Wednesday, November 29, 2023

A key stage of the GALOP project has started - the development of local development strategies and business plans for their implementation in the selected 10 pilot municipalities

First meetings with the pilot municipalities of the GALOP project – the development of strategies for local economic development and business planning has started

Coordination meetings with the teams of six of the 29.03 municipalities, whose projects to stimulate local economic development were approved under the project BGLD-02.04.2021-10 "Growth through Activating Local Potential - GALOP”, implemented by NAMRB in partnership with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities, were held in the week 1.002-0001.

The main steps in preparing the strategies for local economic development and business plans of the projects proposed by the local administrations were discussed with experts from the municipalities of Bansko, Brezovo, Elena, Levski, Lyaskovets and Momchilgrad. The investment to be realised with support from the EEA Financial Mechanism XNUMX -XNUMX will be selected after a thorough analysis of the potential of the conceptual proposals. For the first time, this scheme will finance municipal projects with specific market dimensions and therefore at this stage the main task is to clearly define the focus of future investments so that they become a driver of economic activity and generate income in the future.

Consultant teams and NAMRB will support the municipality in preparing the pilot project.

Levski Municipality

Out of the formulated conceptual proposals, for now the team focuses on the creation of a farmers' market, which will provide local producers with direct access to the sale of products and will develop as an anchor for promotion of the region.

Another focus of the concept is the creation and certification of a local tourist product based on preserving and promoting local customs, habits, gatherings and events related to local heritage, which will help unleash the potential of art collectives and chitalishta (cultural centres).

Elena Municipality

The concept of Elena Municipality integrates the key competitive advantages of the region - the clean environment, the preserved traditional productions and the strong tourism potential of the Elena Balkan range.

The focus in the proposal is on promoting the production of specific products of local animal husbandry, combined with diversification of the accompanying services in the field of tourism and cultural development.

Integrated activities of the municipality, the vocational school, the cultural institutions and the associations of agricultural producers are envisaged. On a proposal by the mayor Dilyan Mlazev, the working team will include different municipal experts and members of the Local Action Group.

Brezovo Municipality

The idea of the municipality is to establish a base and a team to help the local people focus their efforts on the production of organic products. Municipal land has already been designated to be made available for growing vegetables which are typical for the region. Talks have been held with owners of farm land who are ready to support the project.

“The region of Brezovo is ecologically clean and this is our greatest advantage. We therefore want to integrate this potential in the economic development,” said Mayor Hristo Enkov.

Branches of the production centre will be opened in different settlements and the production will also be offered at the future farmers’ market in Rakovski Municipality. Negotiations with processors interested in the clean production are under way.

The second component of the project is the consultation centre which will provide support to producers in the administrative procedures when applying under European programmes.

An integral part of the concept is the development of own regional brand for organic products. The strategic objective is to change completely the economic profile of the region. Therefore, the local administration is committed to assisting small and family producers to refocus their production on more promising products.

A science and production centre for innovative technologies in organic farming is to be created in the municipality and this will give a head start to local producers vis-à-vis the competitors in the sector.

Lyaskovets Municipality

The concept of the municipality is focused on creation of a Visitor Centre, development of products and attractions based on the cultural and natural heritage, as well as enrichment of the Museum of Expatriate Gardening with a "live workshop" for making souvenirs.

The strategy being developed will formulate a longer-term perspective and will identify the potential of various activities that can be developed and can contribute to economic activity in the region, and the business plan will provide a model for the implementation of other similar projects. The municipality will partner with the Lyaskovets-Strazhitsa LAG, the cultural institutions, the owners of the museum expositions and the hoteliers. During the preparation of the documents the interfaces with the Plan for integrated development adopted by the Municipal Council and with other projects related to tourism and financed through the LAG will be sought.

The future visitor centre will give the opportunity to organize events, present traditional activities and customs of the region, thereby promoting the creative and economic potential of the residents of the municipality.

Bansko Municipality

The main objective in the concept is to make maximum use of the nature, historical and cultural resources to develop the main occupation of the people in the town – tourism.

“We focus on the development of the tourist product because we are aware that it generates most of the income of the population," said Deputy Mayor Sashka Vachkova.

Chitalishta (cultural centres), amateur talent groups, different clubs, the Association of parents of children with disabilities, local wood and farm producers, etc., will be involved in the implementation of the strategy.

The project includes the creation of a Museum of Mountains and People, an exhibition hall for traditional local crafts. The idea for expanding the festival activity and new forms for presenting the tradition and culture of Bansko has also been developed.

A focus in the business plan is the establishment of a social enterprise to provide employment to disadvantaged people and sell the production at the local market.

