Following his participation in the Sustainable Manufacturing panel of the AmCham CEE: Future of Investing online conference, November 10th, Ivan Mihaylov, Director of the Visteon Technical Center in Bulgaria and Romania and Chairman of the Automotive Cluster in Bulgaria had an interview on BNR, November 17th, 2020.
Some of the main topics were related with Covid-19 and how it affects on the new investments in Bulgaria and what are the changes in the labor market.
“In the conditions of Covid-19, companies will look for another level of innovation and digitalization not only as a form of communication, but also as processes – digitalization of businesses and productions. We have traditions in the IT field and in the automotive industry and this should be our impetus for development. At this stage there is a place for new investors in the competitive environment of Bulgaria. Of course, the right conditions for business development and the right tax policy are important.”, said Ivan Mihaylov.
According to the Director of the Visteon Technical Center, times are uncertain, but when it comes to high technology, the pandemic has created more opportunities. In general, the IT sector is not so affected and we are witnessing the effect of expanding. Many companies in it, as the automotive industry and other high value-added industries, are planning to expand their production and offer various additional activities. Some companies wants to expand their activities in Bulgaria, because the environment implies great flexibility. The labor market is enlarged, unlike 2019, when we experienced some difficulties. The outlook for 2021 shows a trend of retention in some businesses and expansion of others.
Although he still does not consider it as a trend, Mihaylov notice that there is an increasing in the number of Bulgarians who have chosen to return to Bulgaria and to continue their professional development from here.
“There are a number of reasons for this tendency as the pandemic situation in global plan, as well as the online environment that allows work from anywhere. Access to staff is now more flexible and the companies acquire the attitude that their employees can work from different places, which is a positive thing.”
Аnother important topic that was discussed in the interview was related with the Nearshoring initiative.
“An initiative aimed at overcoming the difficulties created by the crisis in securing supplies and the labor market could be the Nearshoring initiative. This is a key project between 14 bilateral chambers in Bulgaria, incl. AmCham Bulgaria with the Ministry of Economy and the Bulgarian Investment Agency. ”- shared Ivan Mihaylov.
Мain focus of the initiative are two mega-sectors Mechatronics and Chemical Industry. The first includes companies from the automotive industry, the automation and robotics sectors, as well as R&D and ICT companies. The second involves companies in the biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Another important aspect is the transatlantic effect on the labor market and investment. This will be very good impetus to improve the overall climate not only in terms of investment, but also about the business environment and standards.
Ivan Mihaylov emphasized on the last question regarding the type of investments that have the greatest potential for development of the Bulgarian market:
“Along with the automotive and IT industry, Bulgaria needs to deepen its development in areas such as biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry, where there is serious potential for successful investment. During the next programming period of the Multiannual Financial Framework / 2021-2027 /, the EU allocates targeted funds for investments in these areas. That is why it is important for our country not to miss this chance, but to make the most of it.