The interaction between businesses and higher education institutions and the search for practical results that help shape the digital competence of the staff was one of the key themes of the meeting of the Managing Board of BIA held on 20 March 2019. The discussion on the topic included the Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev, the President of the General Assembly of the Technical University of Sofia Prof. Georgi Todorov, the President of the Rector’s Council in the Republic of Bulgaria and Rector of the University of Mining and Geology Prof. Lyuben Totev and the Rector of Technical University - Sofia Prof. Georgi Mihov.
The members of the Management Board of BIA appreciated the discussion on the necessary changes in the content of the education in the higher education system as extremely useful and supported the findings of the Rectors concerning the improvement of the management of the Bulgarian universities, the control over their activities and the necessity of changing the way of their funding, in line with European standards and practice.
Within the framework of the predetermined agenda, “Expectations of the Managing Board, Branch and Regional Associations and Enterprises, Members of the Bulgarian Industrial Association, to the candidates for Bulgarian representatives in the European Parliament (EP)” were adopted. The document stresses that, as a major representative supranational legislative body, the EP has a key role to play in the development of the European legal framework, the EU economy and the competitiveness of all Member States. Taking into account the current global challenges faced by the EU, as well as the need for an accelerated convergence of national productivity, income and living standards to the EU average, a rapid transition from the currency board to the ERM II and the Eurozone, the Managing Board of BIA the expressed the following basic expectations on behalf of the member branch and regional associations and enterprises to the candidates for Bulgarian representatives in the European Parliament:
- Ensuring competitive positions of European industry and the knowledge economy, large enterprises and small businesses in global markets;
- Favorable investment, tax and regulatory environment fostering innovation, new technologies and investment in human capital;
- Flexible labor relations and modern educational and professional standards in response to the digitization of the economy and deepening demographic problems;
- A balanced energy transition to the so-called low and carbon-free economy, based on an effective regulatory framework, innovative technologies, competitive markets and energy resource prices;
- Radical transformation of enterprises, supply chains and added value to the model of a circular, resource-saving economy;
- Ensuring transport and digital connectivity and massive investment on the periphery of the European transport network.
At today’s meeting, the Management Board of BIA accepted as a member of the Association one professional and three branch organizations, as well as six companies providing over 5500 jobs:
1. Japan Tobacco International Bulgaria. The company was established in 2005 and has as main activity the wholesale trade of tobacco and tobacco products. JTI Bulgaria distributes products from Camel, Winson, Sobranie, LD, More, Benson & Hedges and Old Holborn brands. JTI is a leading international tobacco company operating in over 120 countries. For five consecutive years, JTI Bulgaria is among the best employers in Bulgaria in AON Hewitt’s annual survey.
2. Danlex. The company was founded in 1996 and has as main activity the repair of electronic and optical appliances and apparatuses. At present, the number of employees in the company is 17.
3. HERE Europe B.V. – Bulgaria (branch of a foreign trader HERE Technologies). Founded in 2008, HERE Technologies is a global provider of card databases and localization products and services with over 30 years of industry experience. Altogether, more than 8,000 employees are hired in 56 countries. From 2015 HERE is part of a German consortium of AUDI, BMW and Daimler.
4. Tech-Co was founded in 1994 and has as main activity the import and trade of automobile parts, oils, lubricants for light and commercial vehicles, agricultural machinery and auto service. The company is one of the leaders on the Bulgarian market as a supplier of spare parts and oils. Tech-Co is an official distributor of over 150 world-class OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) in the automotive industry. Since 2006, Tech-Co is a full-fledged shareholder in Temot International, an international organization with long-standing traditions in commercial and service activities in the automotive sector.
5. Company for International Congresses. The company was established in 2003 and has as main activity the organization of events, tour operator and touring activity, professional congress organizer. The company also carries out PR, marketing research and other activities. The company is the first winner of the “EVENTEX” award in the “Organizer of the year” category for 2011.
6. Reisswolf Bulgaria was established in 2010, with main activity providing professional services to legal entities in the sphere of information management, physical archive management, digital archive management and digital services, confidential destruction of confidential documents and any information carriers. The company is part of the REISSWOLF Group - an organization with more than 25 years of experience and activity in 30 countries.
7. Union of accountants in Bulgaria - a non-governmental organization of physical and juridical persons who carry out activities in the fields of accounting, auditing, tax and financial consulting. UBB is the first NGO in Bulgaria, established in the beginning of 1990. The Association has branches in 25 Bulgarian cities and five new ones are in the process of being established.
