At the Forestry University – Sofia, Bulgaria, a laboratory was created within the framework of the ILKA project, called the Laboratory for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (LEI). This is part of the ILCA laboratories that are being established in each of the participating members of the consortium. The laboratory functions within the framework of the existing University Center for Entrepreneurship at the Forestry University. LEI (ILCA) Laboratory will serve to provide a mix of consulting, educational and information services: 

– Conservation of ecosystem services, rich and exploited natural resources, and marginalization

– Consultations and specialized trainings on the prevention and fight against forest fires

– Carrying out studies, assessments, analyses, modelling, forecasting the risk of climate disasters

– Agricultural lands and measures to improve the nature protection status of forests natural habitats by introducing silvicultural practices for sustainable forest habitat management

– Identification of policies/interventions targeting youth in forest and rural areas.

The services of LEI in University of Forestry were improved as a result of an online survey on the needs of start-ups on innovation companies, but also on their understanding of innovation management, environment, etc. The survey determines the general approach and framework of the university’s LEI future work with start-up companies. This framework also defined the resources that are involved in the newly built structure for working with the companies. The results revealed that:

88% of the respondents think the start-ups realize the need of innovation management to some extent and 17% understand it very well, but only 56% responded that start-ups fully understand the essence of the innovation management.

83% of respondents think the start-ups understand the green production like input of green materials but 75% think the enterprises understand the term green production as result of process innovations.

96% of respondents answered that the start-ups need web-based consulting resources and from 83% to 88% think the enterprises are ready to elaborate innovations and common solutions with the university institutions.

Only 75% answered that enterprises know how to find financial resources like granting or debt capital to finance their investments.

In the Phase 1 the University of Forestry LEI started working with VES-LES 2020 Ltd start-up. The company is newly established in 2022, but the owners have previous experience since 2018. The newly established company is quite diversified. It provides logging, wood processing; carpentry services, deals in timber in original, treated or processed. Production and trade of ecological spirits through fruit distillation.

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