University of Economics – Varna

University of Economics – Varna: co-founder of Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port

Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port was set up at University of Economics – Varna at a special event held on the university premises and hosted by Prof. Evgeni Stanimirov, Rector of the University of Economics – Varna, in Oct 2022.

Maria Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, joined online while the other guests attended in person: Alexander Pulev, Bulgaria’s Minister of Innovation and Growth; Dr. Ilin Dimitrov, Bulgaria’s Minister of Tourism; Ivan Portnih, Mayor of Varna; Dr. Martin Vendel, Academy Director at EIT Urban Mobility; Milena Damyanova, Director of the Science Directorate at Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education and Culture; Mario Smarkov, Regional Governor of Varna; Prof. Dr. Klaus Seiler, CEO of the Strascheg Center for Entrepreneurship and Vice-Rector of Munich University of Applied Sciences; Milena Stoycheva, Executive Director of Junior Achievement – Bulgaria and co-founder of The Edge; representatives of the academia from all HEIs in Varna; business leaders, and startup entrepreneurs; regional public officials; and students.

Junior Achievement – Bulgaria and University of Economics – Varna initiated the establishment of Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port, which is Europe's second deep tech innovation valley, following the one in Salamanca, Spain.

Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port is part of the New European Innovation Agenda, introduced by the European Commission in July 2022. The New European Innovation Agenda aims to boost Europe’s entrepreneurial capacity and competitiveness by building a network of deep tech innovation centres throughout Europe.

Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port intends to make Varna far more attractive for deep tech innovation which will further enhance the social and economic development of the region, of Bulgaria and Europe through enhanced interaction of different stakeholders – the academia, business leaders, startups, youth organizations, local public offices, etc. Varna has competitive advantages that make this city the perfect technological innovation hub. Varna has a well-developed educational infrastructure as it hosts six universities and their research institutes; a range of high schools specialising in mathematics, science, economics, tourism, and languages. The city has a thriving entrepreneurial community with a number of networks collaborating with universities and businesses. There are NGOs that encourage entrepreneurship and innovation, and support startup projects. Technological businesses are committed to developing joint projects with universities to implement innovation. Internationally, Varna also boasts close cooperation with cities with well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Varna is an economically developed region of Bulgaria, with a growing tourism industry, manufacturing (Devnia) and agriculture. High-tech innovation is critical for the protection of regional natural resources and for the integration of a sustainable blue and green economy.

Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port has an an ecosystem of:

  • universities and their research institutes
  • large business organizations
  • central and local administrations
  • investment funds
  • high-tech companies
  • deep technological international ecosystems.

Businesses that support development through the sustainable implementation of technological innovation are at the core of this ecosystem.

Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port intends to generate multiple benefits for the entire local ecosystem, such as: talent management, new businesses, new resources (human, financial, information, etc.), innovation of practical value, economic and social sustainability, environmental protection, etc.

In his speech, Prof. Evgeni Stanimirov highlighted the importance of multidimensional changes that need to be ‘permanent, comprehensive, accelerating, meaningful’ and further elaborated on the value of this European deep tech innovation port.

The establishment of Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port is supported by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Rumen Radev. In his welcome address the President emphasized the strategic importance of this new deep-tech hub.

Following the formal event, Prof. Stanimirov introduced guests to the new space of Varna Deep Tech Innovation Port in the Student Street on the premises of University of Economics – Varna.

Later on, members of academia from all universities in Varna and from Munich University of Applied Science took part in a round table. This forum was also attended by people from tech companies, startups and other stakeholders. The round table moderator was Milena Stoycheva, Executive Director of Junior Achievement – Bulgaria.

18 Oct 2022