Not becoming Sofia seems to be the main goal that Plovdiv should strive for in the next few years. The second largest city center in Bulgaria is in a phase in which so far only the capital has been – to experience the problems of rapid growth.
“Plovdiv has reversed its destiny and the transformation that has taken place in the region, thanks to entrepreneurs and businesses. We have brand new problems for the city, but they are good – for the growing and developing city and region,” said Deputy Mayor Stefan Stoyanov.
The rapid growth in the manufacturing sector has made it almost impossible to access trained people, which is why companies are stealing staff – a normal process in the presence of competition that raises wages. There is already a good example of the Trakia Tech training center, which is funded by companies in the area, but according to Ivan Bondokov of the industrial marketing company Limacon, the business has other things to do – for example, to fight for the attention of the younger generation. “Companies need to work together to promote the term ‘engineer’ and what it means,” Bondokov said, citing how the IT industry is attracting staff.
“We were attracted by the dynamic labor market, the presence of an industrial zone, there are similar companies with specialists we are looking for. There is a separate infrastructure, regulations – it is relatively easier here than elsewhere. Possible synergies with other companies are very important “, explained Kalin Georgiev, CEO of Kimcoop, who entered Plovdiv in 2021.
The main thing Plovdiv can differ in is the way it handles mobility. We are thinking about how to work more actively with the neighboring municipalities in order to populat the region evenly, said Deputy Mayor Stefan Stoyanov. Plovdiv has the unique opportunity to be located in a flat area, with a large periphery of towns and villages, which should be used for alternative mobility.
The regions are in desperate need of a functioning government and parliament. The state is centralized and the tools of the mayors are limited, meaning that without central government many projects cannot happen, the Deputy Mayor summarized. He gave an example with the three major projects for which Plovdiv awaits central support: the city U-bahn, the ring road and the repair of the water supply.
“We still don’t have not completed the Ring Road. 600,000 registered and 100,000 unregistered people live 30 minutes from the city. We don’t have alternative public transport, we rely only on buses. And 90% of the water is pumped – before the rise in electricity prices, the bills were a million leva per month “, pointed out Stoyanov, according to whom with an annual budget of BGN 30-40 million for investments such a city cannot cope with its problems.