Pavel Lisev: More and More Companies in our Country are Exploring How AI Can Be Used in the Sector in Which They Operate

Companies are shifting from SaaS to deep tech solutions


CEO Pavel Lisev participated in the closing panel "The Ethical Dimension of AI" in the program of Green Transition Forum 4.0 - the largest and most important event in Central and Eastern Europe dedicated to the European Green Deal. In the talk, he shared an expert insight into the trends in recent years and what the role of the Fund of Funds will be in supporting technological advancement in the next Multiannual Framework.

"As an institutional body managing financial instruments under European funds, we have an important role in supporting ideas and projects in innovation, digitalization, and circular economy. I have had the opportunity in recent years to observe the environment. The Fund of Funds has supported more than 3,500 projects. More than 320 are start-ups from our venture capital fund portfolio, and a large number of them are in information technology. I see a clear trend of companies moving more and more from SaaS (software as a service) solutions to deep tech solutions. Companies backed through our private equity funds include those in biometrics, cybersecurity, virtual and augmented reality, and digital twins. All are locally developed solutions with the potential for pan-European expansion and even global expansion. I also see more and more companies carefully exploring how to apply AI and how AI can benefit them concerning the sector they are working in," said Pavel Lisev and shared his expectation that this exponential development will continue even more clearly in the next programming period, a process that can be supported by European funds.

The Fund of Funds will manage even more resources in the next multiannual framework, specifically targeting technology transfer, Industry 4.0 and the circular economy. Our Executive Director briefly introduced our instruments under the Research, Innovation and Digitalisation for Smart Transformation 2021-2027 programme. He also shared about the upcoming support in Industry 4.0 - for companies looking for self-optimization based on data-driven conclusions about their processes. Lisev stressed that our technology transfer support will be for early stage or near market research to bridge university developments to the market.

"We will support universities, undergraduate and postgraduate students together with their professors to ease the transition from education to the labour market. I invite all attendees to proactively look through the Fund of Funds website to see what resources are available on the market, for which sectors, because our instruments are designed specifically to support the Bulgarian economy, with a focus on projects in Southwest Bulgaria and generally in the regions outside Sofia."

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The moderator of the panel "The Ethical Dimension of AI" was Monika Manolova, innovation expert at the National Digital Coalition, and together with Pavel Lisev, the discussion was moderated by Eva Meidel, Member of the European Parliament, and from the floor - Mila Aliana, strategic advisor to the global initiative Planet Positive 2030, Marisa Zalabak, AI ethicist and educational psychologist, prof. Prof. Andres Leon-Geyer from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, prof. Prof. Radoslav Milchev, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Industrial Technology of TU - Sofia and Georgi Kirov, CEO and Managing Partner at Crisp Labs.

All of them gave a different perspective on the ethics of artificial intelligence - from psychological, business and scientific aspects, including its impact on today's children, who are the first generation growing up in an environment of increasing application of AI. A video recording of this final panel from day three of the conference is available here

For three days, the Green Transition Forum 4.0 was a platform for open discussions on the economic, technological and social aspects of the Green Deal. International experts shared vision on areas such as renewable energy, decarbonisation, circular economy and ESG, food and agriculture, financing, energy, COP 29, sustainability and urban development, jobs and social justice, innovation, artificial intelligence, digitalisation and cyber security. The edition brought together more than 1,000 business leaders, leading policymakers, Commissioners, experts, government representatives and NGOs from the region. All discussions from the forum are available on record here.