Israel is an innovation-driven economy, ranked 27th (out of 144 countries) in the Global Competitiveness report 2014-2015. Its economic success lies on its focus on innovation and start-ups. In fact, the country offers a unique blend of academic excellence, scientific innovation and entrepreneurial experience. Its universities and research institutes are highly reputable in the international fora in areas like computer science, engineering, electronics and sciences. The government has supported heavily the growth of the R&D sector through incentives that pushed innovation and scientific research forward. For example, the R&D incentives, administered by the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, the support of the Export Institute, the MAGNET program or YOZMA, the first venture capital fund, established in 1993, which created 20 venture capital funds with government participation. In fact, Israel spends 4 % of GDP on R&D, which makes the country among the top in the world. The country is especially strong in the early stage development of new projects and the transformation of innovative ideas and scientific work into marketable products. Spin-off companies from Israeli Universities and research institutes are listed on NASDAQ, generating billions of USD. Major large companies have established their R&D Centers in Israel.
Bulgaria is ranked 54th in the world in the most recent Global Competitiveness Report. It has improved its position for a third consecutive year, thus outperforming many of the countries in Eastern Europe. A driving force behind the growth of competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy has been the IT sector. It generates close to 10 % of GDP and employs over 80,000 people. Major ICT players in the global world have established their offices in Bulgaria. Some of them work as R&D centers.
In the 1980s, Bulgaria was known as the Silicon Valley of the Eastern European bloc for its great concentration of computer technology and electronics production and exports. Since 2000, it is a well-known destination for outsourcing of IT services. AT Kearney has ranked Bulgaria 9th top country in the world in its’ Global Services Location Index for providing outsourcing services, including IT services and support, contact centers and back-office support. The availability of talented and well qualified IT specialists is the reason behind the interest of large foreign investors in Bulgaria. The future of Bulgaria is to continue to grow its ICT industry through specialization in advanced technology products.