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Factsheet for measure BG-2023-16/3160 – measures in Bulgaria

Initiative to support businesses and municipalities in the digital transformation and improved cybersecurity

Европейски цифров иновационен хъб „Тракия“

Country Bulgaria , applies regionally

    • – BG42 Южен централен (Yuzhen tsentralen)
Time period Temporary, 20 April 2023 – 20 April 2026
Context Digital Transformation, European Semester
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery into a green future
– Other
Author Ekaterina Markova (IPS-Bas) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 May 2023 (updated 13 June 2023)

Background information

The creation of a European Digital Innovation Hub will create an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises in the south-central regions of Bulgaria to increase their technological capacity by taking measures of digital transformation and cyber security.

The European Digital Innovation Hub "Trakia" is a public-private initiative between the Union for Private Economic Initiative, the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, the Bulgarian Cyber Security Association, Plovdiv Paisii Hilendarski University and Plovdiv Municipality. The programme will last for 3 years and is funded by the Digital Europe Programme of the European Commission and the Research, Innovation and Digitalisation for Smart Transformation Programme.

Content of measure

European Digital Innovation Hub 'Trakia' brings together academia, SMEs, large companies, public administrations and branch associations to bridge the gap in digitalisation in Bulgaria. It also focuses on providing cybersecurity expertise to regional, national and European levels of organisation through its established set of diverse connections and memberships.

The Hub is a contractual partner of the regional EEN Network representation and the European Corridor Of Cybersecurity EDIHs (ECCE). The academic and innovation support is provided by the Bulgarian Academy of Science, Plovdiv University, and the University for Library and Informational Technology Studies. The regional government of Plovdiv municipality is also an active member of the Hub 'Trakia,' acting as a bridge between the local public administration, business and academia.

ECIC Thrace offers the following services for small and medium-sized enterprises related to public administrations and industry:

  • Innovation activities related to the identification of opportunities for digitalisation and the development and validation of innovative solutions based on advanced technologies
  • Business development related to helping companies to implement their solutions, assessing business implications and manage the resulting changes
  • Skills creation related to capacity building for innovation through user enrichment

Use of measure

The aim of the European Digital Innovation Hub "Trakia" is to support municipal structures and small and medium-sized enterprises in the south-central region of Bulgaria to take part in the digital transformation, improve their network security, and attract foreign and national investments in industries with high added value.

According to Svetlin Iliev, the chairman of the European Digital Innovation Hub "Trakia", more than 30 trainings have been held for representatives of the Plovdiv municipal administration and representatives of local businesses in the field of cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. In the period February-March 2023, 13 trainings were held under the "Cybersecurity Fundamentals" program, 2 trainings under the "Ethical Hacking" program and 2 trainings under the "Application of Artificial Intelligence" program with representatives of over 30 small and medium-sized enterprises, public institutions and schools from the region.

The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences devotes 12 issues of Cyber Security Newsletter on the activities of the European Digital Innovation Hub 'Trakia'.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers SMEs
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Employers' organisations
Company / Companies
Local / regional government
EU (Council, EC, EP)
European Funds
National funds
National Recovery and Resilience Facility

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Not applicable Any other form of consultation, institutionalised (as stable working groups or committees) or informal

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Only employers' organisations
  • Main level of involvement: Regional or local level


The nationally representative employers' organisation, Union of Private Economic Enterprise, is coordinating the project of the European Digital Innovation Hub 'Trakia'.

Views and reactions

"The European Digital Innovation Hub "Trakia" will lead small and medium-sized enterprises in the south central region and municipal structures towards digital transformation and network security" - announced Ms. Vaska Baklarova, President of the Union for Private Economic Enterprise. "This is a key undertaking, uniting the needs of Bulgarian business in the face of small and medium-sized enterprises, to support their path to digital transformation and cybersecurity".

"We are building a cyber-polygon where innovative companies, students and scholars can test their products, skills, develop them further and prepare personnel to enter the labour market. In terms of European funding, our project is highly rated in Bulgaria - 28th out of 140 in Europe. We wear the badge of being the best. We also have challenges. The money invested so far is over €3 million, and we aim to attract at least as much by the end of the project from companies and people who believe in this idea.", said Svetlin Iliev, Chairman of European Digital Innovation Hub "Trakia" in the "Business Start" programme on Bloomberg TV Bulgaria.


  • 26 January 2023: The Union for Business Initiative announced the start of the strategic project: European Digital Innovation Hub "Thrace" (
  • 01 March 2023: Cyber Security Newsletter (
  • 20 April 2023: European Digital Innovation Hub "Thrace" is being created (
  • 25 April 2023: The new innovation hub "Trakia" is preparing to open the first cyber training ground in Bulgaria (


Eurofound (2023), Initiative to support businesses and municipalities in the digital transformation and improved cybersecurity, measure BG-2023-16/3160 (measures in Bulgaria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.