Momchilgrad Municipality

The main priorities that the consulting team and the specialists from the municipality will work on are related to the development of animal husbandry in the region and of the local tourism potential. Leading goals include job creation and generation of long-term investment income to ensure the sustainability of the investment without further burdening the local administration.

It is crucial to determine the partners who are expected to implement part of the activities – the business, citizen associations, chitalishta (cultural centres), etc.

The focus of the project concept of Momchilgrad is on small settlements. The ambition is to create conditions for active recreation in nature, in improved areas, and link tourism to the involvement of local producers of traditional food and products.


Induction meetings with pilot municipalities of GALOP Project continue – Belitsa and Dimitrovgrad

The induction meetings between the municipal teams, the consultants and the NAMRB experts engaged in the development of strategies to upgrade local economic potential under GALOP Project financed from Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups Programme of the EEA FM were held on 7 and 8.04 April.

Municipality and chitalishte (cultural centre) – working together for development of local economy

In Belitsa Municipality, the main partners – the local authority and Chitalishte (cultural centre) “Georgi Todorov – 1885” place project emphasis on creating and gradually upgrading an enterprise for craft products, souvenirs and woodworking. Furthermore, the enterprise can successfully involve in the economic and cultural life and upgrade the community efforts for diversification of and adding value to the local economy based on tourism, wood production and mountain farming. The project team of Belitsa, the Deputy Mayor Iglika Avramova and the secretary of the chitalishte (cultural centre) Maya Padareva, have extensive experience, ambition and initiative to implement the planned endeavour.

Municipality’s efforts under the project will be combined with the investments of the local authority in basic services and infrastructure, which are currently being implemented.

The chitalishte (cultural centre) has been renovated recently under the Bulgaria – Macedonia Cross-border Cooperation Programme

 Secondary School “St. St. Cyril and Methodius” is being renovated with financing under RDP 2014-2020.

The road to Semkovo Resort us currently under intensive repair, financed again from RDP 2014-2020.

Downtown Belitsa


Dimitrovgrad – an economic but also a tourism centre!


The concept of Dimitrovgrad Municipality focuses on development of the balneological and recreation centre on the basis of the mineral water from Solentsi spring near the town of Merichleri. Its development should be combined with introduction of specific local cultural and economic traditions, in particular with the creation of a regional tourism product intrinsically linked to the neighbouring city and the market and attractions it offers. Easily accessible as it may be and no matter how much funds have been successfully invested in the region, Merichleri and its mineral water, which excels that of Karlovi Vari, have remained in the shadows because the rural regions of big municipalities were not eligible for integrated urban development financing.

Mrs Diana Doncheva, Director of European and National Programmes Directorate, and the GALOP team have the ambition to link the economic development of the municipal centre and the constituent villages

Dimitrovgrad and Yazaki, Japan – the town became an example of attracting investors.

The fair in Dimitrovgrad!



The unique mineral water is relied on for the economic revival of Merichleri






On 12.04 and 13.04 the next introductory meetings took place between the teams from the municipalities of Valchi Dol and Ivanovo, the consultants and experts from NAMRB, engaged in the development of small strategies for upgrading the local economic potential under the Gallop project, funded by the Local Development, Reduction Program. poverty and improved inclusion of vulnerable groups ”under the EEA FM.


Valchi Dol Municipality – a small year-round tourist oasis in combination with care for children with special educational needs

Valchi Dol Municipality makes consistent efforts to develop the local potential in the field of tourism and social entrepreneurship. Successful projects have been implemented with own resources and European funds. Under the GALOP project, these efforts will be further developed by utilizing hitherto unused tourist sites in combination with care for children with special educational needs. Project partners are the local government, the hunting and fishing company, the local action group and the local business.     

Valchi Dol started 2021 with a contract under measure 7.2, Investment in small-scale infrastructure, of the strategy of LAG “Vazhod-Vetrino, Valchi Dol, Provadia”, financed from RDP 2014 - 2020. Major renovation of Primary School “St. Ivan Rilski” in Cherventsi village, worth BGN 262 396,28, is upcoming. The participation of the municipality under GALOP makes possible business investment and activities which are not eligible under the major donor programmes.


Ivanovo Municipality – beekeeping as a joint initiative

The advantage of local beekeepers lies in the wonderful location of the municipality – along the Rusenski Lom river. Preserved nature and clean environment enable sustainable beekeeping development and production of organic products, to help preserve and increase employment.

The main elements of the future strategy and business plan under GALOP will focus on undertaking a series of actions for investment in production, processing and marketing; providing training and skills for the beekeeping trade; holding events to present and promote the production output; creating and registering a regional/geographical trademark. Project partners are the local authority, producers, sectoral organisations and unions.  

Rusenski Lom Nature Part – a key asset of Ivanovo Municipality under the GALOP Project