From August 20 to 25, NAMRB held partnership meetings in three of the 10 pilot municipalities under the GALOP project - Valchi Dol, Levski and Ivanovo.
The project "Activation of local potential - GALOP" is implemented by NAMRB and the Norwegian Association of Local Authorities, with funding from the Program "Local Development, Poverty Reduction and Improved Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups" of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area (EEA) 2014 - 2021 The aim of the project is to support innovative approaches and business plans that mobilize local potential to boost economic development and create employment in the regions. The developed model models for local economic development based on unused resources can be applied by other municipalities.
At the meetings in the three municipalities were presented the strategies for development of the local potential with the identified priority activities and projects, prepared by the team of GALOP consultants. The meetings were announced in advance on the websites of the municipalities and were held with the participation and activity of the partners and stakeholders.
The strategy and business plan of municipality of Valchi dol rely on activating the local economic potential through the construction and development of major tourist sites. Complex "Oasis of protected nature and a place for recreation, tourism and sport fishing" is planned on a territory of 200 decares. It is planned to build a visitor tourist center (which will offer local souvenirs and food products), premises for raising ornamental animals, opening a "training center" for children with special educational needs, reconstruction and stocking of a local dam to offer opportunity for sport fishing.
The second main site is the ski area around the only slope in Northeastern Bulgaria - Koshu Bair. It is planned to repair the existing two-storey hut, incl. hotel part and restaurant part with 200 seats, improvement of the adjacent territory with gazebos and other small-scale infrastructure, ensuring year-round operation of the site.
Levski Municipality relies on building a mobile farmer's market for local producers. They will be able to promote and sell their products at various holidays and events, as well as in other municipalities, using specialized buses with refrigerated display cases and generators.
It is planned to create a brand and logo (eg "Made in Levski"), which will brand the buses and any other equipment. The mobile market will also offer handicrafts and souvenirs made by the community centers in the municipality.
The rock churches on the territory of Ivanovo municipality with the unique preserved frescoes are an invaluable treasure for the region. Today protected by UNESCO, with their expressiveness they are an important achievement in the Christian art of Southeast Europe and part of the medieval Bulgarian spiritual center. Since April last year, they have been handed over to the management of Ivanovo municipality.
The business plan relies on the huge interest in the complex of tourists from all over the country and many foreigners. Local partners see an opportunity to combine cultural tourism with the promotion of traditional organic farming. They plan to build pavilions in part of the parking lot with an area of about 800 square meters in front of the entrance of the tourist site for local producers. There they will be able to offer honey and bee products, herbs, handicrafts and souvenirs.
The discussions at the three partnership meetings were particularly interesting regarding the so-called business planning and ensuring sustainability - ie. not how to use another grant scheme, but how to best involve stakeholders in local initiatives, how to realize benefits for the community in the long run and to achieve sustainability and self-confidence . Business analyzes in the three municipalities show that the planned community ventures are economically and financially viable, but involve significant donor support in the early stages of their implementation.
On 01.09.2021 the partnership meetings Dimitrovgrad and Bansko - pilot municipalities under the project "Project "Activation of local potential - GALOP".
At the meetings were presented development strategies based on local circumstances and the so-called. "Business plans" identifying priority projects, activities and investments, incl. the related costs and revenues from their realization.
The emphasis in Dimitrovgrad is placed on the rehabilitation of the mineral deposit and development of balneology, sports-recreational and cultural tourism through the construction of a municipal complex and a number of accompanying events, engaging local production and craft traditions. However, the necessary significant investments require a successful phasing in business planning, consistent with the possible donor support mechanisms.
In Bansko, the focus of strategic and business planning is focused on a wide range of activities and projects to promote the year-round tourist product of the municipality. Under GALOP, the community investments in need of donor support in diversification of cultural and historical assets and festival life are prioritized. The local government, educational institutions, associations working with people with special needs and local businesses will cooperate in the implementation of these investments. The local partners actively participated in the discussions with valuable ideas for finalizing the submitted documents and calculations. The choice of projects and activities was confirmed - ie. they provide an adequate answer to the question of how to best involve stakeholders in initiatives to exploit local resources, how to realize benefits for the community in the long run and to achieve sustainability, employment and progress based on their own potential. Business analyzes again show that the planned community ventures are viable, but suggest significant donor support in the early stages of their implementation.
In the period 7.09-13.09 the partnership meetings for finalization of the local strategies and business plans under the GALOP project were held in the municipalities of Momchilgrad, Lyaskovets, Elena, Brezovo and Belitsa.
Momchilgrad relies on the partnership in the implementation of its strategy focused on the promotion of local farmers and tourism. The priority projects envisage integrated investments in the creation of farmers' markets and active marketing in support of small farmers. These investments will be successfully combined with the upward, but still insufficient, development of the local tourism product. In the municipality there is an increased interest and tourist flow to the unique local natural and cultural attractions.
The strategy and business plan of Lyaskovets municipality focus on three main areas to stimulate local economic development. The first focus is the creation of a visitor center for promotion of cultural and natural heritage of Lyaskovets municipality, eco-trail and panoramic playground. A concept for turning the Museum of Emigrant Gardening into a living tale about the history of the Lyaskovets horticultural region will be developed and implemented. The third accent is related to the establishment of a municipal market in the village of Dzhulyunitsa for the sale of local products from the territory in support of local farmers.
Elena Municipality presented the priorities and goals set in the strategy and business plan for stimulating the local economic potential of the participants in the meeting. The priority activities are related to creating opportunities to support start-up businesses in the municipality of Elena; expanding opportunities for direct sales and marketing of traditional local products and services; creation and establishment of the "Electronic Exchange of Traditional Products and Services from the Elena Balkan" among the leading tools for direct sales and creation of preconditions for development and promotion of common standard (s) / label (s) for quality and regional origin of the products produced by enterprises in the food sector in the municipality of Elena.
The strategy and business plan of the municipality Belitsa are aimed at building entrepreneurial potential and skills for utilization of local resources; establishment of a Workshop for traditional crafts "Mountain signs" and construction of market infrastructure for the sale of local products to support local and tourist development. The lively discussion of the meeting was attended by masters of traditional crafts, who declared their readiness to pass on their knowledge and skills to young people from the municipality, who will be trained in the workshop.
Brezovo relies on an integrated and truly innovative project to create a production and development base for organic and eco agriculture - eco and organic production of honey, vegetables, fruits, wild herbs and livestock. The aim is to create a sustainable economic model for a circular bio-economy, incl. by imposing the trademark "Bio Brezovo". The project meets the full support of small local producers and processors of agricultural products and will be implemented in close cooperation with the Agricultural University - Plovdiv. The partnership meeting was held with the active participation of all stakeholders. A number of complementary proposals were given on the approach to carrying out activities and on the cost-benefit part of the business plan.