Global senior-level speakers will provide a unique setting in this conference edition, through keynotes and discussions. It is going to be exciting and educational. Each parallel session will be set to highlight the specifics of the topic, as well as to challenge and engage the audience.
President of the Republic of Bulgaria
2012 – 2017
Rosen Plevneliev - President of the Republic of Bulgaria 2012 – 2017. Born on 14 May 1964. Graduated Technical University in Sofia, specializing computer science. Until 2009 Plevneliev is a successful entrepreneur. Implemented more than 80 construction projects in Germany. Plevneliev entered politics in 2009 serving as a minister of regional development and public works. He was elected President of the Republic of Bulgaria in November 2011. Plevneliev initiated the National Development Program Bulgaria 2020 and the Bulgaria 2030 debate. He set long-term national priorities such as innovations, e-government, e-voting, ambitious modernization program, connectivity, vocational education system, long-term public planning, energy efficiency, liberalization and diversification. He established and is the patron of the first innovation ecosystem and the first hi-tech park in Bulgaria and on the Balkans – Sofia Tech Park. Plevneliev is patron of hi-tech industries such as Information and Communication Technologies, outsourcing and automotive. He was presented the Person of the Year 2015 award of Ukraine for his public and political activity in a European and international context. He was awarded Friend of Zion Award as a great friend of Israel and for the courage of the Bulgarian people who bravely and courageously saved 48,000 Bulgarian Jews during World War II. He was awarded IT Award for significant contribution to IT development by the Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT). He was awarded the special WEBIT Festival prize for his outstanding contribution to the development of the digital economy in Bulgaria. Honorable Chairman of the FOZ Museum in Israel. Member of Nizami Ganjavi International Center in Baku. Member of the Trilateral Commission. Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Distinguished Professor for the Emerging Markets Institute of Beijing Normal University Distinguished Professor of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University
TCI Treasurer 2012-2015
Alberto is member of the Board of Directors of TCI Network since 2003 serving first as Secretary, President (2009-2011) and currently as Treasurer. As main professional activity, Alberto is Director of Clusters Unit at ACCIÓ - Government of Catalonia. Alberto has close to 20 years of experience in cluster, competitiveness reinforcement projects and regional development initiatives acquired working both for private consultancy firms and for the public sector. He is the author of different publications on cluster policy and practice and in 2010 he co-authored the book Cluster and Competitiveness: the case of Catalonia (1993-2010). He is also regularly invited as key note speaker in international fora. He is member of the Faculty of the European Foundation for Cluster Excellence and he has collaborated as guest speaker with leading business schools and universities like IESE (Barcelona), l'Ecole Nationale d’Administration – ENA, as well as with international organizations like UNIDO and the World Bank. Alberto is also actively involved in different cluster policy think-tanks and advisory groups at European level. In particular, he has been part of TACTICS reflection group during the past three years and he is currently member of the European Forum for Clusters in Emerging Industries (EFCEI). He holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the University of Bologna, a Master in Law, Economics and Policy of the EU from the European College of Parma and a Postgraduate Diploma in Economic History and Institutions from the Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona.
European Commission, DG GROWTH
Head of Unit for Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship within DG GROWTH
Ulla Engelmann is Head of Unit for Clusters, Social Economy and Entrepreneurship within DG GROWTH, the Directorate General being responsible for Internal market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, at the European Commission since March 2017. Previously, she worked at the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the in-house science service of European Commission, for many years in different functions. She started in the JRC in Ispra (Italy) in 1993 as a post-doc in fusion research, and moved on to manage various units (communication, international relations, and others) in Ispra and Brussels. Dr. Engelmann holds a PhD in analytical and radiochemistry completed at the National Research Centre in Karlsruhe.
CEO, Cluster Navigators Ltd
Ifor is acknowledged as one of the most influential cluster practitioners in the world, with hands-on experience extending to over 50 countries. Ifor’s focus is on the practicalities of cluster development, leading training and strategy workshops with economic development agencies, cluster groups and support organisations. Ifor is a frequent conference speaker on competitiveness, clusters, smart specialisations, innovation and regional development. Ifor has been an advisor to The World Bank, EU, OECD, UNDP, international aid agencies and national & regional economic development agencies on six continents. Ifor is a Founder, Past President and Member of the Board of Advisors of TCI Network (Barcelona), the leading global network of organisations and practitioners with expertise in clusters and competitiveness. He has served on the Advisory Boards of the Danish Cluster Academy, European Cluster Observatory, Indian Institute for Competitiveness, the Pan African Competitiveness Council and Sintonia, Mexico. Ifor is the author of the ‘Cluster Development Handbook’, the first comprehensive guide to the What? the Why? and the How? of cluster engagement. Prior to establishing Cluster Navigators in 1997, Ifor was with New Zealand’s export development agency, encouraging SMEs to cooperate-to-compete through networking and clustering. Ifor is originally Welsh and lived in Canada before making New Zealand home.
Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy
Secretary of Smart Specialisation Unit
Dr. Peter Wostner is the head of the Smart Specialisaton Unit responsible for policy coordination of innovation related activities within the Slovenian Government. Dr. Wostner is an expert on development and competitiveness policies, EU budget and EU Cohesion Policy were he has been, for last 15 years, directly involved in the EU budget and regulatory negotiations as well as setting up of the programming framework and implementation arrangements, including design of (RTDI, competitiveness and HR) policy instruments and in setting up of Slovenian clusters, the Strategic Research and Innovation Partnerships. He is a lecturer, moderator and also author of number of articles, especially as regards EU budget and development policy. Dr. Wostner is the chairman of the OECD’s Working Party on Rural Policy and Vice-Chair of the Regional Development Policy Committee. Proposed topics to be addressed at the TCI conference address: 1. Presentation of how Smart specialisation strategy with its setting of priorities and related governance structure, which in is built on the bottom-up / top-down coordinated quadrouple helix type of clusters, transformed and gave boost to Slovenian competitiveness. Special emphasis to be given on the presentation of the dedicated but comprehensive policy framework and internationalisation activities performed jointly through clusters. 2. Drawing lessons for the whole Eastern Europe region, what is different in non-frontier regions and countries and what measures need to be taken to accommodate for those differences, especially as regards weaker institutional capacity. 3. Putting all this in the bigger picture of global (value chain) transformations, the next production revolution and presenting the challenges and opportunities that those bring to Eastern European region, and indeed, to all non-central and rural regions globally. In this part particular reference to the work of the OECD would be given.
Industrial Cluster Srednogorie
Nikolay Minkov is an executive director of Industrial Cluster Srednogorie (ICS, https://srednogorie.eu/en/) – the largest cluster in Bulgaria, creating over 6% of the GDP and 15% of the national export over the non-Ferro metals value chain. ICS is an alliance of engineering and logistics, energy and mining companies like Air Luquide, Asarel Medet, Aurubis Bulgaria, DB Schenker, Dundee Precious Metals, Ellatzite Med, Geotechmin, Siemens, five technological universities, ten municipalities and several innovative SMEs at the region of Srednogorie. Mr Minkov spent a decade as a R&D engineer and assistant professor in process industries automation at Sofia Tech University. Later he was a head of Concessions Department at the Council of Ministers. He moved to the private business, where his consulting experience covers enterprise assets and energy management, utilities reengineering, energy market liberalization as well as public affairs, working with companies like Aurubis, Amylum, BOOZ, EON, Heidelberg Cement, Honeywell, Rio Tinto, Severn Trent Water, etc. Mr Minkov has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Moscow Power Engineering Institute, Russia. He passed postgraduate trainings in the UK, Ireland, Japan, Cyprus and Greece.
Chairman of Managing Board
Entrepreneur, Business Angel, Mentor in field of ICT, Cluster theory and practice evangelist Networking: 2014 – Initiator and current Chairman of Balkan and Black Sea ICT Clusters Network – 18 cluster organizations from 12 countries 2014 – Co-Founder of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs and Member of DNA management Board, Bulgaria - http://digitalalliance.bg/ 2013 – Board member of European Software Institute Central East Europe - www.esicenter.bg 2012 – Co-Founder and board member of Bulgarian Association of Business Clusters - http://www.abclusters.org/ 2006 – Co-Founder and Chairman of Managing Board of ‘ Cluster for Information and Communication Technologies’ – www.ictcluster.bg Private Business: 2015 – Member of Managing Board, of Sirma Group Holding – http://www.sirma.com 2003 – Co-founder and Executive Director of SmartCom Group (SmartCom Bulgaria, SmartCom Turkey, SmartCom UK, SmartLab) – carrier class Telecom System Integrator, Designer and Manufacturer of professional telecom solutions - http://www.smartcom.bg EC level: 2013 – 2016 Vice Chairman of General Assembly of European Telecommunications Standards Institute - http://www.etsi.org/ 2014 – Expert in H2020 - SME / FTI / Invest Horizon programs Investment: 2000 - Angel investor: in early VoIP operator in Bulgaria; early Internet Services Providers; in the first Call center with distributed/remote working agents; in “The Smart Sports Performance Tracking System”; Mentor in Eleven Accelerator - http://11.me ;
IQ Kecskemet Industria Research
Spanish Federation of Innovative Business Groups and Clusters
Antonio Novo is a graduate psychologist by training and a technologist by profession. Artificial Intelligence is currently the area that receives his maximum interest. As a specialist in Technological Innovation, he have been ICT Director in companies of the automotive sectors (AlliedSignal Safety Restraint Systems, Fagor Ederlan Borja) and food (La Bella Easo). Since 2010, he has been Managing Director of the IDiA Cluster, occupying the position of President of Clusters.es, the Spanish Federation of Innovative Business Groups and Clusters for the past five years.
