BULGARIA INTERVIEWS

GERGANA ATANASOVA: BEING A PART OF THE CHANGE

Renewable energy has immense potential for helping humanity to put climate change under control. But it is more than that. Thanks to the development of modern technologies that made it more affordable, it is now a new field of opportunities for individual investors of different sizes and intentions. How? With companies such as G-Energy. The company not only designs and builds photovoltaic systems – its product, G-Energy Invest, is for individuals who want a safe investment for their money with quick return and long period of pure profit.

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FRENCH AMBASSADOR JOËL MEYER

The stylish French residence in Central Sofia is indeed a very special place. For about 100 years, in addition to being the home of French ambassadors, it has been the meeting spot of senior dignitaries. One of the most notable events there was the famous breakfast with Bulgarian intellectuals, hosted by then President François Mitterrand, a few months before the collapse of Communism in 1989. One of them, Professor Zhelyu Zhelev, would later go on to become the first democratically elected president of Bulgaria.

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NATALIA PETROVA: LET'S TALK ABOUT MODERN INVESTMENT

Natalia Petrova has over 20 years of experience in asset management, capital markets, equity and fixed income trading, UCITS products and services, and is a licensed investment consultant, broker and trader with government securities. Natalia Petrova is the CEO of Concord Asset Management, the biggest non-bank asset manager in Bulgaria, but her active roles are more.

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KATYA MACHUGANOVA: THE GAMES AI PLAYS

Women are increasingly making their own way into iGaming: as players, creators and developers. Katya Machuganova is one of them. The iGaming and digital media professional became producer and product owner at GAN, the US leading online gaming platform, in just a couple of years, after she decided to leave her established business and career path and explore new territories. Today, the mother of two girls is an ISTQB Certified Quality Assurance specialist, Master in Digital Media and Video Games and is studying Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer.

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KENNETH MERTEN

Three times an ambassador (in Haiti, Croatia and now in Bulgaria) Kenneth Merten has a wide-ranging career in various positions within the US State Department, including in the office of the director general of the foreign service. His postings abroad include the American Embassy in Paris, in Bonn (at the time of German Unification), at the US mission to the EU in Brussels and at the American Embassy in Paris.

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KRASIMIRA HRISTOVA: FEMALE ENERGY IN THE CAR INDUSTRY

Antifreeze, AdBlue® diesel exhaust fluid, windshield wiping fluid, grease... When drivers and car mechanics in Bulgaria and the Balkans buy such crucial products, they often choose one brand in particular. TSAKI has been around since 1989, but had only started manufacturing products for the car industry in the late 2000s. This crucial change took place under the helm of Krasimira Hristova, the second generation of managers in this family owned company.

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NANCY SCHILLER, AMERICA FOR BULGARIA FOUNDATION

It has funded over 1,000 projects in all corners of Bulgaria and has reached thousands of people. It provides support to local partners in many areas: from encouraging private enterprise to building democratic institutions and fostering tourism. Nancy Schiller has been the president and CEO of the ABF for the past seven years, and my first question to her as we sit in the beautifully restored ABF office, a fine example of early 20th century architecture in central Sofia, is to briefly describe how ABF started and where it is heading.

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GENERATION DATA

Data science has the power to provide invaluable insight for the competitive advantage of businesses. When analyzed by experts, it can bring actionable information to the organization when it needs it most – enabling companies to measure, track and record performance as well as facilitate enhanced decision-making.

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MARGARITA STANCHEVA: RECRUITING PASSION

Margarita Stancheva is one of those people who challenge stereotypes as they breathe: she is young, she runs one of the hottest recruitment agencies on the IT market, she is a young mother and is refreshingly candid when talking about business and her life. Her professional journey started in Tokyo, where she studied HR and management at the Temple University Japan, while working as a model and a kitchen helper to support herself. After she graduated in 2011, she worked for Luxsoft, Paysafe and Uber until, in 2017, she decided to continue on her own.

