FT: Bulgaria Strives to Become Tech Capital of Balkans
Bulgaria is striving to catch up with central Europe and its shift to innovative and creative industries, the Financial Times says in a recent story.
"A generation of westernised engineers and programmers with a global outlook now underpins the country's emergence as the technology capital of the Balkans," FT notes in its Investing in Central & Eastern Europe report.
The story cites an example of a project which allowed schoolchildren to sign up for "a year's worth of lessons convering any national curriculum subject" and which used funding from Launchub, a local accelerator backed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the EU's Jeremie tech start-up program.
It also reminds readers that "the nation's history as the former Soviet Union's IT hub has given it a head start," resulting in the presence of two generations of engineers with a strong R&D background.
FT notes that the IT sector skyrocketed, making up more than 3 percent of the country's output, compared with just 1% four years ago.
The country offers "higher-quality [people] and lower costs than elsewhere in Europe," Asparuh Koev, chief executive of award-winning startup Transmetrics, is quoted as saying.
The presence of venture capital, which only appeared this year, allowed for fast-growing start-ups to develop using cash rom private backers.
However, a "looming skill shortage" is a source of concern to some entrepreneurs, blaming universities for failing to teach "cutting edge skills" due to lack of resources.
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The "higher-quality [people] and lower costs .....are complete nonsense...!!! yes complete nonsense!!! the quality so far was maintained by people older than 45 years, which were educated and trained in the past at a significant cost... these people are become rare now.....in nearby future we will remain with lost of workers able to work only in call centers..the majority of these young people do not have a clue how this market place was gained... the shortage of personnel leads to demand for higher salaries.. which puts our competitiveness to the edge.
We badly need illegal immigrant with computer skills. (but no chance).. and we need students for our universities...But unfortunately mister Armen Harpazunian will ruin every young family that dare to produce kids so.... the young Bulgarians do not have kids or prefer to migrate to the west ... so out IT sector do not have bright future... basically the professionals in this business are struggling to maintain it.