Author Archives: itengine

New Edition of the Booklet Showcasing Best Projects Awarded at the BAPRA Bright Awards 2017 Competition


In today’s world, communications are changing, our perceptions of public engagement are reversing, and the challenges to the PR industry are getting bigger. With a sense of well accomplished work, our colleagues from the Bulgarian Association of PR Agencies (BAPRA), which is a member of BICA, share the new edition of their bi-lingual booklet of best projects awarded at the BAPRA Bright Awards 2017.

Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association is a traditional partner in the event and in the distribution of its editions.

The winning campaigns in each category are presented in relation to the recognition they got in the contest. Also, all participating projects are revealed by categories. They are listed alphabetically, according to the names of the agencies that submitted them.

The rich content of the booklet includes detailed information about the international jury, as well as each of the categories: “Debut of the Year”, “Innovative Campaign”, “Digital Campaign”, “Special Events”, “Related Cause”, “Employer Branding”, “Internal Communication Campaign”, “Internal PR Campaign”, “Corporate PR”, “Public Relations Campaign”, “Communication Campaign of the Year” and “Agency of the Year”. Sponsors, partners and members of the Bulgarian Association of PR Agencies (BAPRA) are also presented.

“The responsibility to us as communicators is growing, the importance of high morality and ethics in the profession is becoming increasingly important. Today, each of us is the media and the mission of PR professionals requires the messages we broadcast to be not just influential but also true, real and correct”, wrote Katya Dimitrova, President of BAPRA from 2016 to 2018 in the preface to the publication.

For more information, see the full bi-lingual issue in electronic format HERE.

BICA Representatives Meet With the Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Enterprises (CONECT)


Business meeting was held today between representatives of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) and the Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Enterprises (CONECT).

Executive Director Dobrin Ivanov and Director of Industrial Policies Theodore Dechev took part in the meeting on behalf of the Association, and the Tunisian employers’ organization was represented by Vice-Presidents Fued Geddish and Aden Buassida.

The meeting parties discussed future cooperation in exchanging information between the two employers’ organizations. CONECT has interests in machine building, road construction, photovoltaic power plants and, above all, the supply of metal structures.

The Confederation of Tunisian Citizen Enterprises has strong contacts on official level with all other African organizations, that might act as a gateway to the African market, which has recently evolved with very fast rates. On European level, the Tunisian employers’ organization cooperates with Germany and France.

It is expected that a memorandum will be signed between the two employers’ organizations during the forthcoming bilateral business forum in the spring of 2018, organized with the assistance of Honorary Consul of Jordan in Bulgaria, Hasan Barmauy.

CONECT is one of the main Tunisian employers’ organizations uniting small, medium and large public and private enterprises, working in different areas. It has regional offices in almost all 24 regions of the country.

Looking for Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of EU SME Policies, in Partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee

The discussion was opened by Mr. Vassil Velev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association and Mr. Valeri Simeonov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria. Deputy Minister of Economy Mr. Lachezar Borisov, the Executive Director of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency Mrs. Marieta Zaharieva, the Head of the Risk Management Group of the European Investment Fund Mrs. Denitsa Berkhoff, the Secretary General of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions Ms Catherine Stourm, as well as the members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Dr. Milena Angelova – Secretary General of BICA, Mr. Dimitris Dimitriadis, Mr. Chris Lefevre and Mr. Panagiotis Gofas.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) produce about 70% of the country’s GDP and work for 75% of the employed, said the chairman of BICA Vasil Velev. He noted that the potential of small businesses to secure growth and employment is severely hampered by severe administrative and bureaucratic procedures and shortage of human resources and welcomes the fact that one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU is to provide better conditions for SMEs.

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Valeri Simeonov reminded that the government supported the small and medium business with the amendments to the Labor Migration Act in the first month of its work. This measure has allowed the import of 4,000 people from other country, which has secured the most successful summer tourist season in years. With the forthcoming changes in the Law on the Ministry of Interior, the Blue Card regime will be facilitated, as well as the access to the labor market in the country of highly qualified personnel. The government is also working on amendments to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, which will also contribute to providing workforce for business in Bulgaria. A program to reduce the administrative burden for business and citizens is successfully implemented.

The EESC’s main proposals, co-ordinated with BICA and presented during the discussion, are related to: changing the definition of SMEs on the basis of which companies receive access to EU funding, cheaper loans and a range of administrative reliefs; introducing a legal obligation – both in the EU and in Bulgaria – to respect the principles of “think small first” and “just one more time” as well as to test the suitability of all legislative changes to the needs of SMEs.


The EESC and BICA insist that the European Commission should enable SMEs to choose which of the two requirements – number of employees, turnover or balance figure – to meet instead of imposing the “number of the staff employed “as a leader. They also call for simplification of State aid rules, reassessment and change of connectivity constraints, updating thresholds for micro, small and medium enterprises as they have not changed over the last 20 years.

