The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) offers diversified services to its members and it is open to any other interested companies. During its welcoming speech the President Tsvetan Simeonov explained to the representatives of the SKILLS+ project, who had chosen Sofia for their kick-off meeting, any company no matter whether it has currently a company seat in Bulgaria or abroad, may address and ask BCCI for support. While basic research and first information is provided free of charge, companies later only have to pay for the services they actually wish to be carried out. This service-orientation has led to a very good reputation, a base of more than 53,000 voluntary members and 28 regional chambers of commerce throughout the country. For BCCI, the demand for support among companies wishing to explore digital tools and services has grown significantly over the past few years.
EU public funding programmes and related policies are however often not flexible enough, often imposing additional tasks rather than targeted support. To address this challenge especially in view of small companies operating in the rural areas where broadband access is only slowly been arriving, SKILLS+ partners will first host a series of capacity building workshops where good practices are presented and debated. Following further learning interactions, proposal for policy improvements for each country or region participating in SKILLS+ will be produced.
During the Sofia kick-off meeting, representatives of twelve partners representing national or regional public administrations, universities and regional development agencies exchanged their previous experiences, got to know each other and planned how the mutual learning process in the first phase of the SKILLS+ project will be rolled out. Furthermore, key principles for the management of an INTERREG EUROPE project were exchanged and project structures established.