Тhe 25th of April 2017 marks the 37th anniversary of the establishment of the Bulgarian Industrial Association.
We would like to congratulate all of our members and partners, as well as all of the experts who have dedicated their professionalism for the development and validation of the BIA as one of the leading partners of the government on the establishment of economic policy, maintaining its political party non-commitment and leaded only by the principles of nationally responsible behavior, competence and propriety.
On 25 April 1980 representatives of the biggest Bulgarian enterprises established the Bulgarian Industrial Economic Association (BIEA), later on renamed to Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA).
BIEA was the first non-governmental business organization in the former socialist camp – a facilitator of the market relations in Bulgaria. Even in a time of planned economy and strong political pressure, BIEA succeeded in establishing some market principles which were modern for its time and are still regarded as such today.
BIEA set up the first Venture Capital Fund in Bulgaria and the first Commercial Bank, Economic Initiatives Bank PLC, by means of which it funded the establishment of over 600 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A great number of them have been functioning successfully ever since.
An important part of BIEA’s activity was the establishment of technological parks in the sphere of technological transfer with the Technical Universities in Sofia and Varna.
The Association’s inventive ideas and activities aroused interest not only in Bulgaria but also abroad.
At the democratic changes onset in Bulgaria the transition from planned to market economy inevitably assigned BIA a new role in the Bulgarian industry development. BIA took an active part in the regulation stipulation concerning the business, assisted the privatization process and the foundation of market principles in the Bulgarian economy.
The Bulgarian Industrial Association has played a crucial role in the establishment of social dialogue between employers and trade unions, as well as the development of social partnership in the country. Collective bargaining has been implemented at sector and company level with the assistance and active participation of BIA.
Another accomplishment of the Association in the development of the present-day Bulgarian economy is the foundation of the Stock Market in Bulgaria and the Court of Arbitration as an institution to facilitate a fast settlement of economic disputes. BIA set up one of the first health and social security funds, as well as the first leasing company in Bulgaria, Interlease Inc.
In the new century the BIA continues to work for the development and stabilization of the economic environment. It has also enhanced its international activity, especially in the frames of the European social dialogue as the only business organization which is a member of BUSINESSEUROPE, a confederate-like European business organization, thus representing the Bulgarian companies and employers’ interests at a European level.
BIA facilitated Bulgaria’s accession to the EU by setting up an EU-Bulgaria Joined Consultative Committee and functioned as a co-chair on the Bulgarian part for as long as two mandates.
BIA is very active in drafting the economic policy in Bulgaria, developing and enhancing the socio-economic policy regulation, and conducting analyses, research and experts’ evaluations in the sphere of industrial, tax, and social policy, industrial relations, environmental protection, goods technical requirements, SMEs development etc.
The Association continues to play an active part in the social dialogue system at national and international level where it upholds the Bulgarian business’ interests for regulation and administrative changes. The sector organizations which are members of BIA are parties in almost all collective labour agreements. BIA works actively in solving economic problems by provoking public discussions on topical issues and offering constructive possible solutions. BIA was the first to pay attention to the informal economy issue, the severe inter-company indebtedness, the breach of market principles in setting electricity prices etc. The expert opinions, proposals and positions of BIA on topical economic issues have been part and parcel from the most important discussions in the country.
BIA is the only business organization which is a member of BUSINESSEUROPE, a confederate-like European business organization, thus representing the Bulgarian companies and employers’ interests at a European level. Furthermore, it actively participates in the work of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organisation of Employers (IOE), the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the South East European Employers’ Forum (SEEEF). BIA has signed cooperation agreements with over 70 national business and employers’ organizations from countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.