Archive for February, 2019

Over 3% Growth in the Bulgarian Economy is Expected in 2019

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Over 3% growth in the economy in 2019, awaits the Ministry of Economy this year, reported the Bulgarian National Television. 

This was stated by the Minister of National Affairs Emil Karanikolov from the floor of the National Assembly. He argued that foreign direct investment in 2018 had fallen by 40%. Last year’s investments in our country amounted to a billion and a half million euros.

Emil Karanikolov, Minister of Economy: Foreign direct investments for 2018 not only is not less than the previous, but has increased by just over 10% in one year, the FDI inflows in Bulgaria amounted in the past year to 1.5 billion , which is 10.3%, or 143 million more than the investments made between January and December 2017.

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What is a Haul Video and How Can You Use it to Promote Your Retail Business?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

What is a Haul Video and Should You Still Use Them?

If you’ve spent any time on YouTube in recent years, you’re probably familiar with haul videos. This type of content can provide potential benefits to both influencers and small retail businesses.

Though they may not be quite as prevalent as they once were, it’s still important to be aware of the potential impact of these videos. They still may be able to help you spread the word about your brand or create useful content for your target audience. To learn the ins and outs of haul videos, here’s a quick guide.

What Is a Haul Video?

Essentially, a haul video is a recording of someone going over a collection of purchases. They may go into detail about what each product is, their initial impressions, and the shopping experience as a whole. A haul usually includes products from a single retailer, a particular collection of shops, or at least a specific category where the products all relate to one another.

Haul videos originally gained relevance around 2006/2007 through the beauty vlogging community on YouTube. But then the concept has since spread through plenty of other niches. And though they’re still most common on YouTube, they’ve also spread to other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Haul videos may not be quite as prevalent as they once were. But influencers are still creating and sharing these videos daily. And since the market for them isn’t quite as saturated, it could be an interesting time for businesses to jump in.

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Haul videos really only offer initial impressions of products. They’re not as thorough as full product reviews. But they do usually contain products that the influencer has chosen, so they can quickly explain why they liked each item. In certain categories like clothing or makeup, the person may even try on the items to offer a full and honest first impression. So it could be a bit more impactful than an unboxing video, which often features products from a subscription box or items gifted from a PR company.

Who Can Use a Haul Video?

Haul videos have been posted in nearly every business niche and target audience. However, they tend to be especially popular in areas like makeup, fashion, toys, and any area where it’s possible/common to buy a lot of products at once. It’s not a concept that’s especially relevant for service businesses or retailers that sell really expensive products.

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As a small retail business, haul videos can help you connect to relevant consumers through influencers. Basically, viewers watch and subscribe to YouTube videos of people they trust or who share similar tastes in products. So when that influencer shares a collection of products, a viewer might see an item that strikes their fancy and decide to purchase one as well.

On the influencer side, haul videos can offer a way to share valuable content with your audience. If you have a YouTube channel, Facebook page, Instagram account or blog, offering insights on the products you love can help your audience shape their own buying decisions. And the video format allows people to get a feel for your personality and connect with you. It also creates a natural way for you to infuse some brand related content into your strategy. This can lead to profitable connections for your business going forward.

How Can You Use Haul Videos for Your Small Business?

If you’re interested in utilizing haul videos as an influencer, you simply need to find a product category or shop that is relevant to your audience and then go on a shopping spree. When you film your video, simply go over each purchase and then promote your content. Over time, you may even be able to work with brands that want to connect with your audience. This can help you cover the costs of your videos and bring in a profit in exchange for spreading the word.

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If you’re a retailer, taking advantage of haul videos requires finding relevant influencers to work with or promoting organic content related to your brand. Haul videos can be especially helpful in spreading the word about new products. So if you’re preparing for a launch or have recently unveiled a new line, you may want to contact some relevant YouTube creators or social media personalities in your niche to arrange sponsored content.

The exact logistics are up to you. But you may be able to pay them or arrange a free shopping spree for them. However, it is usually beneficial to have them pick out their own products. If you send them items without their input, they may be less relevant or less likely to share the positive attributes that drew them to each item. In these cases, they’ll also need to disclose that the content is sponsored.

