Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Bulgaria represent 99,8% of the total private sector of the country which is slightly higher than the EU27 average in 2013 (Eurostat). They represent 76% of the total employment and 61% of added value. In those terms SMEs are the most significant part of the Bulgarian and European economy, affecting directly both the financial and the social aspects of the economic life.
During the last years SMEs in Bulgaria and in the region faced several negative trends as a result of the world economic and financial crisis – deterioration of employment rates, reduced demand due to lower purchasing power, pressure to improve their productivity levels and to diversify their markets, slowness in adaptation than larger firms. The reasons are to be found in SMEs’ lack of crisis management skills and their higher share of low skilled labour.
After this period, SMEs are now trying to adopt new business models and development paths. In this new effort, SMEs have to face several challenges which in turn create multiple needs of consulting support. The main challenges are:
- reduced competitiveness due to high operating costs and low adaptation to technological developments
- organization of production and marketing activities based on outdated business models, with low use of ICT and lack of investment in R&D
- inability of approaching the financial system because of the crisis’ intensity and the poor banking sector performance
- low adaptation capacity to business initiatives of high added value and high future demand
- weakness of exploiting EU initiatives and funding programs, both because of the failure of Central Government to accelerate the processes and because of the lack of strategic business choices from the majority of SMEs
As the major consulting provider in the area, we have already in place a modern and integrated service portfolio to assist SMEs in overcoming these challenges and fulfil their new needs. This portfolio is based on five strategic pillars:
- Financial reengineering and exploitation of new financial instruments for investment and working capital funding
- Operational and organizational adjustment to adapt into new market conditions
- Modernization of business infrastructure to catch up with latest technology standards and international market needs
- Development of new high value products/services using local advantages and reinforcement of exporting capabilities
- Introduction of R&D activities either in-house or through participation in R&D projects of independent R&D institutes
Using a unique diagnostic and service delivery methodology and leveraging a wide network of high level field experts, PLANET BULGARIA becomes a valuable partner for SMEs towards the fulfilment of their new goals and ambitions.