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The Sixteenth National Innovation Forum “Economic Resilience through Innovations”

For a sixteenth year in a row, the National Innovation Forum marked ARC Fund’s Innovation.bg actions and process throughout the year. It gathered more than 180 representatives of the policy, research and business communities to share views on Bulgaria’s capacity for resilience through innovation in this challenging year.

The forum is the most representative national innovation platform for cooperation among stakeholders aiming to encourage the national economy and improve the competitiveness of Bulgarian business through implementation of new technologies, manufacturing of new products and cooperation with European partners.

The forum was traditionally organized under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. The 2020 event pioneered an entirely innovative approach in the Bulgarian online events air. It took place in a 3D virtual setting custom-designed and animated by MP Studio – the Innovative Enterprise of the Year 2017 award winner in ‘innovation in creative industries’ – 2017.

Keynote speakers of the forum, 18 December 2020, were:

  • Dr Ognian Shentov, Chaiman of ARC Fund
  • Mr Thorsten Geissler, Director of Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Sofia Office
  • Mr Rumen Radev, President of the Republic of Bulgaria

At the digital forum, Mr Ruslan Stefanov presented the key findings of the annual Innovation.bg report.

The following speakers triggered discussion on the perspectives before the innovation potential:

  • Mr Martin Danovski, Chairman of the State Agency for Research and Innovation
  • Mr Boyko Takov, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Promotion Agency
  • Mr Lyubomir Stanislavov, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Employer’s Association Innovative Technologies

During the forum the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev presented the Innovative Enterprise of the Year 2020 award and the Excellence in Innovation label of ARC Fund to the winning companies.

Since 2004, Innovative Enterprise of the Year awards are given to Bulgarian companies successfully integrating innovations or scientific achievements in their practice, thus streamlining their activities and improving their long-term performance. Companies are assessed by area of impact of the innovation, following a specific methodology by an expert group and an external jury of widest institutional and stakeholder representation.

Sixteen out of 60+ candidate companies from diverse sectors of the economy made it to the final competition round. President Radev granted the awards to the winners in the eight areas of innovation impact that were elicited by a 23-member jury, constituted by representatives of public authorities, funding organizations, the business, academia and media. All finalists were also granted the Excellence in Innovation label of Applied Research and Communications Fund.

The forum was moderated by Ms Kristina Eskenasi, Chair of the Managing Board of the Health and Life Sciences Cluster Bulgaria.

The video streaming of the event was conducted by MP-Studio. The company is among the pioneers in the design of 3D visual effects and interactive installations on diverse objects. It has achieved an innovative synchronisation between laser and video mapping under the 4D Experience brand. It has accomplished over 160 projects all over the world, including the first mapping of a cave, a cathedral and a moving object (an automobile and a bus). MP Studio makes building and exterior projection mapping of historical and cultural sights and was the creator of the multimedia exhibition for the Opening Ceremony for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which presented a variety of images of the country’s millennia-old history, magnificent architectural monuments, beautiful landscapes and icon masterpieces.

The event was held with the financial support of the Enterprise Europe Network – Bulgaria, the Executive Agency for SMEs at DG GROW, EC, and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation’s Sofia Office.

Video streaming of the event (in Bulgarian):