8. Bulgarian Association for Business Software Development - established in 2018. The main goals of the association are to support the developers, distributors and users of business software in carrying out their activities and to protect their rights and interests. BARBS has set as its main objective the promotion of fair competition among its members, as well as assistance in raising their professional qualification and awareness, incl. and business partners and business software users.
9. Bulgarian Association of Clubs - established in 2018. The main goals of the Association are to support the development of the trade activities of the members, to protect and support common trade and business interests, to impose the principles of loyal and ethical trade activity. The members of the association are some of the biggest food and entertainment establishments.
10. Interactive Advertising Bureau Bulgaria (IAB Bulgaria). The Association was established in 2009 and is a licensed representative of IAB for Bulgaria, with the main goals of supporting the growth and development of the digital environment and business in Bulgaria, increasing the share of interactive marketing and advertising. IAB is the largest global association of media and technology companies responsible for digital business.
According to the latest amendments to the BIA Statute of December 2018, the Board of Management has adopted as honorary members of BIA:
1. Fil Filipov
Fil Filipov is the president of Terex Lifting, which is part of the Terex Corporation with a capital of $ 1 billion. He was born in Strelcha. In the 1960s, at the age of 17, fleeing Bulgaria, going through a refugee camp in Greece, and then emigrating to the United States.
In 1966 Filipov began work as a sweeper in the International Harvestar Lifting Company. Gradually he rose and in 1979 was sent to the company's office in Paris. 10 years later he leaves and starts his own business - he buys companies in a bad state and heals them with brutal discipline. His specialty is the revival of losing enterprises. He has worked successfully in France, the UK, Germany, Italy and the United States, using untraditional and original approaches. He has recovered over 30 enterprises and the latter is Atlas in Germany, which later became the owner of the Tatra Motor Company (Czech Republic).
2. Shefket Chapadjiev
Shefket Chapadjiev (nickname Chap) is an American businessman, multimillionaire and philanthropist. He is known as the richest Bulgarian emigrant abroad. Owner of one of the largest printing companies in the US.
He bought his first factory in 1976 and made his first million during the sixth year of the establishment of his business. Today Chaddjiev owns properties in Chicago, New York, Florida, Ecuador, including hotels and many apartments in the most expensive areas of the United States. He owns shares in companies in the fields of energy, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and air transport.
He owns an award of the International Organization for Migration for Contribution to Bulgaria.
3. Ignat Kaneff
Ignat Kaneff is Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria in Canada. Well-known to the Bulgarian public with its charity, entrepreneurial spirit and merit internationally.
He was born on 6 October 1926 in Gorno Ablanovo, Bulgaria. In 1951 he emigrated to Canada with almost no money, no knowledge of English, and no ties or friends there. He settled in Toronto and started working in the construction business. Originally, he built small houses for newly arrived immigrants. Five years later, in 1956, he founded his first construction company. During his career as a building contractor, he built thousands of houses, many public buildings, and high-end golf facilities.
Kaneff makes grants primarily for health and educational purposes and to promote the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. With his donations a cultural home is being built in the village of Gorno Ablanovo, three units are being built and renovated in the Rousse hospital. He also helps excellent students with scholarships.
4. Dimitar Alexiev
Dimitar Aleksiev Dimitrov is Managing Director for Europe at Heineken International in 2016, where he is responsible for companies in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and EU exports.
Dimitar Alexiev began his career at Heineken in 1995 as General Manager of Heineken Bulgaria. In 2005 he became director of Heineken Slovakia and continued his career as director of Heineken Russia. In 2013, he was appointed CEO for Central Europe. Chairman of the Supervisory Board of "Lasco Brewery" from November 2015 and member of the Supervisory Board from November 2015. His nomination for an honorary member of the Bulgarian Industrial Association - Union of the Bulgarian Business, is supported by the Union of Brewers in Bulgaria.
5. Jean-Marie Standaert
Jean-Marie Standaerd is a Belgian citizen who was a permanent delegate of BIA to BusinessEurope and a representative of BIA in Brussels for 11 years (from 2006 to 2017). From 1998 to 2006, Jean-Marie Standaerd, as a representative of the International Labor Organization, assisted and provided resources for a number of projects and meetings in Bulgaria. Thanks to his efforts, our country hosted a number of foreign visits to employers from other European countries and participated in numerous activities in support of Bulgarian employers. Jean-Marie Standaerd was a factor in popularizing the name and image of BIA among European institutions and employers' organizations in Europe.