Bulgarian Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (BFIEC)
Executive Director, Member BoM
Konstantin Delisivkov is executive director and member of the BoM of the Bulgarian Federation of Industrial Energy Consumers (BFIEC). BFIEC is representing the interest of the energy intensive industries in Bulgaria. Konstantin Delisivkov was Deputy Minister of Energy of the Republic of Bulgaria in the Caretaker Government in 2017. He was responsible for Bulgarian energy strategies and policies, international cooperation and infrastructure projects and security of supply and crisis management. He has held senior management positions in the energy sector as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bulgarian Energy Holding EAD and Chairman of the Board of Directors of National Electricity Company EAD. Konstantin Delisivkov is Phd candidate and invited lecturer at the Industrial management department of the Faculty of Economics at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. In 2014 Konstantin Delisivkov was laureate of the 10th Annual Economist Award "Dr. Ilko Eskenazi - Bulgaria and the European Union" of the International Foundation "St. St. Cyril and Methodius". He is holding dual diploma Master of Science in European Law from the Central European University, Nancy, France and Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria. Konstantin Delisivkov is Master of Science in International Business and Energy Management in the Oil and Gas Sector from the Nord University, Bodo, Norway and Moscow State Institute of International Relations(MGIMO).
Warsaw School of Economics
Dr Anna Masłoń-Oracz (PhD) is a political scientist, economist and an expert in the area of EU foreign policy, with particular focus on the global trade policy and transatlantic relations (EU, US, Africa). She is a business oriented researcher who did analysis on how clusters influence regional development competitiveness from smart specialisation perspective. She is also involved in international projects in many countries in Africa concerning women empowerment, development of SME’s and regional innovation system to enhance the role and importance of regional innovation systems (RIS) in economic development and growth which has attracted considerable attention in recent years. She’s also senior manager for over 12 years with extensive experience in global organisation in managing various areas of business operations in Poland/CEE/Africa region and partnering with business stakeholders on all business related initiatives. She’s vice-President of Polish European Community Study Association (belonging to an international network of ECSA-World), vice-President of OKAPI - African Association and a member of the International Women’s Forum. Completed postgraduate studies in Human Resources Management (University of Warsaw), with a master’s degree in the field of International Relations (University of Warsaw). Holder of PRINCE 2 Certificate. Former Chairman of Supervisory Board of Centrum Edukacji S.A. and a President of the Management Board of Technology and Industrial Park S.A. (with its majority of shares owned by the PKN ORLEN SA the biggest petroleum company in Europe). She is a lecturer at Warsaw University and at Warsaw School of Economics. She has an experience in launching and managing entrepreneurial education programs within an academic institution such as Warsaw School of Economics (Warsaw School of Economics Rector’s 1st degree award for involvement in EUINTEGRATO project within 7th Framework Programme) as well as experience in grant funding management or technology investment in a university or accelerator environment.
Founder and CEO
Iva Matasic is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Consulio, Inc., Zagreb, Croatia and Palo Alto, California, and is a founding member of the global e-learning Think Tank 'Company of Thought.' With more than 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, Iva networks with clients and colleagues worldwide. Currently, she advises spin-off companies as well as leadership in strategic planning, business development, product commercialization, market evaluations, new market expansion, business partner collaboration, and driving global sustainable growth. She advised more then 50 spin-off companies and helped them open new markets, or apply to accelerators and incubators, like 1871. in Chicago USA. Projects were done also with corporate sector, R&D institutes, and universities. Some of them are Autodesk; Metropolitan Bank USA; Institute Ruđer Bošković Croatia; Luxembourg Institute of Technology; DePaul University Chicago USA; Founder Institute and many others. In 2014. she participated in implementation of Grand Coalition for digital jobs in Balkan region. She works closely with DG Enterprise and industry, some of the activities were participating and advising in making: Report on Talent for Europe – proposal for a European high-tech leadership skills agenda for 2020. Her involvement is very often connected with women entrepreneurship projects connected to Balkan region and building entrepreneurship ecosystem. She is advising, networking and connecting projects with policy makers and stakeholders who are in auto and IT clusters of countries in the Balkan region (Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Romania, Bulgaria). This resulted co-organising of auto industry conference: https://www.seeautomotive.com/; where is focus on connecting auto, IT and 3D industry.
Cluster Excellence Denmark
TCI Director 2016-2019
Master in political science. National expert on education, innovation, regional development and clusters having over 20 years of experience within the field at strategic, analytic and policy level both nationally and internationally. Certified ECSA benchmark expert gold, silver and bronze. Since 2005 manager of her own consultancy Analysekompagniet and since 2009 in charge of the national support function for Danish clusters - Cluster Excellence Denmark. Member of the TCI Board of Directors since 2016.
TCI Director 2015-2018
With near 20 years of international trade experience, industry representation and collaborative projects development, Mr. Dugré has been working in the transport equipment industry since 2005, passing from Executive Director Manager to Vice President of Operations at the Quebec Ground Transportation Cluster. Active participant to TCI activities since 2006 with participation to TCI Global Conferences in Lyon, Portland, Jyvaskyla, San Sebastian and Monterrey, Mr. Dugré also passed twice the evaluation benchmarking process of the European Secretary for Cluster Analysis (ESCA) entitling the bronze certification label for Cluster Management Excellence. With a multidisciplinary training after biochemistry studies conducted at UQTR followed by technical training in international trade and administration, Mr. Dugré is able to put forward various solutions addressing complex problems and collaborative issues.
