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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