from eco-materials.

September 2010

Cross-border work with Romania

Always a busy month and this one is no exception. Visit to Dobrudja region on both sides of the Bulgarian/Romanian border to set up the new cross-border cluster project that Dobrich Chamber of Commerce have just signed as a Lead Partner in association with the Constantsa Chamber.

The ISEDE-NET Conference in Social Enterprise is held in September 9th in Varna as a way of stimulating activity in the Black Sea Region.

August 2010

South-East Europe Business Excellence Clusters on the way

A traditional holiday month for most Mediterranean countries. Then why are we working so hard! Our South East Europe Clusters Excellence bid needs to be written; the budget developed and a Partner Meeting arranged. The Association of Business Clusters in Bulgaria and the Ministry of Economy in Bulgaria are working well together.

Growthclusters-BG has a new Project Assistant who joins straight from Istanbul where she spent a couple of months on Erasmus student exchange in Istanbul University.

July 2010

Social Enterprise in focus

The Varna office is now fully functional. Yanina Hristova (formally Palkova) is leading on the ISEDE-NET Social Enterprise project and also will be working on the new Cross-border Cluster Project soon to be signed between the Cross-border Secretariat in Budapest and the two Chambers of Dobrich and Constantsa.

June 2010

Busy month on the Clusters front

Whilst we host the ABC meeting in the Varna office on Friday 11th June, we also are working on the Application for South East Europe Operational Programme. Out of 600 Applications on the 2nd Call the Association of Business Clusters for Bulgaria/Pole Office Hungary application is in the top 60. We hope to support the lead partners to develop 6 to 10 World Class Clusters across the Balkans – in line with the ambitions of the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Programme. More details in further news items.

May 2010

New office in Varna

Growthclusters BG opens a new office in Varna – the biggest city on the Bulgarian seaside. It is in the centre of the city, behind Varna Cathedral. You can find the office on the following address: 78, Dr. Piskyuliev str., fl. 2, Varna 9000.

April 2010

Turkey consultancy

Currently Growthclusters are working on two projects in Ankara with Europ-Aid/Turkish Chamber of Commerce/Ministry of Economy expansion of ABiGEM to create 6 more Business Centres and 12 Clusters. We are writing a Cluster Development Handbook and then in May will be using GEM+ to analyse the 12 Business Clusters they have formed.

March 2010

Go Kaman, Go!

Elena Spasova has just returned from a trip to Kaman, Turkey (middle Anatoliya) to strengthen our partnership with the Municipality of Kaman and the local Association of Walnut Farmers, who will be putting in a proposal for cross-border cooperation project between Turkey and Bulgaria. Come back soon for more information on project details!

Fishing Exercise

The Growthclusters Team will train Executive Agency for Forestry senior officials to work with the updates Strategic documents and create their own Regional Strategic Plans. Our main goal is not to give them fish, but to teach them how to fish themselves. This is the only way to achieve sustainability in business planning for the new structure of the Executive Agency.

February 2010

Growthclusters BG has set up some of the membership procedures for the Bulgarian Association of Business Clusters. Associate Membership is open to all at 500 BGN per year (Full membership only for certified BG Clusters). We are still waiting for a start date for the Cross Border Cluster Project between Bulgaria and Romania. But we have completed the Preliminary Assessment Report!

January 2010

New Year, New Look

After throwing a Christmas Party at Kohinoor Indian Restaurant off Hristo Botev Blvd, our team started the New Year 2010 full of enthusiasm and excitement about Growthclusters’ new projects. In January Elena Spasova (borrowed from Ligna Group) were in the full swing of carrying out research about the state of the art of social enterprise in Bulgaria as part of the implementation of ISEDE-NET Project, funded by South East Europe Operational Programme. They have developed a database of most social enterprises in Bulgaria and have interviewed them about the barriers and opportunities they face, their business needs and relationship with public authorities and stakeholders. The Analysis of Social Entrepreneurship and the Social Enterprise Report will be presented to Minister Valintina Simeonova (Ministry of Labour and Social Policy), who has shown interest and support for the project activities.

John Murray attended Clusters Conference in Budapest, Hungary about Excellence in Clusters. Link to proceedings is here:

Met lots of old friends and colleagues plus cementing some of the projected South East Europe partners.

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