National Cluster Association CZ
Pavla Bruskova has been involved in the cluster concept development in the Czech Republic since its beginning in 2002. She gave rise to the first Czech cluster organisation in the engineering sector in 2003; took part in the preparation of the National Cluster Strategy; carried out mapping and facilitation of several cluster organisations. In 2006-2010 she managed the ClusterNet regional initiative while in the position of the CEO of the Regional Development Agency Ostrava. She established the National Cluster Association in the Czech Rep. and became its first president in March 2010. She is an experienced cluster practitioner and consultant.
Institute of Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge Moscow
Head of Cluster Policy Unit
Education and Degrees 2012 Candidate of Sciences* (PhD) in Economics and National Economy Management RF Ministry of Economic Development and RAS Council on Productive Forces 2006 Diploma in Corporate management Plekhanov Russian Academy of Economics * Candidate of Sciences According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, Candidate of Sciences belongs to ISCED level 8 - "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar. Candidate of Sciences allows its holders to reach the level of the Associate Professor. Awards and Accomplishments Best Teacher – 2012 Young Faculty Support Program (Group of Young Academic Professionals) Category "New Researchers" (2013-2014)
Institute of Design Innovation, Glasgow School of Art
TCI Director 2016-2019
Madeline Smith is Head of Strategy in the Institute of Design Innovation (InDI) at the Glasgow School of Art, specialising in strategy and evaluation for clusters, innovation and complex collaborations. She has a strong interest in innovation, the role that collaboration can play, and how evaluation needs to evolve to capture the wider value of innovation approaches and behavioural change. She has been involved in the development and delivery of a broad portfolio of programmes bringing design approaches to build the innovative capacity of businesses, public sector organisations and communities. She was elected to be a member of the TCI Board of Directors in September 2013, and is leading their Evaluation Working Group on sharing and developing new approaches to evaluation. She also runs a small consultancy specialising in innovation and industry cluster development. A chartered engineer, Madeline brings previous experience from management positions in the public and private sectors with a focus on innovation. She has led strategic policy on innovation for regional development in Scottish Enterprise, as well as large scale improvement programmes in private sector manufacturing environments. Madeline holds a Master of Enterprise from Napier University and Master of Engineering from the University of Nottingham.
TCI Director 2014-2017
Director of the Cluster House, non-governmental and non-for-profit business development organization for cluster-based economic development with the biggest platform for clusters collaboration in the Balkan and Black Sea Region, based in Serbia. PhD in economics science from University of Nis Serbia, scientific area: Application of mathematical methods in cluster development projects. Specialized in the field of local economic development at ITC/ILO Torino, Italy (2009) and sustainable cluster development in countries in transition at the Danish Programme LEDIB (2007/12) Long-time cooperation with economic development programs in the Balkans supported by international organizations. Training, coaching and mentoring expertise in the following area: project management; strategic management; entrepreneurship & start up business; economic development based on cluster concept and business incubation; corporative culture; event management, CRM and TQM. Leading author of the “Cluster House Model for economic development in the Balkans” primarily based on cluster-based cross border cooperation programmes and internationalisation of the clusters cooperation. Since 2012 initiator and coordinator of the "Balkan & Black Sea Cluster Network". Since 2010 author, project manager and co-chairman of the Balkan and Black Sea conference “Days of Clusters“. Author and editor of the "INFOCLUSTER" journal in the Balkan and Black Sea Region. The first president of the Council of Clusters of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2011-2015). Since 2014 director of the Global TCI Network BoD Barcelona Spain responsible for cluster-based economic development in the SE Europe. National award “Success flower 2012 for the most successful women entrepreneurs in Serbia” for special contribution to women entrepreneurship affirmation in South Eastern Serbia by Serbian Business Women Association. Prestige national award “Captain Misa Anastasijevic“ for special contribution to entrepreneurship, cluster initiation and networking in Serbia and in the Balkans, by MEDIAINVENT supported by Novi Sad University and Serbian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Novi Sad (April 2016)
General Directorate “European Funds for Competitiveness”
Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria
Kalin became part of the GD “European Funds for Competitiveness” at the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Bulgaria in March 2015. The unit is Managing Authority of OP “Innovation and Competitiveness” implemented under the European Regional Development Fund with a total budget of EUR 1.3 bln which is the major instrument dedicated to the Bulgarian businesses in the Programing Period 2014-2020. Under his direct responsibilities are programing, monitoring, financial management and verification of the expenditures. Further developed his professional background in the management of financial engineering instruments implemented with public finance. Representing the Ministry of Economy at the Supervisory Board of the Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria and at the Investment Board of JEREMIE Bulgaria. Chairperson of the “SME Initiative Bulgaria” Investors` Board since its establishment in March 2016. Before joining the MoE team he was Executive Director of the Economic Policy Institute, Sofia for more than six years - one of the oldest and most prominent non-governmental organizations in Bulgaria operating to enhance the competitiveness of the national economy and raise the efficiency of the public institutions in the country. In 2013 he was selected to participate in the premier initiative of the U.S. Department of State - the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) – “Accountability of Government II”. In his last year of PhD studies in International Business.
