Experts of Sofia Tech Park explore Korean strategies to promote start-ups and their internationalization

14 March 2019

The next stage of the Sofia Tech Park project “Collaboration for internationalization of Bulgarian and Korean SMEs” took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, this February 24 to March 2, 2019. The project is funded by the Korean government through its Knowledge Sharing Program to acquire good practices for supporting SMEs.

During the visit, representatives of Sofia Tech Park JSC, Bulgarian local consultants of the project, experts from the Ministry of Economy, the Operational Program for Innovation and Competitiveness 2014-2020 and the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency had the opportunity to learn deep and explore policies and strategies for encouraging start-ups and their rush to global markets.

The delegation was led by Todor Mladenov CEO of Sofia Tech Park JSC. Teodor Sedlarski – Member of the Supervisory Board of STP, Natanail Stefanov – Member of the Executive Board of STP, Paola Petkova – Associate Ecosystem Manager at Department of Business development of STP, Zhecho Zhechev – Chief Expert at SME Policy Department, Economic Policy Directorate of Ministry of Economy, Kalin Marinov – Deputy director of Operational Program “Innovation and Competitiveness” 2014-2020, Boyko Takov – CEO of Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency and the Bulgarian consultants of the project – Anna-Marie Vilamovska – Managing Director of the Bulgarian IT Outsourcing association, and Zornitsa Yordanova – Chief Assistant Professor of Industrial business at University of National and World Economy, participated in the delegation.

Sofia Tech Park in collaboration with Korean Development Institute expanded the scope of the project and exchanged conceptual ideas during a number of visits to local Korean governmental organizations, venture capital funds, ministries and industrial parks, supporting SMEs in development of IT, bio and nano technologies and automotive industry. The following institutions have been visited:

– Small & medium Business Corporation (SBC) & SBC Training Institute ;

PanGyo Techno Valley;

Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency ;

Korea Small Business Research Institute;

Ministry of Korean SMEs and Startups ;

– Korea Technology and Information Promotion Agency for SMEs;

Korea International Trade Association;

Korea Venture Investment Corporation;

Those institutions are excellent examples of working tools for the development and internationalization of SMEs. During the meetings the current state of the start-up ecosystem in both countries has been analyzed. The participants of the project received first-hand experience for different policies and strategies both locally and internationally by relevant government agencies and organizations. This will help to launch collaboration between Korean and Bulgarian agencies, institutions and companies. Four main sub-topics were discussed and explored during the visit:

– The role of the government for the potential of the Bulgarian SMEs;

– Policies and strategies for GVC entry of Bulgarian SMEs;

– Strengthening Technical Capacity for internationalization of Bulgarian SMEs;

– elaborating vocational education system and trainings to the Bulgarian SMEs.

The next activitiy of the project that will follow is official presentation of the final report by the Korean-Bulgarian joint research team led by Prof. Jongil Kim from Dongguk University, Prof. Chae-Un Lim from Sogang University, Prof. Jaemin Park from Konkuk University and Prof. JiHyun Shim from Sookmyung Women’s University. This study aims to analyze and evaluate the potential for internationalization and entry of Bulgarian SMEs into the GVC in line with the Bulgarian economic reality.

During the final session of the project, in April 2019, Korean experts will visit Sofia Tech Park for the final in-depth study and will have the opportunity to meet with various partner institutions, organizations and stakeholders involved into policies for funding and supporting SMEs and which are working in the field of promotion and improvement of the entrepreneurial environment and the results of international activities of SMEs.

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