Archive for March, 2019

8th European Forum for Social Entrepreneurship, Held between 28-31.03.2019 in Plovdiv

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

After the official opening ceremony of the Forum, Minister Biser Petkov presented awards for an innovative product. In addition to the distinguished Bulgarian social entrepreneurs from the areas of fashion, services and technologies, companies from Romania, Italy and Korea, whose products are represented on the Forum, were granted with awards.

For the next four days visitors of Pavilion 11 of the Plovdiv International Fair will be able to get acquainted with the activity and the high quality of the production of more than 110 social enterprises from 7 countries.

For the first time the atmosphere of the exhibition will sink the guests into the magic of traditional Bulgarian crafts and the architecture of old Plovdiv. The exhibitors present various items – clothing for children and adults, jewelery, food, textiles for home and workwear, at affordable prices and with very high quality.

The theme of this year’s forum is „Eco-system of Social Entrepreneurship“ and the program includes conferences, discussions, roundtables and a trade show featuring over 110 exhibitors.

The Agency participated on 28.03.2019 in a Round Table entitled „Modern Approaches to Financing Social Entrepreneurship“, as well as on March 29, 2019 at a Conference on „Labor Productive Cooperatives – an Engine for the Development of the Social Economy in Bulgaria „.


The Weather will be Mostly Sunny with Temporary Cloudiness Increases, Mainly Above the Eastern half of Bulgaria

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Today it will be mostly sunny with temporary cloudiness increases, mainly above the eastern half of the country. The wind will blow from Northeast – mostly moderate. This morning the temperatures are between minus 3 ° and 3 ° and there are frosts in the valleys. During the day it will be warmer than yesterday with maximum temperatures between 13 ° and 18 °. This was reported by FOCUS News Agency from the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) . The atmospheric pressure will drop, but will remain higher than the average for the month.
Above the Black Sea it will be mostly sunny with temporary cloudiness increases. Precipitation is not expected. It will blow a mild to moderate north-northeastern wind. The maximum temperatures will be between 9 ° and 12 ° . The sea water temperature is 9-11 °. The waves of the sea will be 2-3 bales.
Above the mountains the cloudiness will be variable. Itwill blow temperate, on high and open parts – a strong northeastern wind. Daily temperatures will rise slightly and the maximum at height of 1200 meters will be around 4 °, at 2000 meters around minus 2 °.


Bulgaria: Fruit and Vegetable Export Trends

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

Bulgarian fruit and vegetable producers have the privilege to be part of one of the largest and most solvent markets in the world – this of the EU. For already twelve years, however, they have failed to take advantage of this chance, and exports of the sector remain high bar for most. And namely sales abroad is the only way to growth, against the backdrop of a small and saturated local market. Exports predominate primarily processed products, while much less is the proportion of fresh consumption where a higher price can be achieved. However, there are some manufacturing niches and individual producers in the country that successfully compete abroad and can pave the way for more Bulgarian production on the European and world markets.

The value of Bulgarian exports of fruit and vegetables grew by 50% in three years to reach 387 million in 2017. The boom is almost entirely due to vegetables, while fruit exports are developing at a much more moderate pace. However, these figures may tempt the side observer to a less reasonable optimism. The data for the first ten months of 2018 do not seem to keep the trend. In addition, a more detailed look at the structure of exports reveals imbalances and major differences between the different strands.

Exports of fruit from Bulgaria are growing by 7% on average annually after 2014, reaching BGN 152 million in 2017. However, for the first ten months of 2018, it amounts to only BGN 116 million. Nearly half of this value is due to frozen or cooked fruits, about a quarter – to the temporary preserved, and only 20% (BGN 21 million) to the fresh products. Even with the smallest share, Bulgarian production is finding its way into the dried fruit segment even better.

If we look at the product structure of fruit exports, it can easily be concluded that it is highly concentrated in 2-3 strands. Cherise and raspberries are the main drivers for growing figures of the exports of Bulgarian fruits in recent years. More than a quarter of its value is due to cherries. Bulgaria has established itself as an important global supplier in the niche of cocktail/confectionary cherries (temporarily preserved/pulp). In the past year, exports to this category amounted to BGN 26 million and for the last five – nearly BGN 160 million. However, the volume dropped significantly from the peak of 15.2 thousand tonnes in 2016 to around 12 thousand tonnes. Cherries are among the few fresh fruits that often find a market across borders. In the past year, about 1350 tons (the second largest quantity for the last five years) were exported for the amount of BGN 4 million. The export of frozen or cooked cherries amounts to BGN 3 million.

