Honesty is the foundation of partnership

Every contract is an open or a closed door into the future

Stoyan Stavrev:

Honesty is the foundation of partnership

Снимка: EconomyMagazine

240 ~ 8 мин. четене
Автор: Tatyana Yavasheva

Stoyan Stavrev is the manager and owner of Bulgarian Consultancy Organization EOOD. The company is a leader in the provision of services to public and private organizations, in order to increase their institutional and production capacity, as well as in the development of policies and managing of projects, funded by the European funds, the national budget and various financial institutions. Stoyan Stavrev is co-chair of the committees for European programs, projects and education at KRIB.

Mr. Stavrev, has consulting business found its place to become the link that business and institutions cannot do without?

Providing expert assistance, like any other service, is relevant only if it is at the necessary level of depth and if it contributes to the realization of the idea to which it relates. The role of the consultant is not only to ensure that the project meets the formal requirements of the procedure. To a much greater extent, it is expected to add value to the original idea by further developing and upgrading it. Therefore, in addition to professional knowledge and skills, a substantial life experience is required.

What is the specialization of the Bulgarian Consultancy Organization?

BKO EOOD is a company that operates in a specific niche of the consulting business - it provides expert technical assistance to various administrative structures and private companies to carry out their general and specific functions. Over the years, we have contributed to the programming and evaluation of operational programs, to the enhancement of the capacity of the administrations of various executive and judiciary authorities, to planning and programming processes at local and regional level. We have helped a number of business ventures to be successful, as well. We have built a relationship of trust with our customers and we are working on increasingly important and strategically significant contracts.

How did you get into the consulting business?

One of the reasons for us to build a successful company, together with the whole team, is due to the fact that we have managerial and administrative experience. It has been accumulated in the years when we were part of the teams responsible for the preparation and admission of our country to the European Union. Therefore, it was natural for me to use my expertise and experience to continue doing what I knew best but in the private sector. It turned out to be a lot harder than I imagined at first, but we still managed to keep it going for over 10 years. Now I have the confidence that we are among the leading consulting companies in the country.

How did you manage to stay on for that long?

With a lot of work and sleepless nights for the whole team, but mostly thanks to the trust and the recognition of our partners for the proper execution of our commitments.

What is your strength as a consulting organization?

Our strength is in the hard work and the good team, in the creativity, the new approach to each idea and every client. Thanks to them we managed to build a good reputation. The people we work with believe in us and know that we will not mislead them.

And what is your strength as the business leader of this organization?

I think the strength of everybody who needs to make decisions on a daily basis is not to be afraid of the new challenges. In the audacity ... For me, the greatest recognition comes when the people I work with share that they appreciate the atmosphere we have created together.

At one point it seemed very tempting to be a consultant. Everyone who had a bit of experience in a given field believed that as a consultant one would enjoy easy money. But ...

This, again, is a matter of how you imagine your role. Whether you want to be just an expert in providing formal consultations, or you are aiming to give more than that to your partner. Consulting business offers a lot of dynamics when it does not provide ready-made solutions. Requirements and regulatory framework are changing and so do clients' needs and expectations. The EU's general conditions and policies, as well as the objectives and tools to achieve them, are changing. While getting acquainted with the requirements of a programming period, we are actually starting to prepare for the next one. We are now facing the new challenge of the requirements and regulations for the programming period 2021-2027. It is characterized by a modified financing approach. The focus will increasingly be on financial instruments as a tool for ensuring multiplication of European money by attracting own capital for investment in viable projects.

You work on various European programs. Where do you have the greatest achievements?

For us the greatest recognition is the fact that, together with our partners UBB and FLAG Fund, we have gained the trust of the Fund of funds to manage the resources allocated under the OP "Regions in Growth" for the implementation of urban development and tourism projects on the territory of the city of Sofia and all southern Bulgaria.

The funds amounting to over BGN 340 million are loans with built-in guarantees targeting a wide range of potential final beneficiaries - municipalities and municipal enterprises, private companies, public-private partnerships, individuals and others. I urge businesses to take advantage of the favourable conditions the fund offers. This will help implement more projects to the benefit of local communities.

