United Against COVID-19 Relief Fund is the AmCham Bulgaria Project of the Year

United Against COVID-19 Fund was awarded Project of the Year 2020 by the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria. It happened at the Annual Meeting of the chamber and its members with the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Herro Mustafa yesterday. The event welcomed 100+ C-level representatives of member companies in person at the Ball Room of the Grand Hotel Millennium, Sofia.

In the presence of Ambassador Mustafa and Olivier Marquette, AmCham President, individual trophies received three of the companies that had contributed the most to the Fund. A stylish tombstone with the new AmCham Bulgaria logo were given to Dora Strezova, Country Manager of Coca-Cola Bulgaria, Desislava Taliokova, Executive Director, America for Bulgaria Foundation and Krassimir Nenov, Executive Director, ContourGlobal Maritsa East 3.

The Winning Project – United Against COVID-19 Fund

Between April and May 2020, the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum, the America for Bulgaria Foundation, the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria and AmCham implemented the United Against COVID-19 Relief Project. The total volume of financial resources in the Fund amounted to BGN 1,006,475, donated by a total of 40 donors – companies, foundations, and individual ones. It provided financial support to the most vulnerable groups across the country affected by the coronavirus crisis.

In this period the organizers received 693 project proposals for funding, and 112 were supported reaching app. 700,000 people across Bulgaria.

With this special award the Board would like to express sincere gratitude to those three companies that have contributed the most in sourcing the UNITED Against COVID-19 Fund. As per our calculation 80% of the total amount was donated by AmCham members and individuals that work for member-companies.

AmChampions in Categories

SME Category Winner

The winner in the SME Category is HR Consulting Partners. The award was presented by George Alexandrov, Board Member and Chair of the Research, Innovation & Startups Committee to Yoanna Yordanova, Managing Partner.

HR Consulting Partners is established in 2017 and they focus on their clients’ needs with services such as Recruitment and Employer branding, Payroll and HR Administration, Coaching, Wellness Programs, etc. HRCP joined the Chamber in 2020 and ever since has been one of chamber`s most devoted policy makers having their managing partner Ms. Zlatina Kushkieva as a long-standing co-chair of the HR then and Human Capital and Education Committee now (holding various executive positions in other members’ teams).

The other two nominees are the American University in Bulgaria and Boyanov & Co Law Firm.

The American University in Bulgaria has been an AmCham member since 1994. For 2020 AUBG has been an active participant in events and committees’ meetings, as well as in all our communication channels. 

Boyanov and Co Law Firm is established in 1990 and their membership is dating back to 2001. Associates of the firm helped a lot during the discussions in the Digital Sustainability Forum, which served as a basis for crafting of the AmCham proposal for the National AI Strategy (2020).

Corporate Category Winner

The winner in the Corporate Category is Penkov, Markov & Partners. The award was given by Olivier Marquette, President of AmCham Bulgaria, and Co-Chair of the Energy and Mineral Resources Committee to Nikolay Cvetanov, Managing Partner of the firm.

Ever since its establishment in 1990, Penkov, Markov & Partners (PMP) is one of Bulgaria’s leading law firms, providing the highest quality legal advice and representation.  Since 1996 PMP has been the Bulgarian member of LEX MUNDI, the world’s leading association of independent law firms. This allows them to provide legal support to clients world-wide. PMP has been a member of the Chamber since 2007. They have a huge contribution to policy making, Chamber events, and committee meetings in 2020 alone.

The other two nominees are Colliers International Bulgaria and Hilton Sofia.

Colliers International is our member since 1995. It is a global leader in commercial real estate services operating out of more than 502 offices in 67 countries. It has been a regular participant in the chamber’s events and has contributed to our communication channels especially with reports & analyses.

Hilton Sofia offers comfortably furnished rooms equipped with the most modern amenities, as well as meeting facilities for up to 350 people. Hilton Sofia is a member since 2019. Тhey have been involved in position papers, have participated in chamber’s events and has regular publications.

