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Good Practices
LIKTA - GLBF - Poster introducing the programme

The programme Digital Skills for Bulgarian SMEs was launched in 2018 by the Global Libraries Bulgarian Foundation (GBLF). The initiative, previously implemented in Latvia, was successfully replicated in Bulgaria and aimed to connect libraries to private businesses, so they can take up the role of educational centres for modern digital knowledge and SME-specific skills. Partners of GLBF are the "Made in Bulgaria - Union of Small and Medium Business" Association and the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA). T

he programme is funded under the "Transnational and Danube Partnerships for Employment and Growth" procedure of the  "Human Resources Development" 2014-2020 Operational Programme, co-financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund.

The objective behind the project 'Digital Skills for Bulgarian SMEs' was to enhance opportunities for sustainable employment, bringing together actors from the public and private sector, and improve the skills of the labour force in Bulgaria, with a focus on SME employees. 

Aims and objectives

The project aimed to build sustainable transnational partnerships between stakeholders from Latvia and Bulgaria and encourage transfer of innovative practices such as: 

  • Adaptation of an interactive training model based on online learning, face to face training and practical application of knowledge, for the acquisition of digital competence of employees in SMEs across the country;
  • Establishing public libraries as centres for digital inclusion of employees and improving the prospects for sustainable employment of 30 employees from SMEs in three Bulgarian districts. 

Why is this a good practice?

The initiative achieved substantial results, implementing various activities including: a 5-day visit of 8 experts and 2 SMEs from Bulgaria to Latvia, offering an opportunity to exchange experiences and share good practices in building digital skills for the workforce. Local partner networks of stakeholders across 3 regions in Bulgaria (Plovdiv, Smolyan and Stara Zagora) were developed over the course of the project's implementation. 

A key strength was also the adaptation of a new educational programme with learning modules to enable the acquisition of some of the most up-to-date digital skills needed for SME employees (and tailored to their specific needs). Subject topics included: digital marketing, cloud services for SMEs, safe online transactions and collaboration and data protection and privacy. 

In addition, three 1-month pilot trainings gathering 30 employees in various SMEs were organised in the context of contemporary digital competences in regional libraries. The innovative methods and approaches adapted from the Latvian programme were also assessed and evaluated. 

Results and impact

As a result of the project's activities, 30 employees in SMEs in the three districts managed to improve their digital skills through easy access to flexible forms of informal learning. This resulted in improved productivity for employees, raised the competitiveness of participating SMEs in the labour market, and promoted employment sustainability. 

The results were disseminated through a campaign, which reached 960 libraries from the network of the Global Libraries - Bulgaria Foundation, almost 1.400 members of the association "Made in Bulgaria", and numerous stakeholders on both local and national level. 

Good practice details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Marketing and advertising
Work skills
Information and communication technologies not elsewhere classified
Geographical sphere
International initiative
Type of funding
Start date
End date