Of course, organically created content can also be incredibly valuable for your business. This is a less proactive step. But you can still keep an eye out for haul videos that mention your business or include your products. Then you can promote them to your own audience. This may also be a helpful way for you to find influencers for future sponsored content opportunities, since they’re already genuinely interested in your offerings.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “What is a Haul Video and How Can You Use it to Promote Your Retail Business?” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Another BGN 33 Million will be Allocated for Rehabilitation of Buildings in 19 Small Municipalities Across Bulgaria

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

A new BGN 33 mln will be invested by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works through the “Regions for Growth” Operational Program 2014-2020 in energy efficiency measures, the department reports.

The funds will be allocated to 32 projects in 19 Bulgarian municipalities. The projects are approved under the procedure “Energy Efficiency in Peripheral Areas-2″ under Priority Axis 2 of the European Program. A total of 52 project proposals were submitted under the procedure, which were selected after an assessment of administrative compliance and eligibility and of technical and financial evaluation. Contracts for grant support are forthcoming with the candidates whose project proposals are being proposed for funding. The municipalities of Troyan, Zlatograd, Malko Tarnovo, Krumovgrad, Belogradchik, Devin, Pomorie, Razlog, Svilengrad, Novi Pazar, Botevgrad, Sevlievo, Malko Tarnovo, Elhovo, General Toshevo, Peshtera, Karnobat, Popovo and Berkovitsa are approved.

The projects include activities to improve the energy efficiency of multifamily homes, municipal and state administration buildings, municipal educational, social and cultural infrastructure.

The procedure “Energy Efficiency in Peripheral Areas-2″ is a continuation of the first energy efficiency measure in peripheral areas where 170 contracts totaling over BGN 167 million were concluded.

Priority Axis 2 of OPRD 2014-2020 is designed to support the implementation of energy efficiency measures in public and residential buildings in small towns – municipal centers providing services to surrounding peripheral areas. The objective is to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the target areas, which will directly contribute to the reduction of final energy consumption and indirectly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The ultimate goal is to improve the performance of buildings in small towns and hence to improve air quality and living conditions.

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UN: Human Rights Around the World are in Retreat

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed deep concern at rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance, and warned that human rights are losing ground in the world, the Associated Press reported.

At the opening of the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Guterres alarmed that civil society collapsed and journalists and activists became target of assault and violence. More than 1,000 journalists and human rights activists have been killed in the past three years, he said.

Every week in 2018 there were on average four killed eco-activists, the Secretary-General noted.

“We have to do more to protect defenders and end the crackdown on those who speak openly about the abuse of their rights,” Guterres said.

We must stand up to the outrageous and unconditional impunity of crimes against journalists and human rights activists, he said.

Guterres has also expressed anxiety about economic inequality and warned that data and technologies for facial recognition are abused.

Participants in the session, which runs until March 22, will examine the state of the rights and freedoms in about 30 countries, including Ukraine, Venezuela and Syria. Issues such as the protection of children from violence, respect for human rights in the fight against terrorism and the prevention of torture will be discussed.

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51 are the cases of measles in the country

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

A total of 51 are the cases of measles in the country at the moment, announced the chief state health inspector Dr. Angel Kunchev in connection with the spread of the infectious disease.

For one day the number of infected patients has increased by five, reported the Bulgarian National Television. 

Yesterday the first case of measles in Varna was registered – the woman was 40 years old and four more in Blagoevgrad. The Chief Health Inspector made a comparison that in the last 2018 there were 13 cases of measles.

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EC: Bulgaria is Among the Countries with Economic Imbalances

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The European Commission today presented its assessment of the progress made by EU countries in the implementation of economic and social tasks.

Its annual assessment notes the need to promote investment, responsible fiscal policies and the implementation of well-planned reforms. Challenges vary widely across countries and require appropriate and targeted policy action, the report said.

The current review of the challenges facing individual countries is taking place at a time when the European economy is expected to grow in 2019 for a seventh consecutive year, but more moderate. Employment is at a record high, and unemployment is at a record low. Public finances have also improved, although some countries still face high levels of debt.

The level of productivity remains weak, the aging of the population intensifies and rapid technological change has a significant impact on the labor market. In some countries, real household income levels remain below pre-crisis levels. Youth unemployment has declined significantly, but in some countries it is still unacceptably high. At a time of more pronounced global uncertainty, it is crucial that the EU countries step up their actions to increase productivity, improve the sustainability of their economies, and ensure that economic growth benefits all citizens.