Large Corporate Category Winner

The winner in the Large Corporate Category is AES Bulgaria. The award was given by Tony McMurray, Board Member, to Ivan Tzankov, Executive Director, AES Bulgaria.

AES is the biggest investor in Bulgaria over the last 20 years. It contributes to the stabilization of the energy system and enhances the energy independence of the country through its diversified portfolio. With an estimated investment of nearly EUR 1,3 bn, the 600 MW AES Galabovo TPP is the largest and most modern power plant in Southeast Europe.

Being a member since 2000, AES Bulgaria has been heavily engaged with all Chamber’s activities, including events, committee meetings, and communication channels. The company has been very active in the Energy and Mineral Resources Committee, having a co-chair position.

The other two nominees were IBM Bulgaria and Merck Sharp & Dohme Bulgaria.

IBM Bulgaria, member since 1994, is today much more than a “hardware, software, services” company. It is now emerging as a cognitive solutions and cloud platform company. The company has been active in the Chamber’s policy making, events, and committee meetings. In addition, they had co-chair positions in the HR and Education Committee (then) and the Digital Committee with Iva Todorova being active in both.

For more than a century, Merck Sharp & Dohme Bulgaria (MSD) has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for the world’s most challenging diseases. It has been a member since 1995. The company has been involved in policy making and has actively participated in the chamber events and committee meetings, and especially in the work of the Healthcare Committee, where they had a co-chair – Kostas Papagiannis and a Working Group Lead – Sava Todorov.

Announcing the All-Round Contribution Award

Ernst & Young Bulgaria is the winner of the All-Round Contribution Award for 2020, being the most active member in almost all criteria indicators.

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services. Their purpose is to build a better working world through the insights and quality services they provide. Being a member since 2003, the company has been a contributor to all Chamber’s activities.

Solely in 2020 they have been involved in position papers, have participated in events and committee meetings, and have published news and analyses in the Chamber communication channels. In addition, they have been seriously engaged with the Tax Committee chairing it for a long period of time.

The award was presented by Olivier Marquette to Nikolay Garnev, Managing Partner, EY Bulgaria.

Gallery from the awarding ceremony is available HERE.

About The AmChampion Awards

The idea to acknowledge the most active members that contributed the most for the joint success of AmCham Bulgaria was rooted back in 2019, when the chamber introduced its upgraded benefits for its members. The initial plan was that Awards were to be given during the 25th Anniversary of the Chamber, scheduled to be celebrated in 2020. Due to COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed several times. The Annual Meeting with the U.S. Ambassador was the best occasion to distinguish members in such high-profile event.

The goals of the awards include recognition of the most active and engaged members for the past year. Also, being a community award and gathering – it focuses attention to those that contributed the most to the initiatives of the chamber. The awards, as per criteria, express gratitude to all.

Moreover, they bring to the attention of the members that our platform has a variety of activities that bring value to our community. It is worth mentioning that such an acknowledgement develops the AmCham identity and increases membership satisfaction.


The AmCham team developed a set of criteria based on the local experience as well as sources best practices across AmChams in Europe. They include a wild range of indicators that are fact- and evidence-based. Also, they have different weight which when summed-up result in a member’s final score.

Among the criteria are content which includes work on advocacy cases, drafting position (policy) papers, if a member has an active committee lead, or their experts were speakers at chamber’s events or at committees’ meetings. Financial Contribution is valued but it doesn’t get the highest weight in order to stimulate member to be active in person and with shared knowledge. Participation at activities such as events and committees is another indicator. Last in this set comes communication channels publications (reports &analyses, member offers and news).

The “tombstones” represent the new logo of AmCham Bulgaria that was introduced in early 2020, when the NRG Brands project won the internal voting. The trophies were produced by Smarkethink Agency and will come part of the “walls of fame” of all winners.

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