This is undoubtedly a success. What kind of opportunities does it give you?

It gives us the chance to be pioneers among the consulting companies and gain specific know-how in the area of financial instruments, which are about to take up an increasingly greater share of the EU funding.

There are many challenges in front of you. Which one would you like to point out?

In the last two years, the development of the regional investment studies, on the basis of which investments amounting to nearly 400 million leva will be made in the water supply and sewerage systems of the districts of Varna, Rousse, Dobrich and Silistra. The improvement of the quality of life of the population of a large part of North-eastern Bulgaria and the fulfilment of the objectives of OP "Environment" depend on the implementation of this project. We are convinced that together with the MRDPW and MoEW teams we will be able to overcome all the challenges we face.

Can you sum up what is the profile of the applicant for EU funding, who becomes a beneficiary and successfully implements projects?

The candidate who is well informed about the opportunities provided by the program is successful. Only then can one make a purposeful and motivated choice, determine what they want to achieve and have confidence in the success of their project.

What is the role of the consultant at that point?

The consultant should provide his client with accurate information. Even when this might make them hesitant in their decision to submit a project proposal. In business, a well-reasoned negative response is highly appreciated by people who value the “time” factor.

Have you managed to find out what is the profile of the successful consultant whom the business values?

I think business values the honest approach to communicating between partners. No one can remain long on the market unless they are being exact with their customers. Only then comes the professionalism of the team.

What is the principle you adhere to in the consulting business?

To fulfil the commitments we have made, according to the agreed terms with the customer, and for both sides to be happy with our collaboration. I have repeatedly experienced first-hand that there are no "small" contracts. Every contract is an open or a closed door into the future.

What do you think can be improved in the work of the Bulgarian administration regarding the European projects? Where do "pebbles in the shoe" still exist?

The Bulgarian administration has gone a long way and gained considerable experience with European projects. In my opinion, it suffers from the same lack of self-confidence that our society does. It seems to me that having better self-esteem will be of great help in asserting Bulgaria's positions. Let's not forget that we are a full member of the EU with all the rights this position gives us.

Education, training - a lot has been said on this topic. What is the focus on which you will put an emphasis?

This issue is particularly important for the Bulgarian society. Education can keep our children in Bulgaria and improve the performance of the economy. At the same time, without the employers making a purposeful effort to build upon university knowledge and turn it into work skills during the work process, without the desire of young people to learn, and without going to the other extreme - to accept the diploma from abroad as the sole condition for career development, there is no way to increase the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy.

KRIB and Economy magazine have repeatedly awarded you for your work at the "Mr. and Mrs. Economics" competition. Why are these awards important?

They are a recognition of the professionalism of our team and are proof that the expert opinion also has its considerable value. I would like to thank the colleagues from KRIB and Economy magazine for considering it meaningful to have a category for "Consulting / Business Services" within the framework of the competition.

Entrepreneurs dream, too. Share one of your dreams ...

I dream of laying the foundations of a working structure for the implementation of educational and cultural activities. I am sincerely delighted by the people who have created good educational models. I expect the future to bring us exactly this kind of challenges.

This year, Economy magazine turns 30 years. What is your wish for it?

I wish for the whole team to stay "on the crest of the wave", to continue to present an objective opinion based on facts that cannot be distorted. All this will support the Bulgarian business.

You live at a high speed. How do you rest?

By communicating with my children. And lately, I'm going more often to the mountains.

It’s a colourful world out there, with lots of opportunities for experiences and entertainment ... What makes you happy beyond your work?

I am delighted with the freedom with which our children express their opinion and belief that the future will bring us only good moments. Educated people and those who value cultural traditions are the ones who should lead our nation forward.

What is your hobby?

Traveling and discovering new places and people I don’t know energizes me. But if there's an interesting book in my hand, there's no need to travel. Many travels happen only in a man’s mind, don’t they?

A sentence that will summarize your expectations for the near future ...

We have many new opportunities and our success as a society depends on whether we will take advantage of them for the sake of our common interest.
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