Following the presentation in November of the Annual Growth Survey and the Eurozone Economic Policy Recommendation defining the tasks at European level, the 28 national country reports today draw attention to the national dimension of the European Semester. The reports provide a detailed analysis of country-specific economic and social challenges. They will serve as a basis for discussing with their countries their national policy decisions before they prepare their national programs in April and will lead to the drawing up at the end of spring of country-specific recommendations.

The Commission is launching a discussion on the challenges and tasks related to investment in EU countries and presents first ideas on how European funds, especially cohesion policy funds, could be beneficial to the Community budget by 2027. This step will serve to ensure greater consistency of economic policies and the use of EU funds, which represent a significant part of public investment in some countries.

Country reports assess progress on country-by-country recommendations from July last year. States have made some or more progress in meeting more than two-thirds of the recommendations issued after 2011. States have made the most progress in terms of recommendations in the field of financial services. Sustained progress has also been made in reforms to facilitate the creation of permanent contracts.

One way the EC has used the past years to help countries step up their reform efforts is through its structural reform support program. This year, under the Structural Reform Support Program, technical assistance will be provided to 26 countries to implement more than 260 projects. They are in addition to over 290 projects selected in 2017 and 2018.

In November last year, the EC launched in-depth reviews of 13 EU countries to assess whether they are affected by macroeconomic imbalances. The Commission has come to the conclusion that there are imbalances or excessive imbalances in all of these 13 countries, but in some cases the gravity of imbalances is decreasing.

There are economic imbalances in Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, France, Croatia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. Excessive imbalances are found in Cyprus, Greece and Italy. The Commission will continue to review the developments and policy measures taken by all countries with imbalances or excessive imbalances, especially for the European Semester.

The Commission today presented its opinion on Slovenia’s revised draft budget plan as it was presented in October last year based on a “no policy change” scenario and was again presented in the meantime. According to the EC, the revised draft budget plan creates a risk of non-compliance with the provisions of the Stability and Growth Pact. Both the Slovenian plan and the EC estimate that the draft budget plan would lead to a significant deviation from the adjustment path towards the country’s medium-term objective. Therefore, Slovenia is invited to take the necessary measures within the framework of national budgetary procedures to ensure that this year’s budget is in line with the requirements of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Greece joined the European semester process after finalizing its stability program last summer. The Commission adopted its second report in the framework of enhanced surveillance. The report assesses the progress made by Greece on the policy commitments made at the Eurogroup meeting in June 2018. The report concludes that while Greece has made significant progress in implementing its specific reform commitments until by the end of 2018, speeds in some areas are slow and has led to delays in key reforms.

The Commission presented the progress report on the implementation of the Council Recommendation of 20 September 2016 setting up national productivity councils. The report assesses changes in productivity and competitiveness in the EU and provides an overview of the productivity tips set up at the end of 2018. National Productivity Boards have already been set up in 10 eurozone countries. All other eurozone countries have confirmed their intention to create such advice in the near future.

The Commission also adopted a proposal to maintain the EU Council’s 2018 Council Decision on Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the EU Member States. This year’s proposal reaffirms the compliance of the Employment Guidelines with the 20 principles of the European Social Rights Pillar as their common objectives and priorities remain valid. The Employment Guidelines contain common priorities and targets for national employment policies and provide a legal basis for country-specific recommendations in these areas that need to be re-adopted each year.

The Commission also presented a report on the implementation of the Council Recommendation on Skills, which is part of the new skills acquisition program for Europe presented by the Commission in June 2016. So far, 61 million senior citizens in the EU have completed, at best, lower secondary education. With this recommendation, countries have committed themselves to offering older people with low skills and qualifications new and better opportunities to improve their basic linguistic and mathematical literacy skills and digital skills. The report reviews the measures taken by countries.

The EU Council is expected to discuss the country reports together with the results of the in-depth reviews. In the coming months, the EC will organize bilateral meetings with EU countries on relevant reports. Vice-presidents, Commissioners and Commission services will visit countries to meet governments, parliaments, social partners and other stakeholders to discuss the assessments in the reports.

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President Trump Meets with Kim Jong Un

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The second summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea, which takes place in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi, has begun.

Asked whether he’d walked back his vow to insist upon the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Trump said he had not.