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TEODOR DOBREV: SEEKING NEW CHALLENGES EVERY DAY

Perseverance, ambition, enthusiasm to learn and to adapt to the everchanging game are qualities crucial for the success of any company in the competitive IT field. Telelink Business Services is a case in point. The Bulgarian company was established in 2004 as a system integration provider, the following year it was already a CISCO Gold partner. The 2010s were a time of both geographical and portfolio expansion: TBS stepped on the market in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Albania and North Macedonia, and broadened its services and solutions.

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UNLEASHING THE POTENTIAL OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

Celebrating 30 years on a market is an achievement for any company in our fast-moving world. This is even truer in the quickly changing and highly competitive field of advertisement and PR. Interpartners, a Bulgarian communication group, has done just that. It started in 1992 as a company for full advertisement services to become an ecosystem of organisations for strategic communication and branding with many loyal and satisfied clients, including some of Bulgaria's top brands.

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ALL ROADS I TAKE LEAD TO PLOVDIV

The interview with Dr Bonka Mutafchiyska, a leading dentist with almost 20 years of practice, was not an ordinary one. We wanted to know more about the personality of the founder of the outstanding Mutafchiyska Dent Clinic, in Plovdiv. We invited her for a leisurely walk along Plovdiv's main street. Surprisingly, it was next to impossible to have our planned introductory conversation. Every couple of steps some local would stop Dr Mutafchiyska to say a brief "Hi," to discuss with her some new local problem or an upcoming event.

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VLADIMIR SPASOV: TURNING STEEL INTO MOTION

When talking about successful business stories in Bulgaria, M+S Hydraulic PLC is one of the best examples. Based in Kazanlak, in the Valley of Roses and Thracian Kings, it will soon celebrate 60 years on the market. In these years, it has constantly evolved and adapted its activities to stay relevant, both in the pre-1989 planned economy and in the free, globalised market of today as a manufacturer of hydraulic orbital motors and steering units used in wide variety of sectors.

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PETAR TORNEFF: EXPLORING THE METAVERSE

How will technology develop and how will it affect the way we live and do business? This is a tough question that has engaged the brightest minds of our time. Accenture is an organization that does not only consider the subject, but takes active action in implementing the future of technology now. Its concept for the Metaverse Continuum is a spectrum of digitally enhanced worlds, realities and business models that will revolutionize life and enterprise in the next decade.

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VLADIMIR DOKOV: CHANGING THE GAME

Euro Games Technology (EGT) is an example of the concept that everything is possible when the right goals are set, and innovation goes together with strategic management and a winner’s mindset.

Established as a local manufacturer in 2002, EGT has grown to a tech-leader in the global gaming and casino industry, selling in five continents in over 100 countries. It has offices in 26 global locations managed by Bulgarians, who have built their careers within the company.

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TSVETELINA SPIRIDONOVA, MD, PHD: IN THE NAME OF THE PATIENT

When Tsvetelina Spiridonova, MD, PhD, took over Higia Hospital in early 2019, she had big shoes to fill. Established in 1991 by her father, Professor Stayko Spiridonov, as the first private hospital not only in post-Communist Bulgaria, but also Eastern Europe, Higia was widely respected for the quality of its treatment. Dr Spiridonova was more than prepared for the responsibility to continue pushing forward Higia's brand.

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SILVIA VESELINOVA: ENERGY TO MOVE AHEAD

Silvia Veselinova welcomes us to the new offices of Idea Buildings where she is surrounded by smiling colleagues and a multitude of tulips. The construction company she runs has just moved into a new space in a modern office building "to shake up some energy" and to mark the beginning of a new phase in its development.

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ITALIAN AMBASSADOR GIUSEPPINA ZARRA

Giuseppina Zarra is no novice to the Balkans. She is one of the rare breed of diplomats who have made a comeback to Sofia after her initial spell here in the 1990s. Then she served as a first secretary, now she is the host of Italy's palatial embassy on Ruski Boulevard, in the middle of Bulgaria's capital. Zarra's love affair with Bulgaria ranges from literature to music and from history to exploring the hidden treasures of Sofia.

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