Digital Directions from Bulgaria: Sasha Bezuhanova

We are living in a time of the fourth industrial revolution where global digital connectedness and the development of technology are driving a rapid transformational disruption across every sector of the economy and in society. By 2022, over 60% of global GDP will be digitized, as the International Data Corporation (IDC) forecasts.

An estimated 70% of the new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally-enabled platforms. There is a clear trend in the usage of digital native IT environments. Cloud deployments incorporate edge computing increasingly while AI (artificial intelligence) emerges as the new UI (user interface). Digital trust systems based on blockchain technology become the new smart ground for operating supply chains and securing the loyalty of customers.

The competitiveness of countries, regions, and businesses in the world of tomorrow depends on the ability to secure an environment for the development and fast adoption of innovation in the market. It is not a coincidence that the European Commission plans to invest an unprecedented amount of budget – EUR 100B in support of the innovative research and businesses via the upcoming program Horizon Europe.

Another clear trend – the digital business community across the world engages closer than ever in searching for solutions for current global challenges such as climate change, closing the digital gap, transformation of healthcare, food, and education sectors. Moreover, social innovation becomes part of the agenda of businesses and leadership. Bulgarian digital innovators are developing advanced tech and business solutions in line with the big trends in the global economy. The InnovationShip 2019 survey proves the next level of maturity of the Bulgarian startup ecosystem and reaffirms the role of Bulgaria as a key center of gravity for innovation in the region.

Those positive dynamics can be further strengthened if public authorities create a special policy in supporting infrastructure for startups and SMEs. Modernization of the university programs in line with the technological and societal development trends can expand the potential of the innovators of tomorrow significantly. The study confirms those needs.

The globalized world gives a chance for countries to play a greater role on the world economic landscape than their political borders formally assume, by creating a facilitating environment where innovative companies could grow to mature businesses locally and operate on a global basis. Bulgarian startups carry the technological capacity and topical engagement to drive the change of the economic portrait of Bulgaria and to position it as one of the key hubs for innovation in Europe and the world.

The InnovationShip 2019 survey proves this.