Burgas Free University (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 4300-4309
ISBN: 978-84-09-24232-0
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2020.0955
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Bulgaria has undergone a significant transformation over the past three decades. It has changed from a highly centralized, planned economy to an open, market-based, upper-middle-income economy securely anchored in the EU. Over the last ten years, Bulgaria has had economic growth which was above the average EU levels (66 % and second place after Slovakia). Bulgaria has positioned itself as a leader in the Balkans in the ranking of the Boston Consulting Group on sustainable economic development and wellbeing based on a set of economic indicators; investment in education, healthcare and infrastructure, and sustainable development.

This research paper summarizes some of the results of project „Indexing the Regional Innovative Levels in the Sectors of the Economy (IRISI)- scenario for the identified in the ISSS four priority thematic areas for smart specialization and their positioning towards the circular economy” under National Scientific Fund of the Ministry of the Education. The aim of the project is to provide a model for indexing the innovation activity of the companies at national (macro level) and regional level (micro level in two regions), depending on their sectoral affiliation (under NACE) and establishing inconsistencies analysis) to the already identified priority thematic areas at the end of the implementation period of the Integrated Intelligent Specialization Strategy (ISIS).The main research thesis is that a new model of indexing of the innovation activity of business units and their regional concentration should be set, which should not only correspond to the available capacities and assets but also to the specific advantages of a circular economy. For this purpose, a survey was conducted in order to collect primary empirical information for innovation processes and results in Bulgarian SMEs based on international databases. The particular goal was to analyze and evaluate the present state of SME’s innovation capacity by examination of available data for economic state of Bulgarian companies. The paper examines the correlation of various strategic innovation success factors on SMEs’ innovation activity and the related decision-making process.

The purpose of the study is
1 / to determine the significance of the factors of innovation capacity of enterprises to foster business innovation activities of businesses;
2 / to evaluate the factors importance for innovation activity of the surveyed enterprises
3 / to assess their impact on business innovations in the activities of the surveyed enterprises.

The research approach is based on the use of statistical methods for processing and analysis of empirical information provided to the authors from a previous stage of the project activity WP 1., including field research on 150 business entities from Southeast and Southwest regions in Bulgaria focusing on their behavior, management and innovation activity.

The empirical data is a result of a survey conducted among Bulgarian companies. The approach for grading the answers of the respondent to note their opinion about the influence of a relevant factor is the Likert scale.The results did not confirm the expectations for the outline of pronounced factors on which each of the considered business innovations depends. It could be assumed there’s no dominant factor, determining innovation activities in SMEs, but a set of factors, influencing innovation process.
SME, innovation activity, factors.