Frozen raspberries are the second most important export item – 17% of the value of fruit exports over the past five years. Usually, about 4500 tonnes are exported annually. Bulgaria has traditionally been among the leading global exporters of raspberries, but fierce competition seriously threatens the country’s position and profitability in the industry. For the past two years, the average export prices of frozen raspberries have decreased by nearly 30% to BGN 4.6 per kg and revenues from BGN 28 million in 2016 to BGN 15 million in the past 2018.

Bulgaria is relatively well positioned in the market niche of forest fruits. Frozen blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are also among the top 10 export categories, and the group’s share in the value is almost a quarter. As with raspberries, however, their exports have been stagnant in recent years, and strawberries even experience some retreat.In 2018 exports of fresh watermelons were unusually active, the volume increased more than twice on an annual basis to 9800 tons and the value – almost three times to BGN 5.6 million.

Vegetable exports from Bulgaria are growing by more than 20% of the average annual growth rate with accumulation after 2014 to reach BGN 235 million in 2017. Data for the first ten months of 2018 (approximately BGN 200 million) show that probably in the past year the value will be similar. More than half of the value of exports is due to fresh produce, one quarter to dried vegetables, and nearly one fifth to frozen and cooked.

As with fruits, drawing conclusions on the basis of these impressive growths without looking more closely at the structure of exports would be misleading. What are your first associations for the appearance of native vegetable production in global markets? Pink tomato or Bulgarian cucumbers? You’re wrong. With BGN 28 million for January-October 2018, fresh truffles are the “vegetables” with the largest share in Bulgaria’s exports in the branch –14%. The growth for the last four years is nearly 14 times and truffles are the main reason for the positive overall trend in exports of vegetables. For the first ten months of last year, 219 tonnes of exotic produce were exported from the country at average prices of BGN 126 per kilogram.

A traditional pillar in the export of vegetables is the mushrooms. In January-October 2018 the value of exports of fresh or chilled mushrooms is BGN 22 million – 11% of the total for the group of vegetables. It is relatively stable over the past five years, and the quantities range between 11 and 15 thousand tons. In addition, 260-300 tonnes of dried mushrooms are exported annually for BGN 12-15 million and temporarily preserved for BGN 2-3 million.

Another category that can easily tempt to optimism is beans. The ordinary bean (dry) is sixth in importance in the value of the export – with BGN 10-12 million (6-7 thousand tons) per year. As a result of the boom in the cultivation of chickpeas by the grain producers, in 2017 the value of its exports (dried) increased threefold to BGN 29 million, and the quantities – 2.5 times to 13.5 thousand tons. The saturation of the market and the fall in prices quickly cooled this niche, and last year, exports returned to 6,000 tons for BGN 7 million. Over the last two years, fresh peas have also climbed among the most important products in the export of vegetables.

“The usual suspects” still find their place among the top 10 products with the highest export value. For a second consecutive year, the movement in the export of fresh tomatoes makes a pleasant impression – since 2016 its value has increased by 2.5 times to BGN 15 million and the volume – almost twice, exceeding 7500 tonnes. During the past year, the export of fresh cucumbers overcame its decline and returned to the usual levels of about 7,000 tons and BGN 13 million. For the fourth consecutive year, fresh peppers – BGN 7.5 million for January – October 2018 report growth in value, and their quantities are close to 3000 tons.

The drought in large parts of Europe last summer and the price jump gave prospects for realization of foreign markets through potato production – a branch that is difficult to address the external competition at the Bulgarian market. The export of potatoes for the 10 months of 2018 is 3.5-4 thousand tons for about BGN 2-3 million. However, these figures are still symbolic against the backdrop of production capacity in the country.

Beyond the figures
Developments in individual fruit and vegetable production vary considerably and competitiveness at foreign markets is a good indicator thereof. Notwithstanding some successful examples, Bulgaria is far from using the full potential that not only the European market provides but also the climatic and soil conditions in the country.

