Dessislava Miteva: Business Ethics Crucial for Companies in Bulgaria

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | January 26, 2003, Sunday // 00:00
Dessislava Miteva: Business Ethics Crucial for Companies in Bulgaria

Ms. Dessislava Miteva is the new Executive Director of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum BBLF (www.bblf.bg), a business association bringing together more than 80 Bulgarian and international companies. She had been Deputy Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria for the past 3 years. After graduating with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications, and in Political Science and International Relations, from the American University in Bulgaria, Ms. Miteva had held the positions of commercial assistant at the US Embassy Commercial Service, of Project Manager and Deputy Director at the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria. She is married, with one son.

Ms. Miteva met Milena Hristova, Editor of the News and novinite.com

Q: How do you see your contribution to the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF) as its new Executive Director?

A: I am happy to join the Forum at a crucial moment for our organization. This year we celebrate out fifth anniversary and this is an important landmark in the life of the Forum.

I am lucky to inherit a very well structured organization with a lot of enthusiasm for work both on the part of the members and on the part of the office team. We have an ambitious agenda for the upcoming months, and I believe my ideas, experience and enthusiasm can be a positive contribution to the work of the Forum.

Q: The Forum board members recently launched the first Business Ethics Standard, adopted by over hundred Bulgarian companies. What does it take for Bulgarian and international companies to do business in a proper way in Bulgaria? How will the Business Ethics Standard help them change their attitude? What is the maximum number of companies that you expect to attract?

A: The Business Ethics Standard encourages companies to do legal, sustainable and highly responsible business. I am not saying that this is easy, but this is the only way to be successful in the long term. Big international corporations know that, as their shareholders, clients and employees become more and more demanding.

Our mission is to spread the principles of business ethics to a wider audience. That is what the Business Ethics Standard is all about. Many managers of different companies - big or small, still say they are too busy surviving to think about ethics. We want to convince them that they cannot survive in the long run if they do not comply with the rules of business ethics and social involvement.

How far we want to spread? Our realistic agenda for this year is to award the Business Ethics Standards to a couple of thousands of companies.

Q: How can Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum assist the government in creating a better business environment for international and local investors?

A: The government should be commended for searching the advice and support of the business community. I remember Nikolay Vassilev saying at a meeting with the some businesspeople that he expected them to draft and amend the laws. That is the only way to rule a market economy. Our members form a very high profile group of local and international investors and their know-how is of invaluable importance to the state administration.

We work closely with the Bulgarian government and the Prime Minister had stated his support for our mission on many occasions. The next meeting we organize for our members and partners is with Ms. Meglena Kuneva, Minister of European Affairs. It is a well-known fact that adopting the principles of corporate social responsibility is a necessary requirement for entering the EU.

Q: What should the government do in order to stimulate investments?

A: The best they can do is stay in power and keep up with the hard work. Investors are not happy with the overwhelming bureaucracy, with the widespread corruption and with the lack of transparency in many tenders.

There is still a lot of room for improvement in the marketing of Bulgaria as an investment destination. The image of our country abroad has improved tremendously in the past couple of years, but many investors still do not realize the potential for investment here.

Another very important issue is stimulating the investors we already have. Many times we manage to attract good strategic investors, and once we have their commitment to do business in Bulgaria, we leave them on their own. Eventually, we lose some of them.

Q: Which is the crucial factor for Bulgaria's sustainable economic and social development?

A: It is the long-term vision. Once we learn to look beyond tomorrow, we will realize the importance of our investment in sustainable and responsible development.

Q: Which is the distinctive feature that makes BBLF stand out among other business communities in the country?

A: The Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum is a group of people, who share the same business moral and speak the same language of success. They are all leaders in business and in society, strong personalities, and good managers. We value our members and take pride in them.

The fact that more and more companies are willing to commit to the principles of corporate social responsibility and join the Forum, makes me optimistic for the future of BBLF and of Bulgaria.

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