Service public de Wallonie
After studying engineering in civil constructions, Hugues Labar took office in the Ministry of the Walloon Region, General Directorate of the Economy. For twenty years he managed business investment files. Since 2009 he is Director in charge of the monitoring and support of the Walloon clusters.
Bulgarian Association of Business Clusters
Chairperson of the Managing Board
Genoveva Christova is an International Cluster Development Expert with rich experience in working with clusters in the Balkan region. She is one of the lead experts in clusters development in the Republic of Bulgaria. Her Company LIGNA GROUP deals with Hotel Refurbishment and with over 30 suppliers and 26 staff she and her business partner Ms Anelia Kassabova have built up a sizeable SME in 10 years that delivers many of the benefits of a cluster’s approach. She obtained a Masters Degree in International Economics, covering International Trade, Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategic Management at the University of World Economy – Sofia. Since 2005, Ms. Christova has been actively involved in clusters development in Bulgaria. She became the first elected Chair of the first pilot cluster initiative in Bulgaria – Troyan Furniture Cluster. Since 2006, Ms. Christova has started her international cluster work and has been involved in clusters development projects in South-East Europe: Greece, Romania, Turkey and Serbia. She was one of the initiators of the Bulgarian Association of Business Clusters (ABC) established in 2009. At present Ms Christova is chairing the Bulgarian Furniture Cluster, as well as acts as a Vice-President of the ABC. Recently she has been invited to speak at a number of national and international events, promoting clustering and clusters policy. Author of numerous studies and articles about competitiveness and clusters development.
Vego Consulting-Turkey & United Nations Industrial Development Organisation
Vego Consulting Managing Partner
UNIDO Senior International Consultant for Cluster
• Consulting and training SMEs from various sectors in Strategic Management, Export Development, Brand Development, Marketing and Brand Management, Supply Chain Management;
• Consulting and Training for Donor funded projects, Chambers, State Institutions and Regional Development Agencies, EU Funded Projects on Competitiveness, Cluster Development, Innovation, Marketing, Value Chain Development in different sectors;
• Worked for UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation) on Cluster Development and Regional Development Projects as International Consultant for Cluster Development and Marketing in:
*Turkey Textile and Ready Made Garments Sector (Harnessing sustainable linkages for SMEs in Turkey’s Textile sector), South East Turkey provinces
*Montenegro- Olive Oil-Wine-Trout-Metal Sectors Cluster Development
*Kuwait-Strengthening Export Capacities of Chemicals and Plastics Sector
*Punjab-Pakistan Cluster Development in Automotive parts, Surgical Equipment, Leather Shoewear, Ready Made Garments sectors (ongoing)
Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency
CEO, Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency Vladimir holds a MBA from the American University in Bulgaria and Master’s Degree in HR Management from the Technical University in Sofia, Bulgaria. He received his Bachelor Degree in Industrial Management from the same university. His professional experience has been in the Real Estate, Manufacturing and Trading sectors, where he held the positions of Head of Sales and Country Manager in several companies with international presence. With a strong background in entrepreneurship and business development and a deep interest in start-ups, Vladimir has already developed broad expertise in managing companies and teams with a global presence.
Swedish partner the Municipality of Hudiksvall
Karin is present project coordinator for the Swedish partner the Municipality of Hudiksvall, within the EU project ClusterFy as well as CEO in her own company Avalans. She just ended a three year period as CEO of the IT Company Iftac within the Hexatronic group, a Swedish medium sized company that is climbing from the small cap 2014-on the Swedish and NASDAQ stock market to the midcap market in 2018. Karin has experience as program director at Vinnova, the Swedish Agency for innovation, where she acted as the policy coordinator of innovation in the EU strategy for the Baltic Sea region. She also led one of the flagship projects, called BSR Stars. The BSR Stars project focused on increase linkage between actors in research and innovation milieus, clusters and small and medium enterprises in the macro region and there by hopefully contribute to increase prosperity in the region. Before joining Vinnova, Karin spent around 20 years in international business with Ericsson acting as general manager i.e. Fiber access networks. She founded the national cluster called Fiber Optic Valley and was the CEO for this initiative between 2003 -2007 when she joined VINNOVA. The main area of expertise is fiber optics, fixed access networks, telecommunication, and innovation management.
