Project idea’s title  Balkan Trans-border Bio-cluster for agriculture, stock breeding and aquacultures (Balkan Bio-food Cluster) 
Priority axis
(choose one Priority and indicate the relative Specific Objective) 
Innovative and socially responsible Danube region  SO:  
Environment and culture responsible Danube region  SO:  
Better connected and energy responsible Danube region  SO:  
Well-governed Danube region  SO:  
Project Idea Promoter
(name of the institution) 
Business Agency Association 
Contact Person  Name  Blagoy Klimov  
Address  13 Prezviter Kozma Street  
Country  Bulgaria  
Tel  00359 52 307448 
Email  blagoy.klimov@vba.bg 
   Is the applicant the project’s potential Lead Partner?
Yes
If not, is the potential Lead Partner already being chosen?
No
Needs and challenges (Needs, main problems or challenges to be addressed)
• Creating a trans-border bio-cluster that would organize companies from both sides of the border in all five participating countries will create a partner network with a common strategy, action plan, standardized management practices, etc. Such common infrastructure will make possible the development of further common trans-border initiatives and will provide benefits from economies of scale, joint marketing, promotion of cross border products and products better fitted to consumer needs due to exchange of information. The common actions would as well promote foreign investment and foster a positive regional identity and image.

• The research will map out the major issues that organizations from the bio-food sector in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, FYROM and Albania are facing using the techniques of SWOT and STEP analysis. This will provide the necessary tools to identify the problems they are facing, to evaluate their competitiveness on the market and to what extent they are accomplishing their business objectives.

• Transfer of good practices from other trans-border regions within the EU and implementing their ideas and precious experience into the border bio-food producing regions in the five participating countries

• Working out a bio-cluster map, founding documents and statute, stability plan, business strategy plan aims to secure long term sustainability of the trans border bio food cluster, as means to create and promote common network for trans-border initiatives, exchange of information, economic benefit, foster a regional identity and elevating the overall image of the Balkan region.

• In order to attract new members, to create confidence and a positive attitude towards the industry in the region and, more importantly, to build a common identity every regional network has to promote itself. The Balkan bio-food would concentrate its support in networks rather than individual firms and emphasize the importance of enhancing innovation and learning within the cluster.
• Sharing the pilot model of the Balkan bio-food cluster with neighbouring regions to exchange good practices and use it as a blueprint for implementation in other regions.
• Raising awareness of bio-food products (agriculture, stock and aqua cultures) and promoting their consumption as sustainable long term consumer behaviour. Promoting bio-food organizations (companies, research institutions, NGOs, local authorities, etc.) and raising both their profile and the products’ profile to the general public.
 
Objectives (main and specific objectives to be achieved)
Main objective:

To establish a Balkan Trans-border Bio-cluster for agriculture, stock breeding and aquacultures with at least 50 participants from 5 Balkan countries and secure its sustainable functioning as a model for the other countries in the region and other trans-border regional programmes

Specific objectives:

To conduct a research on the 10 of the major companies in each of the 5 participating countries from bio- organic agriculture, stock breeding and aquaculture industries in the trans-border region and outline the perspectives and problems for their development.
To investigate and promote in the project’s target regions working sustainable bio-cluster practices from at least 4 other Trans-border regions within the EU with similar profile of their bio- organic food production (for example the Lahti region Grain Cluster having in mind the importance of grain production for the economy of the SEE states)
To work out: a clear and elaborate biocluster map suited to the SEE region’s needs with minimum 100 participants, cluster statute and founding documents pertaining to the governance of the cluster, financial stability plan, 5 year business strategy plan and for governing body structure plan
To promote the idea of trans-border bio-cluster to at least 100 potential participants in compliance with the worked-out map and strategy and to involve as many as possible in the initiative

To popularize the biocluster activities to the general public of the major bio-food producing regions in the five participating countries and especially in the neighbouring trans-border regions to further promote the cluster approach in bio-agriculture and increase the cumulative effect of such approach

To open “Bio-food” sections with promotional leaflets in supermarkets in the major bio-food producing regions in the five participating countries, supplied by companies from the cluster. The long term objective is to open five supermarkets in each of the five participating countries, entirely supplied by the cluster’ companies
 
Main results and core outputs
1. Prepared analysis of the needs of 50 of the main companies from bio- organic agriculture, stock breeding and aquaculture industries (10 from each of the five participating countries) from the transborder regions; 12 workshops of the project team; 5 press conferences; 5 round tables; developed report.
2. Research and report, presented at 5 conferences in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, FYROM and Albania to promote working sustainable biocluster practices from at least 5 other Trans-border regions within the EU with similar profile of their bio- organic food production, stock breeding and aquaculture industries
3. An elaborate map of companies from the five participating countries, operating in the bio food production with minimum 100 participants; developed data base; 5 conferences;
Developed cluster statute, founding documents, financial stability plan, 5-year action plan for long-term sustainable development of a cross border bio cluster; and government body structure plan of the Balkan bio-food cluster;
4. Promotional campaign via direct contact, local public authorities, syndicates and other networks among companies, identified by the industry map encompassing at least 100 potential participants to popularize the Balkan bio-food cluster and involve as many as possible in the initiative;
5. Established Balkan Trans-border Biocluster for agriculture, stock breeding and aquacultures with at least 50 participants.
Establishment of governing body and a work committee; Establishment of an international team; furnished offices in the cities of Varna, Constanta, Thessaloniki, Strumica and Elbasan; techniques; developed web site in Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, FYRMacedonian and Albanian; press conferences in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, FYROM, Albania
5 workshops occupied in the cluster establishment – investment support, consultancy support, trainings; action plan for the cluster; 6 meetings of work groups; 50 companies organized in a partnership network.
6. 5 two-days conferences for popularizing the Balkan biocluster activities within the region (1 in Varna, 1 in Constanta, 1 in Thessaloniki, 1 in Strumica and 1 in Elbasan) as well as strengthening the business partnership with partners there; realization of 5 joint cross border initiatives with participants from the Balkan biocluster; demo packages of a specialized software for the bio agriculture, stock breeding and aquaculture industry, presentation materials, leaflets.
7. Bio food sections installed in at least five major supermarket chains in the major bio-food producing regions in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, FYROM, Albania, entirely supplied by the cluster’ companies
 
Main foreseen activities
 
Innovative character of the project idea
The innovative aspect, compared to already implemented projects, is the clustering approach as means to extend community access to cross-border information and communication, enhance and deepen long term partnerships and cooperation and to ease access to new technologies in the bio food sector.
 
Partnership 
Partners involved at this stage  ERDF Partners  Partner from Romania-identified
 
   IPA Partners   
   Associated Strategic Partners  
Partners requested  ERDF Partners  Partner from Greece-not identified 
   IPA Partners  Partner from FYROM-not identified
Partner from Albania-not identified 
   Associated Strategic Partners   
Estimated Total Budget  480 000 EUR 
  
Estimated duration
(in months) 
18