The main focus was the preparation of an online survey to investigate companies’ needs for development and implementation of innovations.

Representatives of companies, Gabrovo District Administration, Technical University of Gabrovo, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and project team, participated in the workshop. The Executive Director of „Industry Watch Bulgaria“ also took part of the event. He shared his experience as a strategic consultant of one of the strongest economic clusters in Bulgaria – Trakia Economic Zone in Plovdiv. Mr. Stoev recommended to the stakeholders’ group how to make a successful survey in companies and he also presented good examples of cooperation between business, science and local government regarding preparation of efficient educational programs and provision of qualified personal as per the needs of the economic zone.

The stakeholders’ group decided the survey to be done in all manufacturing companies and in ICT companies within the territory of Gabrovo municipality, which have innovative potential, but not enough capacity. The survey should be ready and send to the companies with the support of Chamber of Commerce and Industry till the end of April. The stakeholders have to suggest other key experts, who will support the work of the group till the middle of March.

During the workshop the idea for development of online platform of Gabrovian business has been also discussed. The platform will be used as a marketing tool for dissemination of ideas for innovations between companies and experts, who provide services and technology transfer. This will give opportunities of the participants to join their innovation practices and experiences. An important aspect is how to define the mission of the platform and to continue working on „Gabrovo“ brand, which will guarantee the regional competitiveness and economic growth.
The final version of the online survey will be approved during the next stakeholders’ workshop in March. Then the stakeholder will continue to work together on the business platform development as a communication tool of the new SMEs’ support System.