Cluster Trakia Economic Zone
Eng. Plamen Panchev is at the heart of Cluster Trakia Economic Zone created in 2012. The Cluster supports the development of Trakia Economic Zone (TЕZ) by attracting investors and providing them with a package of services. Trakia Economic Zone is the largest and most sustainable industrial zone not only in Bulgaria, but also in Southeastern Europe. Back in 2013 Eng. Plamen Panchev, founder of TEZ, unites the 6 industrial zones around Plovdiv - the second largest city in Bulgaria under this brand.
Mr. Panchev has graduated from the University of Forestry - Sofia with engineering specialty "Landscaping". He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sienit Holding JSC, the first private developer of industrial zones in Bulgaria and a leader in construction and engineering. The activity of the Sienit Group began in 1994. Through the implementation of a lot projects of Bulgarian and foreign investors, the company has gained considerable experience in commercial, industrial, infrastructure and energy construction. In 1996 Sienit Holding started the construction of the first private industrial zone in Bulgaria, which is now part of Trakia Economic Zone. More than 140 Bulgarian and foreign companies, some of which are world leaders in their fields, already work in TEZ. The industrial zone has attracted investments of over EUR 1.5 billion and over a span of 22 years more than 30,000 jobs have been created.
For the development of Trakia Economic Zone the business works in cooperation with 9 municipalities and 4 clusters - Cluster Trakia Economic Zone, ICT Cluster Plovdiv, Green Synergy Cluster and Automotive Cluster Bulgaria. That has turned Trakia Economic Zone into a successful model for public-private partnership.
Astrico Nord–Est Textile Cluster
Carmen Boiciuc is Project Coordinator of Astrico Nord–Est Textile Cluster, the first textile cluster in Romania. She is involved in specific activities on national and European projects, from writing and submitting the proposal to implementation of the project, develop, review and submission of documentation in specific areas, developing promotion activities, hosting national conferences, financial situations, specific legislation. She has implemented several national projects on Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development, Key Area of Intervention 5.1 „PROACTIVE 2013-Viable solutions for unemployed integration on the labour market”, 5.2 „Human resources development in rural areas” and Sectoral Operational Programme “INCREASE OF ECONOMIC COMPETITIVENESS”–Operation 1.3.3 „Institutional Development of Astrico Nord-Est Textile Cluster”.
Ministry for National Economy of Hungary
Head of International and Cluster Unit
Mr Péter Keller started his career at the SME Development Department of the Ministry of Economy and Transport in 2002. He played a very active role in planning the SME Development priority of the I. National Development Plan 2004-2006 (NDP). After 2006 as the head of the Economic Development Planning Unit he coordinated the planning process of the Economic Development Operational Programme 2007-2013 in the framework of the II. NDP. Between 2010 and 2011 he worked as a government adviser at the Ministry of Public Administration and Justice. He was responsible for cohesion policy especially related to Structural Funds. On 1 January 2012 he joined MAG–Hungarian Economic Development Centre, where he was leading the Cluster Development Office. From April 2014. the Ministry for National Economy took over most tasks (including cluster development related tasks) from MAG on the above date. The tasks of the previous MAG – Cluster Development Office is performed by the International and Cluster Development Unit in the Ministry for National Economy. Now Peter Keller is leading the International and Cluster Development Unit.
National University of Public Service
She is researcher at National University of Public Services and the managing director of the InnoPartners & Friends Ltd. From 2010 she and her partners increasingly focused on cooperation inside clusters; networks within clusters and their information flow, cooperation and conflict management in those networks. They searched how the cluster network works, as well as why and how it is worth being an excellent cluster member. As a result of their work they have developed an innovative cluster research method, in which they use not only the accumulated cluster experience and knowledge, but also adopt the network theory and game theory approach.
Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity
Dorinda is the Research Director of the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity and the Conference Director for the 21st TCI Network Global Conference (TCI 2018). At the Institute, she has co-authored publications exploring clusters, health care, and social policy, among others. Dorinda holds a Master’s degree in Socio-Legal Studies from York University and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management and Political Science from the University of Toronto Scarborough. She has worked in a multitude of industries, including automotive, finance, real estate, and most recently health care in strategy and policy roles. She joined the Institute in 2012 as a Researcher and returned in 2015 as Research Director.
Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth
Cecilia Johansson has 20 years’ experience from research and innovation programmes. She is present responsible for smart specializing on a national level and she is working at the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth. She has continuously dialogues with the Swedish regions regarding regional growth and attractiveness and is working close to the Ministry of Industry. Cecilia was one of the editors of the national programme within EURF and was proposing and carrying out a programme regarding transnational cooperation and combination of funds. Cecilia has also many years’ experience from cluster programmes and SME issues. Before the current position Cecilia has been working several years at Vinnova – the Swedish Innovation Agency. She was one of the founders of the cluster programme Vinnväxt, she has been working with several EU-projects and was e.g. coordinator for the EU-project Inno Partnering Forum – regarding better support for SMEs . She has also been responsible for a programme regarding sustainable cities. Before joining Vinnova and The Swedish Agency of Economic and Regional Growth, Cecilia was working as a journalist and with communication in her own company.
