On 30th November 2017 the District Government Burgas organised its second local stakeholder group meeting. The meeting brought together representatives of local authorities, institutions of higher education and SMEs. The stakeholders learned about the current state of project implementation and the Good Practices of the partner regions. The experiences gathered during the study visit in the Region Twente provided a starting point for a discussion on ways to trigger cooperation between stakeholders in Burgas. The discussion gave floor for the exchange of opinions and ideas, which will support the elaboration of the local Action Plan. The ideas ranged from the need to improve cooperation between SMEs and research institutions to the need for better utilisation of available funding.
During the meeting special attention was given to the presentation of Good Practices for support of regional innovation in Burgas. Among others, all participants learned about the Information and Communication Technologies Cluster Burgas. The ICT Cluster is a first of its kind initiative of District Government Burgas, Burgas Free University “Prof. D-r Asen Zlatarov” University, municipalities, professional high schools and private enterprises from the region. It aims at fostering the development of cooperation between companies, public administrations and educational institutions in the field of information and communication technologies. Presently, the Cluster provides business consultations and economic information about the city and the region, supports the finding of appropriate financial sources for the start of a new business and organises trainings related to the development of entrepreneurial, business and management knowledge and skills. In doing so, it contributes to knowledge based growth and employment in the region.
For years now, the majority of economic, research and development activities in Burgas have been concentrated in urban areas resulting in uneven dynamics on the territory of the region. The urban-rural divide is particularly evident when it comes to the market positioning and innovation capacity of SMEs in the rural and peripheral parts of the region, which have often been left aside from policy discussions about stimulating innovation. In the framework of the RUMORE project activities, the District Government Burgas aims at addressing the existing urban-rural gap in innovation delivery by forging innovative partnerships among universities, industry and public authorities from different parts of the region.
The District Government Burgas has taken first actions into getting on board of the project an external support for the development of an Action Plan. This will include concrete proposals for projects and initiatives of regional importance and will be developed in close cooperation with the local stakeholder group. It is under discussion what possibilities exist to turn the project stakeholder group into a permanent working group to the Governor of District Burgas. If successful, this group could act as an advisory body during the regular updates of the Regional Development Strategy of Burgas Region.