Source: Fresh Plaza


The week in energy: Predicting the power shift

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

The future of renewables, Saudi Arabia’s nuclear ambitions, and another push for Keystone XL

Crude awakening: commodity traders look beyond oil

Friday, March 29th, 2019

FT conference shows appetite for diversification in LNG, biofuels, power and batteries

In the News: Tech Problems May be Stressing Out Your Employees

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Stress and struggle. For small business owners, they can be too real sometimes.

This week, we learned in a new survey which U.S. cities are the most stressed out. You’re going to be somewhat surprised to see which cities topped the list this year.

Are you near any of these stressed out cities? Take a look at the survey results to find a frantic city near you.

But then there are those frustrations that know no geographic bounds. We also learned this week that technology issues really cramp a small business owner’s routine.

A new survey found that 94% of workplaces in the U.S. struggle to use the apps that are supposed to make work easier. Talk about the ultimate frustration!

The news isn’t all so vexing, however. Check out our news roundup below for more headlines that impact small business owners like you in our weekly news and information roundup:

Small Business Operations

66% of Businesses Spend Less Than $10K to Build Their Website

Consider the tremendous potential benefits of having a website. Still, a new report from Visual Objects says a significant number of businesses don’t have one. And when businesses decide to build a site, they avoid spending big. Two-thirds or 66% of businesses spend less than $10,000 to design, build, and launch a website.

Social Media

The Future of Facebook and Messenger: Why It’s Important for Your Business

Messaging is at the core of Facebook’s future, according to Mark Zuckerberg just last week. Facebook’s CEO announced a vision of “a privacy-focused messaging and social networking platform” where people can communicate securely.

Smaller Instagram Profiles – Like the One for Your Business – Less Likely to Use Stories, Data Says

When Instagram first introduced Stories, the conversation was all about the comparison to Snapchat. Today it is a tool used by businesses, influencers and brands to reach and engage with their audience. But according to a new study from Fanpage Karma, small Instagram profiles are less likely to use Stories.

Marketing Tips

Weird Holidays in April: 13 Your Small Business Should Celebrate

April approaches. And this means warmer weather, buds of spring and Easter beckoning. So celebrate this joyful springtime month. And if you own a small business take note. You’ll learn a string of weird and wacky holidays are also on tap. And the savviest small businesses use these celebrations to their advantage when marketing.


The 25 Best Affiliate Marketing Companies in 2019

Small businesses need a simple way to recruit marketers to help sell products. And small online marketers need a simple way to gain commission from the traffic they drive. Affiliate marketing solves both problems. Affiliate marketing involves marketing someone else’s goods and services for a commission. Small businesses can use this model to market their products.

Why Would a Fox News Anchor Leave to Start His Own Small Business?

For most people, being on the number one cable news show in the world would be the highlight of their career. But on this week’s radio show, I talked with Clayton Morris, a former FOX News anchor and member of the Fox and Friends team.


This article, “In the News: Tech Problems May be Stressing Out Your Employees” was first published on Small Business Trends


Linda McMahon to Step Down as Head of the Small Business Administration

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Linda McMahon to Step Down as Head of the Small Business Administration

Linda McMahon is leaving her job as head of the Small Business Administration. Politico reports McMahon will step down as Administrator of SBA.

Linda McMahon to Step Down

This is not a performance-based move. Instead, Trump wants McMahon to head a political action committee for his re-election.

Even though McMahon only stayed a little over two years as head of the SBA, she was the one constant in the Trump administration.

She was also able to stay below the radar, unlike some members of Trump’s cabinet.

There is no word right now on a potential replacement.

The SBA Under Linda McMahon

McMahon was head of SBA for about two years. In February, she marked her two-year anniversary on the job with a post highlighting SBA accomplishments and challenges during her tenure.

“Over the past two years, I have been very proud to be part of the SBA family as well. The team welcomed me with kindness and enthusiasm, and their experience and knowledge have been invaluable to my leadership of this Agency,” she wrote.

She called out the SBA Ignite Tour in which she visited the numerous field offices around the country. And then the SBA Reimagined program aimed to get all those offices delivering a similar message.

Hurricane and Other Disaster Assistance

McMahon says the SBA has approved 144,000 low-interest loans worth more than $7.3 billion to hurricane recovery efforts in the 2017-18 hurricane seasons.

More Jobs

The SBA says it approved more than 65,000 loans worth more than $30 billion last year. Those loans, McMahon says, helped create 670,000 jobs in 2018.

