A working meeting in Troyan, held on January 9, 2020, initiated the activities of the project “CReative Actions For Tailoring Smes' COmpetitive DEvelopment” (CRAFTS CODE) in Bulgaria. The Museum of Folk Crafts and Applied Arts (MFCAS) welcomed stakeholders and the team into its hall dedicated to the donors of the museum. A representative of the Ministry of Economy, General Directorate "European Funds for Competitiveness" also participated in the event, organized by the Regional Association of the Municipalities (RAM) “Central Stara Planina”.  

The official part of the meeting included welcoming speech to the participants from Eleonora Avdzhieva – Director of MFCAS, and Donka Mihailova – Mayor of the Municipality of Troyan, and the operative part follows the pre-known agenda.

Mariela Petrova – Executive Director of RAM “Central Stara Planina” and Project manager of CRAFTS CODE, briefly presented the projects and initiatives in support of the craft sector, in which the association participated, and provided the participants with information materials and products. Of particular interest was the 3-volume edition of good practices, developed by the INNOCRAFTS project with a leading partner, the Municipality of Florence.

The Municipality of Florence is also a leading partner of the CRAFTS CODE project. From the following presentations, the participants in the opening meeting of the project became aware of the other partners, its goals, phases, topics, the policy instruments that will be impacted and the expected results. The attendees also got acquainted with the specific requirements that the identified local initiatives must meet in order to be presented as good practice from Bulgaria to the European partners from Italy, Hungary, Belgium, Ireland, Finland and Spain.  

The ensuing discussion with the active participation of all attendees covered various aspects of the current state of the crafts sector and the forthcoming collaboration. The challenges to the financing of micro, small and medium-sized craft enterprises from the Operational Program “Innovation and Competitiveness” and the quality of craft products offered on the Bulgarian market were also commented on.

At the end of the event, the hosts of the Crafts Museum showed video footage taken in the field by museum curators in 2019, in which technological innovations in the production and decoration of ceramic vessels made an impression.  

Before the closing of the working meeting, it was decided that the next one will be held in the town of Elena, on 5th of February. The participants will need to reach common agreement on the initiative, which can be cited as good practice on “How to improve innovation applied to business models and process?”.