THE ACADEMY OF BUSINESS STRATEGY - BULGARIA
EMILIA RADIVOEVA (AGP) MD
ASSOCIATE GLOBAL PARTNER (AGP)
GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION: Sofia (Bulgaria)
Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe with remains of prehistoric settlements dating back 7000 years. Through the centuries many nations have inhabited it and added to its rich and diverse history. The original Thracian city dates back to 700 BC grew up alongside local mineral springs which are still renowned today praised for its numerous qualities. From the 1st to 4th centuries AD it was a Roman town of Serdica named after the Serdi tribe which inhabited the region. Destroyed by the Huns in 447 it was later rebuilt by Justinian I, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire / Byzantine Empire/. Sofia became part of the First Bulgarian Empire in the 9th century and took the Bulgarian name of Sredetz until it felt again to the Byzantine Empire. The town grew and prospered from 12th to 14th centuries becoming a thriving craft and trading centre. During this period the city was named Sofia from the oldest church Sofia Hagia Church built during the time of Justinian I. In Greek language Sofia means wisdom. Towards the end of the 14th century it was seized by the Ottoman Empire and became the capital of the Ottoman Province of Rumelia. In 1878 the city was liberated by the Russians and it became the capital of the Principality of Bulgaria in 1879 rapidly changing its image from Oriental to European. During the years the city has blossomed into the lively capital as it is today.
Sofia is the capital of Republic of Bulgaria and its largest city with a population of over 1.5 million inhabitants representing 20 per cent of national population. It is the 15th largest city in European Union. The metropolitan region covers 38 cities which is around 2 per cent of the country. Sofia contributes to the creation of more that 34 per cent of Bulgaria’s GDP. The city GDP growth rate has consistently exceeded the national average for the last several years. Sofia is the major governmental, economic and business centre of Bulgaria. As can be expected of one capital city Sofia concentrates the country universities, institutions and banks but also it offers many attractions, galleries, museums, theatres and entertainment places. With its numerous middle and high class hotels it is preferred location for conference tourism and transit point for incoming tourists interested in the constantly growing winter and sea tourism in Bulgaria. Situated in the western part of the country it lies in the heart of the Sofia plateau dominated by the Balkan Mountains to the north and the Vitosha Mountain to the south. Vitosha maintain is nature park being not only a great tourist center with ski tracks but fascinates with its natural phenomena like Boyana waterfall, stone rivers, interesting caves. In the foot of the Vitosha mountain is situated the famous for its frescoes Boyana Church which is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Today Sofia and the country benefits from accession in EU in 2007, gaining credibility and economic stability. Sofia is definitely on the up and the city motto “Ever growing, never old” is true still today.
Future of Sofia logically follows any analysis of future development of Bulgaria country as it is the capital city, the most developed region and naturally mostly benefiting from the current and future local and foreign investments. The development of Bulgaria is very much due to its strategic position in the Balkans connecting Adriatic Sea and Central Europe with the Black sea and Aegean seas and quick access to EU markets, Russia, Turkey, Middle East and Africa. It is acknowledged that it is the European crossroad with five transport corridors passing through the country territory which is a great opportunity for continuous EU supporting investments and programs. Big advantage and base for further strong development is the accession of Bulgaria during 2007 in European Community which is the biggest economy union representing 25% of the world economy and 500 mill consumers with free movement of goods and capital. Continuous work in unification of Bulgarian with European legal and labor laws, consumer protection and goods quality is also a good basis for constant growth of the export and import. Currently more than 50 per cent of the country commercial activities are within the EU markets. Bulgaria shows macroeconomic stability for now still keeping the fixed currency exchange rate EUR to Bulgarian Leva, the national currency, since 1997. Without any doubt low tax level in Bulgaria /flat 10 per cent corporate and personal/ is competitive advantage which has been bringing high foreign investments in the country and for the moment there are no indications for short or medium term changes in the tax regulations. Together with the favourable taxes, the low operational costs like land’s price, rents and services, decrease of administrative burden and development of e-government increase the internal and external business interest. Relatively high qualified labor at lower cost in comparison to other European countries, large number of universities and very good English, German, French language level by young and middle-age people also attract foreign investments. From business perspective Sofia is most attractive with concentration of the fifth of the workforce in Bulgaria with unemployment rate of 3.5 per cent for 2010. Following all said above, most international companies concentrate their headquarters and management teams in Sofia with small business units at the east of the country, mainly on the Black sea region. Being the European boarder to Macedonia, Serbia, Albania most multinational companies are clustering these countries in one unit with management based in Sofia. Also a good tendency during recent years is that Sofia is becoming an outsourcing destination for multinational companies like Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Siemens etc due to multi-language specialist, well developed Internet connection and lower operational costs comparing to other EU countries. The analysis shows that the energy, construction, real estate, finance, business services, transport and telecommunication sectors are showing the higher growth rate currently and in the years to come. Even though a lot has been done, there is still a lot to be done by the Bulgarian government so to increase the country image and business climate – for example decrease administrative corruption, bureaucracy and dramatically improve infrastructure. Here of course should be listed also some specific development priorities for Sofia: achieving a new standard of urban environment; modernization of the city transport infrastructure; improving the basis for sport and youth entertainment activities and school environment – effective management of municipal resources in education. Sofia is a candidate for European cultural capital city for 2019 under one of the oldest European initiatives.
