By promoting innovation, creating favorable conditions for start-ups and investing in research and development, growth can be achieved and the competitiveness of the economy can be increased. This was stated by the Minister of Innovation and Growth Milena Stoycheva at a meeting with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Croatia Marko Primorac, the State Secretary Stipe Župan and the head of the Office for International Legal Affairs and Bilateral Cooperation Sanja Shpehar. The meeting was also attended by the Ambassador of Bulgaria to the Republic of Croatia H.E. Iva Kruleva and the head of the Office for Trade and Economic Affairs Mirela Taseva.

Stoycheva and Primorac discussed the possibilities of attracting investments in the high-tech sector in Bulgaria and Croatia. Minister Stoycheva presented the methodology under the Investment Promotion Law for providing free state aid to Bulgarian and foreign investors, which the Ministry of Innovation and Growth developed in partnership with the Ministry of Finance. The two ministers also discussed the development of the IT sector in Bulgaria, as well as the role of scientific developments and innovations in attracting investors. Stoycheva also stated that the Ministry of Innovation and Growth and the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization of Romania signed a Memorandum of Cooperation, and currently hard work is being done to establish partnerships with Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro.

Minister Stoycheva pointed out that the Ministry of Innovation and Growth is working to turn Bulgaria into an innovation hub for Southeast Europe and the region into a center for innovation. “Our goal is to create sustainable partnerships with the countries of the region to attract talent, build smart specialization and technological capacity. The goal is to turn South-Eastern Europe into a center for technological innovation,” said the Minister of Innovation and Growth. Stoycheva emphasized that cooperation should be based on the thematic areas for intelligent specialization – IT and ICT, mechatronics and microelectronics, biotechnology and clean technologies, which are emerging as leaders in the region.

For his part, Finance Minister Primorac emphasized the excellent cooperation between the two countries. He presented the successful initiative of the European Investment Fund (EIF), Croatia and Slovenia to create a joint Technology Transfer Fund. Minister Stoycheva said that the Ministry of Innovation and Growth will initiate the creation of a similar fund between EIF, Bulgaria and Romania. The goal is for the four countries to join efforts in turning the initiative into a regional one in the future.

Later in the day, Stoycheva met with representatives of the innovative Croatian car manufacturing company Rimac, to whom she presented the investment opportunities in Bulgaria. The minister visited the research and development center of the manufacturer of sports electric cars and energy storage systems. The company offers complete digital technologies and solutions to global manufacturers in the sector.

Minister Stoycheva also held a meeting with the leadership of the Faculty of Economics at the University of Zagreb, where the promotion of the science-business relationship and the European South-Eastern Innovation Hub were discussed.