How Plovdiv became Bulgaria’s economic center

Over the past years Plovdiv became one of the largest industrial centers in Southeastern Europe.

Local authorities in the face of Municipality of Plovdiv actively work with the local business organizations to attract new investments.

“It’s not a coincidence. Plovdiv has been laying the groundwork in order to position itself on investors’ shortlist,” said Dr. Mitko Vassilev, the CEO of Bulgarian-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce.

The clsuter approach, the local business ecosystem and the public-private partnership transformed Plovdiv and TEZ into an attractive investment destination. It is this combination of factors that impressed the latest potential investor, who last week held a follow-up visit to the city.

“He saw how well we work together – the Bulgarian trade attachés abroad, the Bulgarian Investment Agency, ministries, the Municipality, the district authorities, the vocational high schools and universities, and the TEZ team that arranged meetings with CEOs of the biggest companies in Plovdiv,” said Plamen Panchev, CEO and founder of TEZ

The proximity to other investors makes Plovdiv the most popular destination for German companies, commented Mitko Vassilev. We have Bulgarian companies in this region, which are developing rapidly and are established suppliers to the big investors.

“One such example is Liebherr. When the company started its activity, they imported all components. However, nowadays, probably over 30% of the company’s subcontractors are Bulgarian companies in the region.” said Dr. Mitko Vassilev. He emphasizes that many factors contribute to such investment decisions. “One of the most important things is the infrastructure, because the connection with the highway is of great importance, for shipping,” he added.

TEZ offers various options for starting a business – to buy land and to build a factory or logistics, or to minimize the risk, by renting a built-to-suit and subsequently become its owner.

Over 200 companies work in TEZ, half of them foreign

Global leading companies such as ABB, Liebherr, Socotab, Schneider Electric, Schenker, Agri Bulgaria, Shell Gas, Hanon Systems, Sensata Technologies, WilliamHughes, Kaufland, Zobele, Mecalit, Sanmina, Tekno Aktas, MAN , Intrama, Suit, WilliElbe Gelenkwellen, SMC IndustrialAutomation all have factories or logisitic bases in Plovdiv. Present in the region is one of the most significant Bulgarian companies – KCM 2000, as well as local brands such as Bella Bulgaria, MAXCOM, Dimitar Madjarov, Biofresh, Refan, Ataro Klima, Andi, Agria – Bulgaria, Biomashinostroene, Interlink Group. The largest Bulgarian logistics company PIMK is also present in the city, as well as Milara International, where the first Bulgarian electric truck was designed and manufactured.

“Our aim is to attract high-tech companies, with high added value and good salaries, in order to raise the standard of living,” said Panchev.

“We have several new investors and many expanding productions. Companies are attracted due to fact that they can work with the ones that are already here. We have about 25 large multinational corporations, which are global leaders in their fields. And many contractors from different parts of the world are drawn to TEZ, due to the possibility to shorten the supply chain distance,” added Panchev.

“The local Bulgarian companies are establishing themselves as great suppliers, subcontractors and manufacturers of specific elements,” he stressed.

Qualified workforce

Over the last 10 years, TEZ has worked towards helping develop the local workforce.

They established the first in the country Center for Qualification and Re-qualification in the industrial zones. “Over the last 2 years, with the help of America for Bulgaria, we have been conducting practical training for junior- and senior-year students in 5 of the vocational high schools… ” said Panchev.

Plovdiv is one of the pioneers in dual education in Bulgaria and Southeast Europe – the city hоsts 50 dual classes in various fields, where nearly 1,000 high school students are trained. They are sponsored by over 30 companies operating in the region and are actively supported by the local Municipality.

Plans for the future – Carbon neutral industrial zones

4 years ago, experts from TEZ, together with a team from all over the world, developed an innovative, pioneer for the European Union stratefy – Carbon Neutral Industrial Park.

“Our goal is more ambitious than that of theEU. The TEZ-CNIP project envisages the use of 45% of green energy in 2025, 60%by2030 and 100% by 2040 in the industrial parks. “There are companies which already show significant success in achieving zero emissions,” said Panchev.

source:  money.bg – money.bg/business/kak-plovdiv

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