“No,” he said. 

Questioned later whether he planned to declare an end to the Korean War, he said: “We’ll see.”

Today’s program ends with an official dinner. Tomorrow, the main talks between the two leaders and the accompanying delegations on the overall nuclear disarmament of the Korean region will be held.

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In January, Bulgarians Traveled mostly to Greece and Turkey

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The number of trips of Bulgarian citizens abroad in January was 402.3 thousand, or 3.8% above those registered in January 2018, according to data from the National Statistics Institute. There is an increase in travel to Romania – 13.8%, Turkey – by 12%, Austria – by 7.5%, Germany by 6.8%, Spain by 5.8%, France by 4.9%. At the same time, decreases the number of Bulgarians traveling to Sweden by 20.3%, Slovakia by 17.3%, Switzerland by 2.6%, Serbia by 2.2%, and others.

In the first month of the year the largest number of trips of Bulgarian citizens were made to Greece – 84.1 thousand, Turkey – 75.5 thousand, Serbia – 35.2 thousand, Northern Macedonia – 26.6 thousand,

Tours with all observed goals were increased: for recreation and excursion – by 6.5%, for official use – by 4.4%, and for other purposes – by 2.1%. The highest share of trips (visitation, training, cultural and sporting events) – 48.4%, followed by business trips – 25.9%, and recreation and excursion trips – 25.7%

In January, visits of foreigners to Bulgaria were 554.3 thousand, or 1.9% more than a year earlier.

The share of citizens in the European Union is 48%, or 4.7% more than in the same month of the previous year. Visits by UK citizens increased by 50.3%, Poland by 32.1%, Romania by 24.2%, Germany by 2.5%, and others.

At the same time, visits of citizens from Austria decreased by 17.9%, Italy by 15.4%, Greece by 5.5%, and others.

Visits by citizens from other European countries are decreasing, with the most visible for Turkish citizens – by 5.2%. In January 2019, 43.2% of visits to recreation and excursions predominated, followed by visits with other purposes – 39.1%, and for official purposes – 17.7%

The largest number of visits to Bulgaria was made by citizens from Greece – 103.7 thousand, Turkey – 98.4 thousand, North Macedonia – 67.3 thousand, Romania – 61.9 thousand, Serbia – 39.8 thousand, United Kingdom – 24.8 thousand, 15.7 thousand ordinary tourists from these countries come to ski vacations in Bulgaria.

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Bulgarian PM Borisov Received Paintings and Equipment from Emerging Ski Star Albert Popov

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

The best Bulgarian skier Albert Popov met with the prime minister before today’s cabinet meeting.

The 21-year-old athlete finished 32nd in his debut at the World Cup in Bansko some days ago.

Albert Popov gave two pictures – his photograph during the race and a collective photo of the participants and sports equipment. Borisov embraced the talented Bulgarian and said that he is “happy with the achievements of the young skier and would like to help with whatever he can.”

Borisov said jokingly that he expected the equipment to be heavier. He thanked again for the success of the Bulgarian and stressed that if there are so many people watching him, everything is fine.

Sport Minister Krasen Kralev said that Bansko’s World Cup was watched by more than 120 million viewers from Western Europe, the United States and Canada, but does not know how many televisions have been in the resort.

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In the Spotlight: SquarePeg Hires Finds Applicants with a Better Fit

Wednesday, February 27th, 2019

Spotlight: SquarePeg Hires Uses Technology for Hiring To make Recruiting Easier

Hiring hasn’t always gone smoothly for businesses. It remains difficult to find the candidates to best fit your specific job requirements and company culture. But SquarePeg Hires wants to make the process significantly easier. Find out how they’re working to improve hiring through technology in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Uses technology to help businesses with hiring.

Founder and CEO Claire McTaggart told Small Business Trends this. “SquarePeg helps companies find, assess, and hire top non-tech talent based on fit, not just resumes.”

The company offers tens of thousands of passive candidates on its platform. These candidates get measured for personality fit. But they also get evaluated for environment fit. Other skills, experience, and other key metrics also figure in.

The company’s machine learning algorithm matches the top candidates for any role posted with SquarePeg. And the company sends curated pools of applicants to clients.

