National Innovation Forum

National Innovation Forum

The National Innovation Forum is a unique annual event for Bulgaria, aimed at uniting the efforts of all stakeholders to discuss the innovation environment in the country and to propose optimization measures.

The event focuses on improving the level of cooperation between companies and academia within the country and between Bulgarian and foreign organizations, in order to stimulate the national economy and enhance the competitiveness of businesses. Within the Forum, the need to manage innovations at both national and regional levels in the context of a National Innovation Strategy and European policies is also discussed.

The event is traditionally held under the auspices and with participation of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Prime Minister and many ministers and deputy ministers from the Bulgarian government.

Participants in the Forum are officials from the public and private sector, parliamentarians, NGOs, business associations, companies, consultants, brokers and funders, the media, the European Commission (DG “Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs” and DG “Research and Innovation”), academic and development organizations, World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the leading international experts in the field of innovation, as well as representatives of multinational companies.

Traditionally the National Innovation Forum presents the annual report and the awarding ceremony of the winners in the “Innovative Enterprise of the Year” national contest.

All editions of the National Innovation Forum:

Seventeenth National Innovation Forum “Building Innovation Recovery and Resilience”


 The Applied Research and Communications Fund, ARC Consulting and Еnterprise Europe Network – Bulgaria, with the support of the European Innovation Council and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Executive Agency of the European Commission, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Joint Innovation Centre of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, in media partnership with the telecast “Innovative” of the Bulgarian National Television, the Bulgarian National Radio – Radio Sofia, Economy magazine, DigitalkKaldata.bgBulgarian Science magazine,,, the portal of Bulgarian industry, and Trending organized the Seventeenth National Innovation Forum “Building Innovation Recovery and Resilience” on 7 December 2021.

Dr. Ognian Shentov, Chairman of Applied Research and Communications Fund (ARC Fund), opened the Forum noting that Bulgaria has to find its unique place in the EU innovation and industrial framework, in view of the annual EU funding equal to 5% of the country’s GDP it expects to receive and that the country needs a major approach shift and a series of breakthroughs to attract investments with high added value. Dr. Shentov also pointed out that a number of Bulgarian innovative companies have the potential to turn into unicorns.

ThorstenGeissler, Director of Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Sofia Office, underlined the key role of innovations in countries’ prosperity and economic growth, and pointed out that innovations need to be sustainable in recognition of the fact that the Earth’s resources are limited. “Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity is facing and must be mitigated with the help of innovations. This is one of the core ideas of the European Union’s Green Deal”, clarified Mr. Geissler.


Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria, greeted the participants in the National Innovation Forum and pointed out that in 2021 Bulgaria moved with two positions up in the Global Innovation Index, ranking 35th of 132 countries. “As President, I am proud that we rank first in Europe by number of women employed in science and technologies”, the President noted and pointed out that the moment came to identify and outline all the strengths of Bulgaria and to mobilise the scientific potential of the leading higher schools and research institutions. 

Ruslan Stefanov, Coordinator of ARC Fund’s Group, shared some basic conclusions and ideas for change, based on the analyses in the report. He noted that Bulgaria is a dual economy whose level of education is below the European average. While Bulgaria’s ICT sector is on the grow, local people don’t seem to use digital products actively enough. There should be larger investments in education as well as efforts on the part of government to draw investments with high added value from the US and EU private sectors. “Considering the experience of CEE countries, we should aim at amounts equal to 250 – 500 million euro per year”, explained Mr. Stefanov.



In the following discussion Mr. Ilia Yordanov, Manager of Ondo Solutions Ltd, Innovative Start-up Enterprise of 2020 took part together with Ms. Elena Nikolova, Community Manager of CEO Angels Club, and Mr. Ivan Yosifov, CEO of Naicoms Ltd, Innovative Enterprise of 2019 in the “Social Innovation” category. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Lilia Goleminova, Bulgarian National Radio, media partner of the initiative.

The President Rumen Radev presented the two honorary statuettes, the diplomas and the Excellence in Innovation label of ARC Fund to the distinguished companies in the “Innovative Enterprise of the Year 2021” national contest.

The video streaming was realized in cooperation with MP-Studio – awarded as Innovative Enterprise of 2017 for its innovations in the domain of creative industries. The company is among the pioneers in the field of design of 3D visual effects and interactive installations on different objects. It’s the creator of an innovate synchronization between laser and video mapping, under the 4D Experience brand. The company has hundreds of projects all over the world, including first mapping of a cave, cathedral and moving object (car and bus). It realizes interior and exterior projections on buildings, mainly historical and cultural show places. The company is creator of the interactive exhibition for the opening ceremony of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU, presenting the country in a variety of aspects (historical, cultural, natural, etc.).

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