Plovdiv has long established itself as a leading industrial center in the country with over 74,000 employees in manufacturing, which contributes to 40% of local GDP. The share of the number of jobs in the mechatronics and automotive sectors in the region is 23.6%, which puts it in first place in the country, even ahead of the wider region of Sofia (Sofia-city, Sofia region and Pernik). According to the latest data from Capital: “half of the new employment is created in the wider region of [Plovdiv] and Pazardzhik”.
The reasons for this are many, and one of the most prominent being the developed educational network (8 universities and 29 vocational high schools, as well as over 75 vocational schools), which prepares young people in technical specialties – beginning in high school, where dual education is well-represented. It is gaining more and more popularity in recent years, with over 460 students in 24 classes funded directly by 31 companies in the region (data for 2019/2020).
The presence of the Trakia Economic Zone (TEZ) on the territory of the region – the first successful example of public-private partnership in the country, is one of the leading factors for the sustainable and rapid development of the city under the hills. Since the establishment of TEZ, more than 180 international and Bulgarian companies have been involved in the district, many of which operate at the international level. The amount of investment capital exceeds 2 billion euros.
Adrian Nikolov, IME analyst, told Capital that: “Plovdiv has become the biggest magnet for foreign investment in industry …”. According to the edition of Capital “Cities” (2020), dedicated to Plovdiv, the city and the region have reached a stage in their development in which the selection of investors can be more precise and consistent with their profiles and characteristics, incl. the specific talent pool and competitive pay in individual sectors. All of this leads to the creation of a narrower specialization in manufacturing, as Georgi Stoev, Chairman of Trakia Tech, notes: “the focus of specialization in the city can be the more technological manufacturing.”
Another impetus in the development of industry in the region will be the project for the construction of “Carbon Neutral Industrial Parks”, the conceptual beginning of which was set by TEZ. It will contribute to the creation of a more attractive environment for investment and transformation of the local economy in line with European and global trends in the field. The already built and well-functioning ecosystem, the partnership of the municipalities of the region with TEZ, as well as the increasing specialization and profiling of the region are a stable prerequisite for its continued rapid and sustainable development and successful positioning in national and international context.
This article contains materials from Capital publications