In October of 2016, CEED Bulgaria surveyed 100 SMEs and discovered 99% were interested in learning about innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) models for business growth and to make their companies more competitive. Swiss companies have been recognized as best in class in their CSR practices therefore, CEED Bulgaria partnered with The Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE) in order to impart best practices and practical tips to Bulgarian SMEs based on the Swiss experience.
The project aims to show Bulgarian SMEs how to achieve a better reputation, attract new loyal clients and partners, and demonstrate how they differentiate from others in their industry through CSR. A CSR awareness campaign will be a fundamental part of the project implementation. It will result in provoking and motivating the Bulgarian businesses to be more socially and environmentally responsible and to understand the importance of doing fair business in compliance with the regulations.
3 weeks after defining the business needs of the Bulgarian SMEs, the Swiss Institute for Entrepreneurship (SIFE) developed a training program on CSR and business development to be conducted by Bulgarian experts during the project. From February 20-24 a “train-the-trainer” workshop between Swiss and Bulgarian experts was conducted in Switzerland in order to finalize and adapt the training modules to the needs of the Bulgarian SMEs.
The Swiss experience and best practices shared during the project implementation aimed to show SMEs how to achieve a better reputation, attract new loyal clients and partners, be more successful and recognizable through CSR. Next year, CEED Bulgaria and SIFE will implement a practical training program for more than 200 Bulgarian SMEs from across the country. A CSR awareness campaign will be a fundamental part of the project implementation. The goal of this training is to demonstrate the importance of doing fair business and implementing more socially and environmentally friendly practices.
After the implementation of the training program, a CSR Demo Day will be organized to showcase the most innovative CSR practices from Bulgaria, and six companies will be awarded a business trip to Switzerland. Meetings with potential partners will be set up for each team, as well as consultations with Swiss experts. A Conference will be organized at the end of the project, for companies to showcase their initiatives to other companies, potential partners and potential and existing customers.
In 2016 CEED Bulgaria successfully implemented the “Green Innovations in Business” project which worked with more than 200 Bulgarian entrepreneurs to improved their skills on green innovative business models. CEED Bulgaria is strongly committed to raising awareness about the benefits of CSR practices to the Bulgarian SMEs with the support of the Swiss.