A delegation of the International Bank for Economic Co-operation, headed by a member of the Board Boyko Kotsev, took part in the international conference "Financial support for SMEs – SIMExpo 2021". The event, which took place in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, was organized by the Bulgarian Agency for the Support of Small and Medium Enterprises and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the support of the European Union. Among the participants were Bulgarian and European businessmen, representatives of Bulgarian and European business associations, representatives of key Bulgarian and European development institutions, including the EBRD, European Investment Fund, Bulgarian Development Bank, Bulgarian Investment Agency.
As part of the panel discussion, participants discussed the opportunities that European financial institutions provide for the SME sector, mechanisms for supporting socially responsible businesses and start-ups, and the use of state and municipal guarantees. Also among the key topics of the conference were the investment opportunities of the Bulgarian economy, examples of successful national and regional investment clusters.
At the conference, IBEC representatives presented the Bank's products and projects. Boyko Kotsev made a general presentation of the IBEC, focusing on the Bank's activity on the Bulgarian market and the positive experience of supporting small and medium-sized businesses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is symbolic, that it was Bulgaria, where IBEC began its credit history on the European market by placing a bond issue for BGN 68 million. And total IBEC investments in the Bulgarian economy have exceeded EUR 230 million over the past three years.
Director of the Client Relations Department Alexandra Matveeva spoke about the opportunities and tools that IBEC provided for financing international trade, and the benefits of cooperation with national financial institutions in the framework of the implementation of foreign trade contracts.
The IBEC delegation also held a series of meetings, both on the sidelines of the conference and on an individual basis. In particular, at the meeting with the President of the holding Glavbolgarstroy Kamen Peshev, the parties discussed participation of IBEC in the development of the Regional Logistics Hub project, which is being implemented in Varna. Opportunities of IBEC make it possible to consider, among other things, financing of suppliers from the member countries of the Bank. At a meeting with Mr. Malinov, CEO of Bulgartransgaz EAD, one of the major Bulgarian partners of IBEC, the parties covered the perspectives of expanding the cooperation, including with the use of trade finance products and cash management.
Other issues that were in IBEC focus related to the development of municipalities and urban infrastructure. During the visit to the Kozloduy community, IBEC delegation had a meeting with the Deputy Mayor, Mr. Kirkov, at which the “smart city” project was presented, and the parties considered the possibilities of the Bank's financial participation in its implementation. At a meeting with the mayor of the Primorsko community, Mr. Germanov, the parties discussed IBEC products and issues regarding raising funds for the modernization of municipal water purification systems.