This saves time and improves quality of hire. As an SaaS company, SquarePeg can to do this at a much lower price point than a recruiting firm. That’s because the company uses data to generate top matches rather than searching piles of resumes. The data-driven approach also helps reduce biases. It helps the employers using SquarePeg to improve the diversity of their applicant pipeline.

Business Niche

Saving businesses time when hiring.

McTaggart says companies often come to SquarePeg when they’ve failed to find the right pipeline of candidates.

But clients also include businesses spending too much time trying to filter candidates. Some clients also don’t know what data they should be using to quantify what they need.

SquarePeg begins by identifying clients’ ideal hires. Say a detail-oriented and logical thinker who works well in fast-paced unstructured environments. Or perhaps a client needs an employee with a strong SEO background.

In days SquarePeg claims it will identify 10 top notch applicants interested in the role. These candidates will also fit the client’s desired salary range. The system requires far less ‘guess-work’ to understand why potential hires are a match.

In short, SquarePeg wants recruiters and hiring managers to spend less time posting, searching, and filtering. Clients instead detour directly to learning about their top prospects.

Spotlight: SquarePeg Hires Uses Technology for Hiring To make Recruiting Easier

 

How the Business Got Started

After overseeing the hiring process for a Fortune 100 management consulting firm.

During that experience, McTaggart noticed that the best performing hires weren’t necessarily lining up with what her team was evaluating on a resume. So she started SquarePeg to help businesses find the most relevant information to improve the hiring process.

Biggest Win

Signing up a Fortune 100 client.

McTaggart adds, “It was a truly seamless experience where the client had read a feature article about SquarePeg’s technology in Fast Company, connected with the team’s mission and wanted to be a part of the experience. They involved the most senior leadership in their Talent and Recruiting functions, to really see the potential of what the platform could offer them. This has meant a lot for our team as we have been able to start engaging enterprise level clients at the highest level.”

Biggest Risk

Saying no to an early growth opportunity.

In the early, SquarePeg received interest from companies seeking to use its assessments only for existing applicants. So applicants would take an assessment only to apply for a job. They also would see the job description before taking the assessment.

SquarePeg worried this created bad candidate experience. It also made accurate measurement difficult.

So the company said no despite the revenue these opportunities offered and the potentially easier business model.

Instead, SquarePeg stuck with its mission. The company focused on solving the pain-point they’d identified from the beginning. This saved them from being just another player in a crowded field.

“Looking back, had we chosen short-term revenue growth early on, we would have been taken on multiple directions and not remained focused,” McTaggert says.

Lesson Learned

Prioritize great design.

McTaggart says, “Having the opportunity to do it all over again, we would likely pay a little more attention to the product’s design in the beginning. There’s a general thinking that design doesn’t really matter to your product early on, especially in HR tech where there is a proliferation of Craig’s-list style job boards that are highly profitable. But thinking back, a product that’s designed better speaks to the mission a bit more and enhances the customer’s experience – both on the candidate and employer side – adding a ton of value to your product. At our outset we were focused on the science and tech – and not user-centric beautiful design, which is something we are working hard on at the moment.”

Spotlight: SquarePeg Hires Uses Technology for Hiring To make Recruiting Easier

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Developing analytics and assessment techniques.

McTaggart says, “We would continue to improve our assessment measurement and matching techniques – improving the accuracy while reducing the time to participate in them – as well as develop a suite of analytics for both job seekers and employers. By developing the suite, we are equipping recruiters and hiringmanagers with actionable data that will allow them to really make strategic decisions that will affect their team and the businesses they work in. Adding integrations with applicant tracking systems at a faster pace would also allow us to provide a truly seamless experience for anyone hiring through SquarePeg.”

Company Culture

Wearing multiple hats.

McTaggart explains, “As a startup, every person on the team must wear a lot of hats and play multiple roles at once. We often joke that each person has their real job title – such as CTO, Head of Data Science or CEO, and then their internal job function – tech support, data entry associate, or admin assistant. We all spend a lot of time doing work that isn’t glamorous, but helps us save money or cut corners.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: SquarePeg Hires; Top Image: Claire McTaggart, CEO; Dan Pupaza, CTO; Nitesh Surtani, Head of Data Science; Josh Hamaoui, Head of Business Development; Alisa Leshchenko, Operations

This article, “In the Spotlight: SquarePeg Hires Finds Applicants with a Better Fit” was first published on Small Business Trends

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