Can Bulgaria’s economy catch the digital wave and converge with its European peers, or even leapfrog and lead in some sectors? How can the country leverage its dynamic startup ecosystem to scale up innovative and digital firms? What is the role of the early stage risk finance sector? What are the challenges facing Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises and sectors in their transformation into the digital space, especially during the pandemic? What role for public policy, regulatory as well as investments, especially as the country prepares for the next programming period with the European Commission?
The World Bank country office in Bulgaria in partnership with the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency, the Bulgarian Startup Association and the Bulgarian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association is organizing a virtual webinar to discuss these pressing questions under the framework of the recently launched report - Europe 4.0: Addressing the Digital Dilemma.
Europe 4.0 is about embracing new digital technologies associated with Industry 4.0 in ways that contribute to Europe’s triple imperative of economic competitiveness, market inclusion, and geographic convergence, while also being aligned with its social values. A coherent set of policies that strengthens competitiveness in technologies where the potential for inclusion and convergence is strongest, while broadening access to opportunities in technologies that otherwise concentrate benefits, is needed to address this digital dilemma for Europe 4.0.
Policy reforms and investments can help new digital technologies achieve Bulgaria’s objectives of improved productivity, innovativeness, and convergence. This is even more important during the outbreak recovery period.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of the data economy - and raised the risks if the digital dilemma is not addressed. Evidence from the World Bank Business Pulse Survey shows that Bulgarian companies that have embraced digital technologies are better able to cope with the disruptions posed by the pandemic. How can Bulgaria accelerate digital adoption among its firms remains to be a key challenge for this coming period.