The Appointment to the SBA

On December 8, 2016 Linda McMahon tweeted she was the new head of the SBA.

President-elect Donald Trump appointed her before he officially stepped into the White House. And she was officially confirmed for the job in February 2017. His appointment made her the fifth woman to head the department.

Mrs. McMahon was better known for running World Wrestling Entertainment or WWE with her husband Vince McMahon. When the company went public, it made the couple billionaires.

But she had political ambitions. In 2009 she stepped down as CEO of WWE to run for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut as a Republican. She lost and tried again in 2012, with the same result.

McMahon became a major booster for Donald Trump after she ran for office. She and her husband personally donated millions of dollars to his foundation and later on to his campaign for the Presidency.

The Importance of the Small Business Administration

The SBA supports the more than 32 million small business in the US so they can thrive. Since it was first created in 1953, it has helped entrepreneurs achieve their dreams by providing valuable resources.

The goal of the SBA was and is today to counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business issues. Simply put, it helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses. It does this by providing millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, and other forms of assistance.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, “Linda McMahon to Step Down as Head of the Small Business Administration” was first published on Small Business Trends


The Pope Issued a New Law Against Sexual Abuse

Friday, March 29th, 2019

 Pope Francis on Friday issued sweeping new sex abuse legislation for Vatican personnel and diplomats that requires the immediate reporting of abuse allegations to Vatican prosecutors, a policy shift aimed at being a model for the Catholic Church worldwide.

The mandatory reporting provision, while limited in scope, marks the first time the Vatican has put into law requirements for Catholic officials to report allegations of sex crimes to police or face fines and possible jail time.

Francis also issued child protection guidelines for Vatican City State and its youth seminary, acting after the global sex abuse scandal exploded anew last year and The Associated Press reported that the headquarters of the Catholic Church had no policy to protect children from predator priests.

“I see this as something positive,” Kamil Jarzembowski told the AP.

The law for the first time provides an explicit Vatican definition for “vulnerable people” who are entitled to the same protections as minors under church law. The Vatican amended its canon law covering sex abuse to include “vulnerable adults” in 2010, but never defined it.

According to the new Vatican definition, a vulnerable person is anyone who is sick or suffering from a physical or psychiatric deficiency, isn’t able to exercise personal freedom even on occasion and has a limited capacity to understand or resist the crime, writes


Commodity Exchange with Romania Up by Nearly 7%, Reaching EUR 4.6 billion in 2018

Friday, March 29th, 2019

Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov discussed strengthening trade and economic relations in a meeting with his Romanian counterpart Nicolae Badalau, Minister of Economy and Minister of the business environment, trade and entrepreneurship Romania Stefan-Radu Oprea.

The meeting was in the framework of the joint meeting of the governments of Bulgaria and Romania, which took place today in Bucharest, the press service of the Council of Ministers announced.

    The three discussed the interaction between businesses and organizations from both countries and the development of trade co-operation through the promotion of various forms such as business forums, exhibitions and cooperation on third-country markets.

At the meeting, it became clear that in 2018 the commodity exchange with Romania grew by almost 7 percent and reached 4.6 billion euros.

     ”Romania ranks third among our export destinations in the EU. Reported an increase in Bulgarian exports by over 10 percent last year” said Karanikolov at the meeting.


Bulgaria is Becoming One of the Most Competitive Investment Destinations in Southeastern Europe

Friday, March 29th, 2019

“Bulgaria is recognized as one of the most competitive investment destinations in Southeastern Europe with proven image and good business development and investment in sectors that create environment and high added value.”

This was stated by Deputy Prime Minister for Economic and Demographic Policy Mariana Nikolova during the talks with her Romanian counterpart Viorel Stefan in Bucharest, Romania, the press service of the Council of Ministers announced.

    They also discussed the opportunities for projects, programs and events involving Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia to support entrepreneurship, small and medium-sized enterprises. Promoting joint business forums between companies from the four countries in areas of mutual interest was also among the topics of the meeting.

    Viorel Stephan emphasized the need to build infrastructure links in the fields of energy, transport and the use of common capabilities between the two countries.

    Mariana Nikolova is part of the Bulgarian delegation headed by Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, who participates in the Four-Party Summit between Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Serbia.


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