Baltic Sea Cluster Development Centre
Lars has more than 20 years of experience working at the intersection of strategy, human ressource development, and cluster development. He has worked for private and public companies, business clusters and local communities in Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, USA, UK, Luxembourg, Russia, Poland, Serbia, Macedonia, South Africa and New Zealand. He has earned a respected position as a Danish and international cluster development manager, and his international business network has given him opportunities to put the Island of Bornholm and its businesses on the international map. He has had great importance for the positioning of the region of Bornholm as well as the development of enterprises on Bornholm. Lars is endowed with professional and social qualities which are perfect for a business cluster manager and network facilitator: queer for discovering new business opportunities, people and places, dynamic and entrepreneurial. He’s at the moment providing consulting services within rural cluster development, entrepreneurship, food and tourism, both on the island of Bornholm (Denmark/Baltic Sea Region) as well as abroad (especially in the Arctic Nordics and on the Balkans).
Special advisor for clusters and networks
Olav Bardalen is a special advisor for clusters and networks in Innovation Norway. He has been responsible for developing and implementing the Norwegian cluster scheme; the Arena program launched 2002, the Norwegian Centres of Expertise program launched in 2006, and the Norwegian Innovation Clusters program in 2014. He now acts as a regional cluster advisor in the Eastern Norway region; helping new cluster initiatives to get started and supporting the mature clusters in their renewal processes.
CEO / Senior Cluster Advisor
Leading Norwegian expert in Innovation Management, Managed Cluster development and facilitation, Cluster organization benchmarking. Specialties: Certified cluster organisation benchmarking specialist by the European Secretariat for Cluster-Analysis (ESCA). Business Cluster development and facilitation, Cluster Member Services development and business models. Innovation Management work practices, Open innovation , Innovation culture. IT based tools in Innovation Management. European Comission H2020 expert & project evaluator SME instrument and Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) A number of current and former Chairman of the board and board positions in fast growth SMEs.
Bulgarian Development Company (BDC)
Kiril is one of three founders of the Center for Economic Strategy and Competitiveness, affiliated with the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School and Sofia University. He teaches courses on economic development and microeconomic competitiveness
Ministry of Economy – Directorate Industrial Policy and Competitiveness
Co-ordinator of Romanian Cluster Policy
Gabriela Magdalena Pirvu – Co-ordinator of Romanian Cluster Policy Ministry of Economy – Directorate Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Since 2009 involved in designing and promoting the Romanian Cluster Policy. Representative of Romania in the Sub-group for Innovation, DG Grow, starting from 2007. Project manager SEENECO, financed in Competitiveness Innovation Programme (CIP) of European Commission; cluster excellence and cluster management. Project manager of Project ClusterPoliSEE implemented and funded within SEE Programme. Representative of Romania in the Coal and Steel Committee (COSCO) of the Research Fund for Steel and Coal of the European Commission – DG for Research and Innovation; - organization and co-ordination of activity of national advising group for Coal and Steel Research; Representative of the Ministry of Economy in the Working Group for Euro-Mediterranean Industrial Co-operation – elaboration of documents for bi- and multilateral industrial co-operation with partner countries in EuroMed; Representative of the Ministry of Economy in the Steel Committee of Organisation for Economic Co-operation&Development – OECD, where Romania is full member; Representative of the Ministry of Economy in the UNECE Committee on Economic Cooperation and Integration; Project monitor in the Sectoral Plan for Research and Development of ME-DPIC. Representative in the working groups for elaboration of programmes and documents related to the implementation of European Technological Platforms (ESTEP, EuMAT, MANUFUTURE); Design and coordination of programmes bi- and multilateral resulted from the agreements with international and European bodies or as a result of Joint Commissions for technical-economical cooperation.
Romanian Cluster Association - Clustero
Graduated both as an engineer and economist, Daniel Cosnita has been working in the last 15 years in the fields of technology transfer and innovation, regional economic development and clusters. Since 2008 he has been supporting the Romanian Ministry for Economy in the generation of the national cluster policy, by performing the cluster mapping exercise at national level, contributing to the elaboration of the Guide of Applicants of the financing schemes dedicated to the poles of competitiveness. Currently he is acting as an expert for the Romanian Ministry of Economy in the elaboration of the new industrial policy document and for the Armenian Ministry of Economy in the elaboration of the National Innovation Strategy. He has supported the Ministry of Education and Research in the elaboration of the Smart Specialisation Strategy of Romania. He acted as a consultant for the Algerian government in setting up a national network of business incubators and for the Turkish government in the elaboration of the national cluster strategy. Since 2011 he has been the president of the Romanian Cluster Association. He has been a member of the Export Council of Romania since 2011 and of the National Council for Technology Transfer and Innovation since 2016. He is a member of the Cluster Excellence Working Group of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region and of the Reasearch & Innovation and Cluster Working Groups of the Enterprise Europe Network.
