Interview to Automotive Cluster Bulgaria

We interviewed Miglena Miteva, Project and event manager at Automotive Cluster Bulgaria (ACB).

1.    What is your role in the EACN project?

The main role of ACB is to work for long-term cooperation and business development strategy of the network. One of the main objectives of the Project is to make the EACN network a stable alliance where clusters can collaborate and cooperate through teamwork and problem-solving, as well as identifying opportunities and communication between the various regions of Europe.

We will secure transparency of the Partnership’s long-term goals, strategy, and cooperation processes in order to provide efficient negotiations with other clusters interested in participating in the EACN Partnership and other Partnerships, as well as thematic networks interested in cooperating with the EACN Partnership.

2.    One of your tasks is to prepare an SMEs feedback report. What is the aim of this document and how will you get this information?

ACB has already prepared a survey in order to collect information feedback. The survey will collect information about the barriers to innovation, skills, cooperation and investment, added value of the Partnership in industrial change processes.

Each Project Partner will distribute the survey among the cluster companies that took part in the project and ACB will summarize the answers from the questionnaire and prepare an integrated report about the results. This information is very important for the evaluation of the Project and to improve the efficiency of the collaboration.

3.    The experience acquired during the project could also be of great value for policy players. In this sense, how do you plan to cooperate with regional authorities?

The cooperation with regional authorities is very important for us. The Project Partners will prepare a Policy Brief on the lessons learned from the cooperation activities and submit them to policy makers.

The brief will include recommendations with regard to improving interregional collaboration (both B2B and CSC activities), cover issues related to barriers to innovation, skills, cooperation and investment and the results of the survey among the companies. Each Partner will discuss with its regional authorities the Policy Brief during an online meeting in order to reach an agreement about possible cooperation areas between the Partnership and the involved regional authorities. After collecting all comments and recommendations we will send the final document to the involved authorities and distribute it to our members and partners.

4.    Although the EACN project ends in January next year, the consortium partners are committed to keep on supporting companies in their industrial modernisation process in the future. Can you explain how you are preparing for this long-term cooperation?

EACN has been initiated in 2017 on a basis of mutual cooperation with the aim to launch exchanges and joint actions.

During the last 9 months, our partnership has largely changed and major, sometimes unexpected, achievements have been realized, such as e.g.:

  • The partnership grew from 9 initial clusters to 21 European and international clusters today
  • A joint vision for the European Automotive Industry has been developed and published
  • EACN and its members are regular discussion partners for the European Commission, presenting EACN point of views in events and webinars, and main European automotive associations and initiatives are looking for discussion and cooperation.
  • EACN was invited to participate in a High Level Round Table organized by the European Commissioners Thierry Breton (Internal market) and Nicolas Schmitt (Jobs and Social Rights), and supports the Jobs4Skills initiative as Automotive part of the European Pact for Skills.
  • EACN clusters and their members are participating in events organised by other clusters
  • Discussions concerning potential cooperation with a Mexican automotive cluster network (10 clusters) are ongoing.

With this in mind, it is now time to think about the future of EACN after the end of the ongoing COSME funded Project. ACB in close cooperation with all partners from the broad consortium is preparing Partnership Agenda 2020+.  The Partnership will decide upon a stable coordination structure that will allow to continue the work after the project, especially for what concerns feeding of the project pipeline with new projects, monitoring of the indicators, identifying potential resources of financing and cooperation with regional authorities in the S3 policies. The Partnership will define clear cooperation processes including: communication modes and tools, problem solving and decision making procedures.

5.    Regarding the EACN Partnership, this network is opened for other automotive clusters to join. Why would you recommend them to become a member?

The EACN network with 21 European and international clusters is a great opportunity to create new contacts and exchange best practices from Europe and beyond. Every cluster member can use the trust between the clusters when looking for new partners abroad.

At the same time the collaboration in a metacluster can enable contacts with solution providers and deliver expert support in the process of the industrial modernisation.

Miteva bn.jpg