I have doubts whether I could be able to find even one normal Bulgarian who would not want our country to become a powerful engine of economic growth in the region by producing modern technologies with high added value. And as if to answer this need and by accident just before the elections, the Government attempts a mega-journey in the world of nanotechnologies with promises of giant developments, but micro chances of success.<
Here is what happened during 2009: The Government decided that one sector (nanotechnology) was high priority and announced a strategic agreement with a leading Western company (IBM) to establish Bulgarian Nanotechnology Center (100% state owned), where it would invest 50 million levs of capital. Stupid details such as existing base, human resources and lack of competitive advantage, naturally are not taken into account. The story would have been simply sad if it did not sound extremely familiar.
Here is what happened in 1965: The Government decided that one sector was high priority (computer technology) and announced a strategic agreement with a leading Western company (Fuji) to establish state factories for computer technology where it invested 120 million levs during the first two years. Stupid details such as existing base, human resources and lack of competitive advantage, naturally were not taken into account. Forced to buy Bulgarian goods, the COMECON countries generated revenue for the sector, but in the long term the impossibility to develop competitive advantage, the low quality of product and the failure of the stimuli, typical for the state companies led to the collapse of the entire priority sector.<
Bulgaria did not become the Silicone valley of the Balkans with the State attempts to stimulate a highly up and coming sector of computer technology. What makes the current Government to think that it would be successful with the nanotechnologies? Only one thing - "nano thoughts" in mega projects.
* Anton Gerunov is a trainee at IME.
 The story itself has been told in detail by H. Hristov (2007), "The Secret Bankruptcies of Communism", Sofia, Siela, pp. 154-179.