BA in Political Sciences and MA in international development, since 2004 she was involved in the take-off of the Apulian agrofood cluster, DARe. Her experience so far dealt with technology transfer activities based on promoting collaborations between academia and business actors to ease the valorization of research results and increase the innovation potential of DARe’s SMEs. Her activity addresses regional stakeholders as well to create a favourable environment to multiply the spill over benefits driven by innovation. To this extent, communication and dissemination activities represent a relevant aspect of her job. She is involved in European projects focusing on improving DARe’s capabilities in promoting cross-sectorial collaboration within the Cluster and among Clusters. The main topics the Cluster is addressing are Food, Sustainable energy, the circular economy, the rural renaissance and ICT. She is now coordinating the TRACE-KEI COSME Cluster Excellence project and she is pursuing the aim to contribute to the further stage of DARe Cluster’s growth for the benefit of its management organization and associates. She is author of a publication on the adoption of the EU Project Cycle Management method for local development plans and has been in charge of training activities on project management tools and guidelines for PhD students and post-graduate trainees.
Flanders investment & trade
Strategic Intelligence Manager
I studied political sciences at University of Leuven, specialization international relations. I’m the Strategic Intelligence Manager for the inward investment department of Flanders Investment & Trade, a governmental agency facilitating investment projects in Flanders and giving support to Flemish export companies, and part of the civil service infrastructure of the Flemish government. Since 2013 I’m responsible for the information & knowledge management of the department. The processes from monitoring information sources until the communication on the information outcome run along operational, strategical, business analytical lines. On all three levels a good insight in the cluster networks (and its members) within Flanders, is primordial for attracting foreign direct investments.
Industrial Cluster Srednogorie
Business Development Manager
Dessislava Chalamova is a Business Development Manager at Industrial Cluster Srednogorie (ICS) – the largest industrial cluster in Bulgaria. She is well experienced in evaluation and consultation of SME family businesses, supporting their startup, development and competitiveness with “Beginnings” Program of Bulgarian American Enterprise Fund. Later she was a Program Director with Integra Association to microenterprise development for women at risk in partnership with Shell Foundation London and City Bank Foundation. Dessislava is one of the promoters of the Fair-Trade concept in Bulgaria. Dessislava Later Desislava worked as a Head of Prevention Department at Sofia Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Waters to the Ministry of Environment and Waters leading preparation of reports on the EIA , environmental assessments of public and private projects. She moved to the private business, where her consulting and project experience covers business development activities and environmental management, working with companies like Aurubis, Dundee Precious Metals Chelopech, Ellatzite -Med, Technopolis, Practiker, etc. Mrs. Chalamova has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Sofia Tech University, and a master’s degree in environmental management from University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy plus postgraduate executive studies at University of Mining and Geology
Pharmapolis Klaszter Ltd.
dr. Eva Skulteti has been on the Board of the Pharmapolis Debrecen Innovative Pharmaceutical Cluster since August 2008, becoming its manager company’s CEO in October 2008. dr. Skulteti is the Secretary General of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hajdu-Bihar County, Hungary. She is member of the Healthcare Sector Group of Enterprise Europe Network, founding member of Cluster Thematic Group of the EEN and the Cluster Contact Point in Hungary. She has a strong interest in innovation, the role that collaboration can play, and how cluster needs to evolve to capture the wider value of innovation approaches change.
Growthclusters Projects, UK and Growthclusters BG
International Cluster Development Expert
Over 15 years running Business Support organizations, Led Trade Missions to UK, Germany. Developed Export Strategies for Regions, Sectors and Clusters. Team Leader of various EU-funded Projects in South East Europe, Asia and South Pacific. Devised various methodologies for assesing Sector, Clusters, Smart specialization and Regional specialization. Adviser to UK, Bulgaria, Turkish Ministries of Economy (since 1992). SME Business Coach and Enterprise Development expert. Trade/ Export specialist – including Manager training and strategy development. Specific professional experience: · Facilitation for strategic planning, esp. on SME Development · Strong experience of training support to emerging economies: Anatolia, Turkey; Serbia (post Yugoslavia conflict); Georgia (post – liberalisation); Bulgaria (pre and post EU Accession). · Export Development/Internationalisation Techniques
Nyugat-Pannon Nonprofit Kft.
Manager of Economic and Cluster Development Activities
Gál is the “cluster guy” of one of the largest non-profit regional development organisations in Hungary and president of the Hungarian National Alliance of Innovative Clusters (IKOSZ). With a background in Organisational Development and Statistics, and a certificate in journalism, he has been working in regional and economic development for 12 years, first with the West-Transdanubian Regional Development Agency, and then West-Pannon Non-Profit Ltd. His focus moved from strategic planning to innovation and knowledge transfer, both in interregional project cooperations, in clusters and in direct training activities, all the while keeping an open European perspective. His latest and most enduring professional love of 7 years is the cause of clusters, which lead to the foundation of IKOSZ. His key fields are international cooperation, knowledge transfer, strategic planning, SME development and innovation, and is currently working on establishing a national cluster service platform in Hungary.