Burgas is undoubtedly about to become the new “silicon valley” of the attractive IT centers
Petko Georgiev is the initiator and manager of Cluster “Information and Communication Technologies – Bourgas”. He has been working in the field of information technology for nearly 10 years, he is a young entrepreneur, a municipal councilor and a public figure. Part of the successful initiatives of the Cluster are providing free training students, attracting the largest companies in the branch in Burgas and creating modern business and conference conditions in the region. His dream is to turn Burgas into an attractive IT center with the help of his partners and colleagues.
At the moment, Petko and his team from INSYS are creating an innovative internet platform ITO.bg, which will provide to unemployed young people up to 29 years of age from Burgas and the region with remote work in the IT sector in Germany. With Petko Georgiev we are talking about modern technologies, the business in the digital era and the human potential in Burgas:
– In Burgas we rarely see initiatives and active search for opportunities from businesses and non-government organizations. We are used to hear about more municipal and state projects. What motivates you to realize your innovative projects?
– There is lots of energy and initiative in Burgas. Even if we don’t see it on the surface every day, in my conversations with the colleagues and young people of the city – I understant how each of them has different ideas for business, for social initiatives that are useful for the community, as well as their own personal and career development. This has motivated me a lot over the years and we strive with the help of private business, as well as state and European funding programs to offer attractive conditions and opportunities for these people.
And of course, when you strongly want something – it happens. In addition to our partnership initiatives with the Burgas Enterpreneurship and Academic Community, I will mention only two projects, which we are realizing this year:
– Creation and enforcing of ITO.bg – one exceptional work portal, which connects young Bulgarian IT specialists with german companies and gives them the opportunity of safe and very intuitive way of work from Bulgaria for them. We are realizing the project together with “Project Media Group”, which is based in Germany and it is financed by Operational Programme “Human Resources Development”, Procedure BG05M9OP001-4.001 „Transnational And Danube Partnerships For Employment And Growth“.
– The other project, which is scheduled to start very soon, is also funded by European funds and will motivate and train young Bulgarians from the Southeastern region (Burgas, Sliven, Yambol and Stara Zagora) about how they can create and develop their own business in the information and communication technologies sector.
– We are used to recognizing Burgas as the second largest sea town, as a birthplace of writers, actors and poets, as well as one of the best places to live in Bulgaria, according to media charts. How did you decide that the city is suited to the IT business?
– Burgas is much more! Yes, in most people’s minds, we are everything listed by you – But I have been living in the city for over 30 years, and I have been working actively for almost 15 years, my professional path is very close to information and communication technologies. I can say from first person that the people in Burgas are active, they are looking for opportunities for successful work and business, they do not stop learning and increasing their skills. And in this connection, the IT business is one of the best opportunities offered by the modern day for realization.
In Burgas we have all the necessary prerequisites and factors to attract the attention of Bulgarian and foreign companies, especially in the information and communication sector, and we are doing it. We only need to show them our strong sides, as well as convince the companies that we have a unique advantage here – the synergy and the joint work between the municipal administration, the city people, the educational institutions and the business. ICT Cluster – Burgas is the connection between them and the innovative tool for the achievment success.
The decision to place the region of Burgas as an attractive IT business center on the map of Bulgaria and the region is not spontaneous but is a result of many years of work, experience, communication and effort. I am sincerely convinced that our goal is achievable – and you can see that this is happening.
– The Cluster you created is a young organization. Do you have the potential to convince the business to work in Burgas?
– We began realizing most of our ideas before we registered the Cluster. So – we are not so young. Of course, when we have our organization – we are much more serious and we are much more convincing in our good intentions.
In order not to be baseless, I will tell you some of the things that will happen in the next few years in Burgas:
We will create a lab for talents and a resource center, which should meet the needs of the business, we will give special attention to attracting the IT and outsourcing sector in the city, we will expand the potential of already attracted IT companies in Burgas, which aren’t few. In September, the high school of computer programming and innovation will be opened, we will create a professional network of working professionals, students and companies interested in work and business in Burgas. We will devise shared workspaces where startups work in a common environment. Again during the period 07-09 September in Burgas will be held a global conference and exhibition “Startup Planet”. The Global Innovation Conference is organized by the Foundation for Digitalization and Implementation of New Technologies (DINT) with the support of Burgas Municipality and ICT Cluster Burgas.”Startup Planet” has the ambition to become the biggest innovative conference in the region, attracting high-level delegates, consisting of enterpreneurs, venture funds, individual investors, founders of huge companies, executive directors, technology gurus and other officials.
The conference will look at successful examples of how innovative ecosystems are built, how to stimulate innovation between companies, cities and countries.How to speed up entrepreneurship, technological processes and their impact.
On the 28th and 29th of May, ICT Cluster Bourgas is sponsoring of Hakathan “Digital City and I”, organized by Burgas Free University, under the patronage of Commissioner for Digital Economy and Digital Society, Ms. Maria Gabriel.
With all this, I hope that we will be able to turn Burgas into one of the main centers for development of information and communication technologies of national and international significance and scale.
There are certainly many more things we want to achieve, but that’s a good start, is not it?
– It is very motivating and rewarding to talk to you. What is your cause?
– My cause and dream is Burgas to be the city where young people are educated about the modern technologies and processes and to have the best professional realization for their skills and knowledge. I have worked with a lot of young professionals and students and I can say that it energizes me and motivates me to realize my goals. It would be very difficult if you do not have a team of adherents. I am happy that I have one. Only this month our cluster team is working on several extremely interesting and innovative projects that give a modern look to our city. Quite soon these projects will be a fact and we can boast and be proud of them. I hope that we will be able to find financing and to realize the project “BUSINESS HUB BURGAS”, which we presented as a concept last year. This is a great idea of the Public Council for IT and Outsourcing and the Municipality of Burgas.
– You are also an active municipal councilor, does it help or interfere with your work?
–I am convinced that without taking part in the management of the city – you can not influence its development, so I joined the successful GERB team in local politics. And where I’m most useful – IT sector development, education, and international investment. I try to hear every good opinion and idea, no matter where it comes from or which party it is.
With the creation of Cluster “Information and Communication Technologies – Bourgas” in 2016, we quickly succeeded in attracting the support of opinion leaders in Burgas. And to start partnerships with the IT business in Bulgaria looking for expansion opportunities in the east.
And of course, active social activity hinders mainly the private life and the opportunity to spend enough time and attention on your loved ones. But they understand and support me.
– With what will you convince our readers that you are not just a dreamer? And that the realization of your ideas is on a firm footing?
– Burgas is undoubtedly on its way to become the new “silicon valley” of the attractive IT centers in Bulgaria and the region. That would never be possible without the constant efforts of my colleagues in the Cluster, the Municipal Council and the young people in Burgas. There is a man, however, without whose support we would be still at the beginning of the realization of our ideas – and that is the mayor of Burgas Dimitar Nikolov. Exclusive visionary and statesman, he managed to inspire us to believe that our dream is possible and that Burgas could become the Bulgarian IT capital.
With the common efforts of the citizens of Burgas – everything is possible. And representatives of the IT business see a serious partner in our face with who to overcome the challenges ahead.