#GenerationD – a campaign in support of digital entrepreneurship – was officially launched on Thursday, 24th of September 2015 in Sofia’s House of Europe.
American IT giant Google, in partnership with GERB Entrepreneurs, GERB Youth and EPP MEP Eva Paunova, gave its first conference in Bulgaria on the subject of ‘Young Entrepreneurs in the Digital Age’, launching the #GenerationD campaign. The session was chaired by Ms Paunova, GERB’s Mayoral candidate for Sofia Yordanka Fandakova and Google’s Public Policy Manager Georgios Mavros.
Ms Fandakova expressed her commitment to making Sofia a regional centre of Europe’s digital single market, citing advancements in e-governance, smart traffic control and public transportation as examples of the capital’s potential. She also re-stated the Municipality’s intention to make its data publically available as soon as possible.
Mr Mavros congratulated Bulgaria on having some of the most capable and talented IT specialists in the world and confirmed that Sofia could become the start-up hub of the Balkans. He also introduced some of the initiatives that Google has in store to encourage digital entrepreneurship across the continent, including plans to organise IT courses for up to 1 million Europeans by the end of 2016.
Ms Paunova spoke about the impending changes in the technology sector, which will require all stakeholders in the market economy to be well-informed and computer literate. She pointed out that Bulgaria is the first country in the world to introduce coding in its primary school curriculum and that this should be widely publicised as part of the country’s international ‘brand’.
Opening the event, together with GERB Youth’s Georg Georgiev, GERB Entrepreneurs head Valya Chilova said ‘We live in a very different era, a brand new economic model is being created. We can no longer afford to talk about entrepreneurship without thinking about its digital aspect, about cloud computing and digital manufacturing’.
The conference was attended by over 180 members of the public and business representatives, as well as Google’s Public Policy and Government Relations Manager for Central and Eastern Europe Marcin Olender.