Global Partner status (Associate – Executive – Senior): Associate
Country of registration: Bulgaria
City of registration: Sofia
Direct selling model consultancy
Alliances design & implementation
Business process re-design
Marketing and sales incentives strategy
New market business entry
INDUSTRY SECTOR EXPERIENCE:
Industrial tools and equipment
QUALIFICATIONS AND EDUCATIONAL ESTABLISHMENT:
MD Accounting and auditing – Economic University Varma Bulgaria
Russian good level
Still fresh university graduate in MD Accounting and Auditing and full of enthusiastic energy I have entered the fascinating Business world. In 1994 I have started as Head of finance and Administration in the Bulgarian subsidiary of Sandvik AB. The company is manufacturing and selling industrial tool, equipment and tools for mining and construction industries as well as stainless steel. My responsibilities included general accounting management, preparation of all financial statements and reports to local Bulgarian authorities and Sandvik Sweden Corporation. Main achievement during the period is implementation of Scala accounting software for accounting and integration of Bulgarian and European general ledgers and implementation of cost control processes. After one year of maternity leave I have joined the cosmetic industry which much more corresponded to my female nature. At the end of 1999 I was employed as a Financial Manager by the World Leader in Direct Selling -Avon Products Inc /more than 10 bill revenue and 125 years of history/ which was opening its subsidiary in Bulgaria. During the next two challenging years with Sales growth of 150 per cent YOY, Representatives / free distributors/ growth 200% YOY I was building the financial department, implementing financial systems / from local to SUN system/ , reporting systems to Bulgarian authorities and to US GAAP Corporate center, implementing financial, administrative and controlling processes including Serbanes- Oxley. Financial department in the corporation fully owns the profit and 3-5 strategic planning as well as monthly reporting of the entire business results. In 2004 I was leading the financial and administrative Market entry projects in Macedonia and in 2006 in Albania. The two countries reported to Bulgarian subsidiary, does enlarging my scope of responsibilities, reporting down-line and cross-cultural experience in a corporate matrix structure as Financial Manager Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. In 2003 I have received the Leadership and Financial reporting development awards for the Europe, Middle East and Africa cluster. After 10 years in accounting and finance I was looking for some change to feed the need of challenges and new experience. The opportunity came with the position of Business Development and Planning Manager for Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania within the same company – Avon Cosmetics which I was offered in 2006. The position responsibilities included development and execution of strategies to support the sales growth opportunities, strategic long term business planning and strategic projects – alliances, monitor the CFT market, retail and direct selling competitors. Main achievements on the position: Project leader for SEE / South Eastern Europe/ in the CEE regional project concerning redesign of full business model following the change of campaign cycle from 28 to 21 days. Project team consisted from 20 people from 9 SEE countries; project on time and on planned KPIs growth. Leader of the project: Alliance with Mobile Operator in Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. Planning, bidding, contracting and implementation of Alliance servicing more that 40 000 representatives as one closed unit group, differential tariffs quarterly updated for all sales force levels, quarterly marketing loyalty and bonus programs, cross-selling activities. Project results – 30 per cent decrease of communication costs on corporate and independent sales force levels.* Leader of the project : Co-branded credit cards for Avon Representatives in Bulgaria. Planning, bidding, contracting and implementation of exclusive credit card with design and financial parameters to all representatives. Increase operational service level with implementation of on-line payment option within the corporate site, special loyalty and bonus scheme as added value to the card; cross –selling activity from both Alliance companies. Alongside with all kinds of credit card promotion to Avon representatives, launch of the project included road show of presentations, trainings and advertising in 20 cities across the country.* Leader of the project: Alliance with Travel agency on corporate and representative level. Planning, bidding, contracting and implementation of special services for Avon representatives with exclusive travel and recreation offers, loyalty programs, cross selling activities. On corporate level the Alliance offered exclusive service for all business travelling, meetings, quite intensive events and conferences which brought 25 per cent cost savings in the 1st year. In 2009 due to restructuring and re-clustering in Central and South Europe, I took the position of Senior Manager Business Integration / Development/ for 6 countries – Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. Responsibilities included strategic long and short term business planning for the sub-cluster; design and implementation of sales force commission schemes, develop and implement annual and quarter strategic programs, internal and external communication, strategic project management. In autumn 2010 I have accepted new position on regional level CSE Senior Project Manager, leader of a project targeting review, redesign and alignment of core business processes in the cluster matrix organization with a cross-functional and cross-country team of 10 people.
Global Partner preferred location
To contact Emilia Radivoeva (AGP), please forward an email to the Academy of Business Strategy.