Municipal and Association Capacity Improvement Programme (MACIP) (34 549 EUR), 2002 – 2004: the project is a result of the MACIP programme funded by the government of the Netherlands and their MATRA program and implemented by VNG Internation (The Dutch Association of the Municipalities) and their official representative for Bulgaria – Urban International Associates. The Programme is implemented by BARDA in partnership with some other organizations, which will continue to support Bulgarian municipalities and associations after the end of the project. The main objective of the project is to improve the environment and factors that impact the local economic development with a focus on creating new opportunities for active involvement and combining the efforts of the municipality, business and local community in the field of economic development.
Within the project there were implemented activities in the following two aspects:
1.Establishment and applying a model for local economic development
The project used the results of a successful model for local decentralization through the establishment of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). BID is a special technique for local economic development. It has been developed with the purpose of self-supporting a given business community through the establishment of partnerships with the municipality and other institutions, which cooperation will help to solve the problems of the selected region. Thus the local authorities and the business communities start working together and the result is increased thrust between the community and local authority institutions. Razgrad was chosen as a pilot municipality at the start of the project since the municipality had made a lot of efforts in order to solve the local economic development problems in the region. Furthermore, it had drafted a strategic plan for development, as well as well-functioning Centre for Economic Development.
2. Preparation of a Training Model for Local Economic Development
In order to disseminate their experience from Razgrad, the project experts developed a Manual for establishment of BIDs and a Training module to it on general topics for local economic development in order more municipalities to be able to get familiarized with this new technique.