Photo: Ministry of Economy
“A major challenge for Europe is creating conditions that enable more entrepreneurs to create new businesses and jobs, develop new skills and enter new markets”,
Bulgarian Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov stated at the launch of the youth entrepreneurship conference "Follow Your Ideas - Become an Entrepreneur".
The conference was dedicated to youth entrepreneurship, education and studies in entrepreneurship, and the opportunities and prospects for generating new ideas and supporting the self-realisation of young people in Europe. The conference presented the most successful European programmes, tools and best practices for promotion and support, as well as the challenges for young entrepreneurs in the European Union.
During the three working sessions, the participants discussed the administrative and informational support for new companies, the need to facilitate the transfer and consolidation of businesses at risk of bankruptcy, as well as the supportive role of entrepreneur organisations, of the "business angels" and of venture capital funds as an integral part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Minister Karanikolov also emphasised that one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency is the development of entrepreneurship among young people, as it will have a decisive role in maintaining innovative and competitive economies. He also considered a number of key directions, in which it will be necessary to continue working on the future policies to support youth entrepreneurship. One of them is failure as a way of gaining experience.
"More than 40 % of the young population in the European Union prefer to be self-employed rather than hired as employees. However, only 4.1 % of them succeeded to be self-employed in 2016, and this was one third of the proportion of all self-employed aged 15-64,"
said Minister Karanikolov.
Deputy Economy Minister Lachezar Borissov added that over the past five years, about 2,000 start-up businesses have been created in Bulgaria. This figure is expected to be doubled in 2018, thanks to the measures taken by the state. Out of all the companies in which investment funds have been invested, more than half still exist and around 40 % have received further funding.
"At present, there are about 10 active investment funds in Bulgaria and another 5 are expected to be created in 2018 to invest in companies in different stages of development,"
said Deputy Minister Borissov. He pointed out that the promotion of start-up businesses in the European Union helps young talents, and support for them guarantees high levels of added value.
The conference was also attended by Eva Maydell, MEP and Member of European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, as well as Slavomir Tokarsky, Director of Innovations and Industry at the European Commission's Directorate General Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). The event was realised with the support of the Ministry of Economy and the European Commission.