Bulgarreklama Agency and I.C.M.: Industrial Exhibition in Sofia in 2014 - New horizons for business

Automation & RoboticsInterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2013

Between 5 - 7 March 2014, Inter Expo Center - Sofia will hold the specialized industrial exhibitions of MachTech & Metal, IFAM, INTRONIKA and PLAST.

They will present innovations in mechanical engineering and tooling (MachTech & Metal), in automation, robotics and mechatronics (IFAM), professional and industrial electronics and components (INTRONIKA), and in the sector of plastics and rubber industry (PLAST).

The prospects for these forums, their preparation and organization, and the benefits for businesses are the issues we are now discussing with the organizers of the exhibition, Mr. Ivaylo Ivanov, manager of Bulgarreklama Agency Ltd., and Mr. Tony Laznik, manager of Slovenian company I.C.M.d.o.o.

Mr. Ivanov , what’s new in your expectations for the forthcoming specialized exhibitions MachTech & Metal, IFAM, INTRONIKA, PLAST in 2014 ?
The outcomes of the 2013 exhibitions showed that Bulgarian companies are well-positioned amongst the big international companies. We found that Bulgarian industry proved to be competitive and that it creates world class innovations.

We also found that this industry has many opportunities - including those for small businesses. And bearing in mind the considerable part of the participants in the exhibition so far were well-established and popular companies, in 2014 we would like to achieve more things, specifically for the small and medium-sized business sector.

Which is why we suggest some new opportunities.

There is an option for young entrepreneurs registered not earlier than 14 months before the start of the exhibition. They could get a 40% discount for participation. This is an incentive to support the efforts of developing businesses to enter a new market - either through outsourcing or subcontracting for specific projects. A similar initiative would provide greater opportunities for commercial or industrial partnership.

There are also preferences foreseen for companies that take part for the first time in any of the four thematic segments. There is a 20% discount of the price for empty exhibition space.
The Business Forum is also a platform for participating companies to present their products and concepts for development to their partners and customers. The presentations and workshops are integrated in the program for 5 -7 March.

There is a new highlight in 2014 - we develop a project for an engineering fair in the sectors of industry. The aim is to bring together young professionals starting-up a career in this profession and this business that for a long time lacked qualified personnel.

We want the specialized exhibitions of MachTech & Metal, IFAM, INTRONIKA and PLAST to be a bridge between theory and practice and be another opportunity for development of young people here, in Bulgarian industry where they have a place.

What do you think would be the benefits for Bulgarian companies from their participation in specialized exhibitions?
The IndustryMatchMaking event attracted great interest in 2013. Within a one-day conference we registered participation by 63 companies from Bulgaria, England, Turkey, Greece, Serbia and Ireland.

The event proved to be effective, having successfully generated a number of ideas for joint business cooperation, transfer and exchange of technology and experts, or complete joint projects. We believe that given the ambitious task we have set, and namely to support small businesses, this initiative will again be warmly accepted and will enjoy even greater interest.

I would like to emphasize one more advantage for small businesses, provided by the highly specialized exhibitions - they can get a better visibility and demonstrate their capacity in front of a most appropriate audience.

A similar effect was achieved by our media partners, having an adequate profile that also helps companies gain greater visibility and acquaint a wider audience with their work and products. Though smaller, the specialized exhibitions are extremely professional and focus on the most topical and novel issues in a specific domain, or a sector of industry.

At the same time we have our expectations towards the participants. They are not just "consumers" of our products. Our work is profoundly based on partnership with these companies.

What would you recommend to your exhibitors for their successful participation at the specialized forums of MachTech & Metal, IFAM, INTRONIKA and PLAST?
Taking part in an exhibition is a dynamic process of interaction and complementarity between the organizers and exhibiting companies.

We are in charge of creating the best possible conditions for participants - from preparation to closing of the exhibition. At the very beginning of the concept we make an estimate of necessary resources in all aspects, attracting foreign companies and partners in the organization process, analyzing events from the side-events programs, looking for the most rational schemes for advertising and media coverage, chase maximum comfort and convenience for exhibitors and visitors, etc.

The idea is that businesses should benefit as much as possible.
We expect from them utmost efforts, timely and quick response both in the preparation and in conducting the exhibition.

The earlier a company is clear about their purpose of participation, as part of their overall marketing strategy, the greater the effect in short-term and long-term planning.
Our experience says that the companies expect more added value from their active and massive use of the communication channels - business audience (broadcasting to clients, contractors, potential partners, etc.)., media, advertising methods, before and during the days of the exhibition.

Should all opportunities are timely and well thought-out and implemented, then the impact for the company itself and the exhibition as a whole is increased. We believe the image of an exhibition is created and protected by all parties concerned.

Mr. Laznik, what are your expectations for the participation of foreign companies in MachTech & Metal, IFAM, INTRONIKA and PLAST in 2014?
As you all know very well, exhibitions are always reflecting the economy in each country as a mirror. If the economic situation in a country is stable and shows prosperity, then respectively foreign business partners - whether exhibitors or buyers (visitors) have bigger interest. It’s very difficult to describe prospective for all topics together. 

Also, we have to be aware that each EU country looks at Bulgaria with different expectations. If I try to answer generally, then I’m very positive for the future. Still, we need to note that if domestic companies do not recognize the advantages and the variety of options provided by the B2B exhibitions we organize and they don’t take decisions to participate at right time, then we all lose, mostly exhibitors and professional visitors.

By taking a decision at the right time, each exhibitor gets plenty of possibilities to use as many of the numerous marketing options we provide, as he wants.  The earlier he applies, the more time to start establishing contacts with already known business partners as well with new ones - potential buyers he will have. The same applies also for visitors.

If they get informed exhibitors, about what to expect, if they attend also the B2B Matchmaking event, each day (it is a constant activity on our Exhibitions) then the good results and success will come!

Your company organizes exhibitions in the same fields in Slovenia and Serbia, besides Bulgaria. What is the potential of these topics in Bulgaria, according to you?
True, the opportunities in Bulgaria differ from those in Slovenia or Serbia. This is obvious also on the industrial segment you have here.

Compared to the other two countries, your potential is not in the automotive industry (at the moment, but there is no reason to not change in future) which is most asked segment for automation. But you have many more others which you have and need to develop.

Your strongest economic segment offer good potential and you have to start using it much more.