The views of the EESC and the BICА were also supported by former EESC President Dimitris Dimitriadis, who pointed out that EU SMEs account for almost 23 million and provide jobs to 67% of Union employees.

“For the period from 2007-2013 , ERDF helped to SMEs with approximately EUR 47.5 billion. The comparison between the number of beneficiaries – 246,000 SMEs and the total number of businesses – 18.5 million at that point clearly indicates that the EU has failed to support this very important category of enterprises, “he said. The expert commented that more EU funds for SMEs are benefiting by the North countries in EU not the South.

This was the case for Mrs. Denitsa Berkhoff, Head of the Risk Management Group of the European Investment Fund, to clarify that with its own EUR 930 million, the financial institution has attracted an additional EUR 2.4 billion to support SMEs. Over past 5 years, about 15,000 SMEs from Bulgaria have benefited from such funding.

This was the case for Mrs. Denitsa Berkhoff, Head of the Risk Management Group of the European Investment Fund, to clarify that with its own EUR 930 million, the financial institution has attracted an additional EUR 2.4 billion to support SMEs. Over the past 5 years, some 15,000 SMEs from Bulgaria have benefited from such funding.

For a more ambitious Small Business Act in Europe (SBA), the National Association of Small and Medium Business, a member of BICA, announced. According to the chairman of the association Mrs. Negulova, SMEs in Bulgaria need this SBA to be implemented with a legally binding document, to adopt a precise “road map” with deadlines, funds and funding, along with measures to follow up and assess progress on its application.

The specific recommendations of the forum are also related to the need to minimize administrative burdens and put an end to the practice of Member States imposing additional regulations and burdens when transposing European legislation at national level. The important role of employers’ organizations was emphasized for a structured presentation of possible measures and solutions to stimulate SMEs and develop entrepreneurship.

Another very serious difficulty experienced by SMEs – as opposed to large enterprises – is access to new markets. SMEs have a number of difficulties in engaging with larger businesses as part of their value chain, engaging in competitive clusters, accessing support mechanisms and tools, recruiting and retaining staff. EU policies for SMEs should devote more effort to informing SMEs – and in particular – the most vulnerable sub-groups, such as sole proprietors and micro-enterprises, traditional low-potential enterprises, businesses from remote regions, etc. – for available support. The main support networks should be maintained and promoted as well as made easier and more accessible to SMEs.


2018 State Budget of the Republic of Bulgaria: BICA’s Position


In a letter to the mass media, the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association expressed its position on the State Budget Project of the Republic of Bulgaria for the year of 2018.

BICA’s position focuses mainly on the projected budget parameters for 2018, and the policies of the Bulgarian government envisaged. It is consistent with the business recommendations that have already been made with regards to the 2018 Budget aiming to improve the Bulgarian business environment.

According to the Association, Bulgarian economy might grow at a rate of between 3.8 and 4.2% in 2018.

The projected GDP growth could be achieved and exceeded if the government directs systematic efforts to address the core business problems.

BICA approves and supports the tendency of maintaining a low share of funds reallocated from the state budget.

BICA believes that the state should strive for a complete balancing of public finances, and even in the context of a rising economic cycle and accelerated economic growth, employers would support a state budget with a planned surplus that would be directed at reducing government debt.

Employers strongly oppose the administrative increase of the minimum insurance thresholds for 2018 by 3.9%, recommending a more gradual increase in the minimum insurance income for farmers and tobacco growers.

According to BICA, the increase оf minimal insurance income, determined by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy, is without logical economic argumentation and with proven and assessed negative impact on the labor market, employment, unemployment will undoubtedly lead to an increase of the “gray economy” in the labor relations, as well to a decrease in the net income of thousands employed in a number of economic activities.

BICA notes that the roll-out of e-services and the creation of a functional e-government are dramatically late and that the scope of e-services is in fact extremely limited, despite the amount of money earmarked for the purpose.

The Association insists on formulating and financing policies for the introduction of e-Justice, e-health, digitalisation of the cadastre, etc.

According to BICA, the deployment of e-services and the establishment of a functional e-government will undoubtedly reduce the administrative burden on business and citizens, will reduce corruption and the staff in the state administration. Goals that each government puts in the preparation of the state budget for the next year and which have not been achieved for 27 years.



In a video released by U.S. Naval Forces Europe, one of the Russian planes is shown flying an estimated 500 meters (1,640 feet) off the side of the ship at an altitude of 600 feet.

The Navy said it would not have released the video if it didn’t want to publicly counter the Russian reports.

The incident comes as Defense Secretary Ash Carter warned about the danger of a summer offensive by pro-Russian separatists, who have seized Crimea from Ukraine.

“We are looking at Russian activities, at the activities of separatists. It’s a serious possibility and a serious danger,” Carter told the BBC in an interview published Monday.