EDIH Trakia presented services for European SMEs at a forum with experts from Google and Microsoft

The European Digital Innovation Hub “Trakia” (Cyber4AllSTAR), located in Plovdiv and coordinated by the Union for Private Economic Enterprise, took part in the prestigious annual forum “Futurist Expo” in the period 21-23 June, alongside representatives of companies of the rank of Google and Microsoft. Among the forum topics were the future of generative artificial intelligence and the democratization of data.

During the event’s program, EDIH Trakia’s chairman Dr. Hristian Daskalov presented the network of over 150 digital hubs providing grant-funded consultancy and technology services to European SMEs with funding from the European Commission’s Digital Europe program, including the four Bulgarian hubs supported by the Ministry of Innovation and Growth through its managed national Programme for Research, Innovation and Digitalisation for Smart Transformation (PRIDIT).

The participation in the international forum was preceded by a similar event in Vienna, Austria, organized by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT Manufacturing), where EDIH Trakia exchanged good practices with its partners in the Three Seasa axis from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The fruit of this partnership was a joint webinar with AI5Production EDIH (Vienna) and CROBO Hub ++ EDIH (Zagreb) on new European regulations in cyber security, a recording of which is available on the Hub’s YouTube channel.

The Trakia Hub provides grant services in the field of cybersecurity both to companies registered in the South Central Region or one of the other planning regions in the country and upon request to innovators from across the European Union. This is also the practice of the different digital hubs of the pan-European EDIH network. That is why in June EDIH Trakia co-hosted, in the face of the Bulgarian Cyber Security Association, a German business delegation of companies in the field of cyber security, who were in the country at the invitation of the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHG) and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce. The German delegation also visited one of the two Cybersecurity Centers (SOC) at the AHG and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce. Simeonovsko Shose 93, Sofia, where EDIH Trakia implements its technological “Test-before-Invest” services in support of Bulgarian business – penetration tests, risk assessments, cyber-threat research, etc. Miglen Evlogiev – Chairman of BAC, invited German companies to join the innovation ecosystem of the Cyber4AllSTAR project, which is open to our and European innovators working on the Bulgarian market.

In the context of the efforts of the Bulgarian Hub to expand its expert presence in the EU, Mr. Yassen Tanev – Head of the Innovation Eco System of EDIH Trakia, was invited to award “Start-Up” packages for access to services to Bulgarian and foreign start-ups participating in the annual “SpinOff” forum, held on 20-21 June in Sofia Tech Park. HiveReader, BeVine, and Re4Life were awarded by the America for Bulgaria Foundation as part of its “Science with a Future” initiative. During the forum, a parallel workshop was also held under the European Commission’s Horizon program, where experts from EDIH Trakia presented their recommendations and solutions for data protection and intellectual property to innovators from the healthcare sector.

From the profile of the awardees during SpinOff 2024, it can be concluded that the agri-food and biotech sectors are the focus of attention of the cyber-experts from Hub Trakia, but alongside them should also be highlighted the technological entrepreneurs in tourism, healthcare, industrial production. All of the above are key to the Bulgarian economy, while at the same time, there is increased interest in cyber-attacks against them by independently operating and state-sponsored criminal groups.

To address the risk of attacks on industry, Hub Trakia collaborates with sectoral partners, including cluster and industry leaders in the relevant industrial sectors. For example, the chairman of Hub Trakia was invited to lead the “Automotive Forum Bulgaria 2024” organized by Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, which ended a few days ago at Sofia Tech Park with the participation of experts from EDIH Trakia for the second consecutive year. The “Digital Innovation Hub Northwest” is also set to launch under the “Automotive Cluster,” providing services similar to those of EDIH Trakia. Among other things, the first electric car produced in Bulgaria, the Sevic V500e, was presented at the forum. The production base of “Sevic” is located in the heart of the South Central Region, where many of the other innovators presented on stage at the forum were from, including “DS Smith Bulgaria”, “TRI Soft”, “Haikad Infotech”, “RobCo SWAT”, etc.


Just a week earlier, at a round table in Plovdiv, organized at the initiative of BASEL – the Bulgarian Electrical and Electronics Association, experts from the Hub made an open invitation to the industry to take advantage of the free penetration tests in SCADA systems (industrial control systems), which are performed by certified experts from member companies of the Bulgarian Cyber Security Association. SCADA systems have traditionally been one of the most preferred targets for a complex attack by state-sponsored criminal groups and carry the risk of disrupting the entire production process.

The defense industry and the entire security sector are also among the Hub’s priority areas for providing grant training, consultancy, and proactive protection services. Furthermore, EDIH Thrace, in collaboration with the College of Security and Safety “St. George the Victorious,” is behind the initiative to create the profession of “Cybersecurity” within the vocational education and training system in the field of Security and Defense. At events held in Plovdiv and Constanta, Romania, in June, Assoc. Prof. Velizar Shalamanov from the team of the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences – partners in the Cyber4AllSTAR project (EDIH Trakia) presented the activities of the Digital Hub. During the scientific conference accompanying the International Exhibition of Defence Products and Services “Hemus 2024”, Assoc. Prof. Shalamanov moderated the thematic area “Innovations in NATO and EU Defence Technologies”. In Romania, in addition to meeting with the partner digital innovation hub CiTyINNOHub at OVIDIUS UNIVERSITY OF CONSTANTA, Assoc. Prof. Shalamanov also visited the Maritime University of Constanta to deliver a keynote lecture on “EU’s Cybersecurity Roadmap in the Age of Digital Transformation” at the 8th Black Sea Conference on Cybersecurity.

By the end of June, Hub Trakia will present its services and innovation ecosystem to the local community in Plovdiv during an innovation forum organized by the local Vocational School of Electrical Engineering and Electronics (26.06); to the members of the Association of Bulgarian Tour Operators and Travel Agents (ABTTA) during their annual forum in Kyustendil (27-28. 06); during the Academy of Entrepreneurship in Agriculture in Varna (25-28.06), where a workshop on cybersecurity and application of artificial intelligence will be organized; and during the Connecto Forum (25-27.06) in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which officially joined the Digital Europe program of the European Commission at the beginning of June this year.

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