site.btaInnovation Minister Stoycheva: Bulgaria, Romania Pool Efforts to Be Technological Development Leaders
Bulgarian Minister of Innovation and Growth Milena Stoycheva and Romanian Minister of Research, Innovation and Digitization Bogdan Ivan signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Bucharest on Tuesday. The two ministries will cooperate in areas including innovation, digitization, the entrepreneurial ecosystem, high-tech development, digital connectivity and research, Stoycheva told BTA. She said the two countries will pool their efforts to become leaders of technological development.
Asked about the parameters of the Memorandum of Understanding, Stoycheva said it was the first one signed between her Ministry and another country. The document is oriented towards cooperation in digitization, innovation, research and development, the start-up ecosystem, the entrepreneurial ecosystem and technology development. "All the areas I listed are included through the presentation of best practices, experience sharing, interaction, participation in joint projects, developing new pilot projects, joining the two countries' efforts to become leaders of technological development. This was initiated by Bulgaria. We are stating emphatically our desire to be an innovation hub in Southeastern Europe and a leader in the new wave of innovation, deep technology," she said.
Q: When does the agreement become effective and what will the first joint actions be?
A: The document has been effective even before the formal signing insofar as there is an established basis of cooperation in scientific development, joint projects in mechatronics and electronics, and the creation of a network of innovation valleys, which are a significant and different approach in the context of the New European Innovation Agenda. In this environment, cooperation and interaction with all stakeholders and an ecosystem approach are key to success. Through this agreement, we are showing that we can be specific, effective and fast in moving the agenda forward, and in presenting Bulgaria in a different way.
Q: Does the Memorandum have a financial framework?
A: There is no binding financial dimension. This is natural because it is a memorandum of understanding for cooperation. But it is significant enough because it outlines the priority areas for development. My Romanian colleague and I concurred that we are making history because, by signing such agreements, we are bringing this kind of interaction to the fore as a guiding principle. This will form a good basis for areas such as digital connectivity and interconnectivity and presenting Bulgaria and Romania as a good place for high-tech innovation. It will lead to improving the region's energy infrastructure and connectivity. It is an opportunity for us to be one of the centres where new solutions are offered quickly and are attractive to investors.
Q: Will Bulgaria and Romania become a second Silicon Valley?
A: I would say we can dream of becoming an innovation hub. The parallel with Silicon Valley is a good one insofar as it reflects the high goals we have set ourselves.
Q: Does the agreement envisage an exchange of staff to train and work in the IT sector?
A: This could be one of the dimensions. The memorandum is above all about interaction and exchange of best practices. Through the entrepreneurial ecosystem and through the investors in the region, we want to clearly state our position as a leader, an innovation hub and a regional leader. I think this will be acknowledged.
Q: You participated in the How to Web Conference in Bucharest today. What was your message to the audience and the numerous Bulgarians in it?
A: I sent a message that in Bulgaria, the Ministry of Innovation and Growth can be an absolutely equal partner of the most innovative and fast growing companies and technologies. Our approach is to work together and with the same start-up mindset as the companies which create and introduce innovations. We would like to support, through various actions and measures, the country's modern development. The very fact that we have a Ministry of Innovation and Growth which develops this kind of significant projects, gets involved here and recognizes these forms as significant is already a good step.