The past 2004 has been an extremely successful year for Business Center Svishtov. The Center has joined and actively participated in the National Business Development Network of the JOBS project that currently consists of 41 Centers.
During 2004 the Center has also started its Lease Scheme, which is a financial tool, part of the "Job Opportunities through Business Support" (JOBS) Project , funded by the Bulgarian government through the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and supported by United Nations Development Programme. The Financial Leasing Scheme is a financial mechanism for the support of emerging micro- and small enterprises and agricultural producers who are experiencing difficulties in finding financing. The funds that are given under the Financial Leasing Scheme are used for purchasing tangible fixed assets - machines, equipment, means of transport, agricultural equipment and inventory, etc. - that are put out to lease to local organizations or individuals. Through this Scheme, Business Center Svishtov assists the economic development of the Svishtov region, sub-serves the opening of new workplaces, and the retaining of now existing ones.
In 2004 The Financial Leasing Scheme assisted:
- Six companies, two agriculture producers, two unemployed.
- Twelve contracts for lease.
- Total sum of leasings granted - 111,614 BGN.
- Total of 27 new workplaces (20 of them for women) have been opened and 85 workplaces have been retained through the Financial Leasing Scheme
163 persons have passed through different trainings, organized by BCS. The most important are - computer training for people less than 29 years , organized together with the Labor office Svishtov, and computer training for village staff members under a project by the Forum Programme.
In 2004 BC Svishtov's team provided 487 info services to 228 clients, 264 consultations to 215 persons and companies, 6 business contacts. In the Center's premises were held numerous activities, international meetings, seminars, conferences, etc. Two of local Municipality Council sessions were held here.
A couple of projects under the Forum Programme were implemented by BCS in the municipality, related to the increase of local authorities' capacity, strengthening the connection between the villages and the municipal center and development of civil society.
With the "Informational Securing of the Small Towns and Villages in the Municipality" project, Business Center Svishtov set the tasks to provide all the fifteen villages in the Svishtov municipality with identical computer equipment; facilitate the administrative servicing of village residents; to improve and decrease the prices of info- services, and to establish connection between the villages and the municipal center, as well as between the villages themselves. This project ended in December and laid the foundations of transforming Svishtov municipality into the first Bulgarian "e-municipality" with a computer network in all of the administrations in the villages and the town.
Another step in the development of the civil society was the "Reconstruction of Bus Stops in the Villages" project, which Business Center Svishtov implemented in 2004. The project involved the partial improvement of village infrastructure through the reconstruction of the bus stops.
Through this project, Business Center Svishtov has planned to improve the potential of project implementation "in place" through formation of civil informal groups of village mayors and delegating part of the project activities to them. Fifteen bus stops have been reconstructed - one in each of the villages.
The project activities ended in October, 2004 with a large conference where representatives of the Svishtov municipality, non-governmental and ecological organizations, village mayors, members of the Forum-office organization Balkan Assist, and the Project-office FLGR took part.
Business Center Svishtov is going to start the new year in an extended strength. The team of Petar Petrov (team leader), Maria Petsova (financial consultant), Vera Dichkova (marketing consultant), Alexander Parashkevov (IT specialist), Ivaylo Petrov (project consultant) and Kamelia Serafimova (accountant) is extended by the trainees Milena Dimitrova and Margarita Tsenova. Thus the team would be able to deal full-scale with the ongoing and future work on different projects and programs.