Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA)
As early as 27 February (two weeks before the declaration of the state of emergency), the Bulgarian Industrial Association issued recommendations to businesses on preventive measures in the event of a COVID-19 crisis. Information was emailed to all BIA members and uploaded onto the association's website, where it has been read by 5 632 visitors (https://www.bia-bg.com/news/view/26581/).
Over the whole period since 13 March, the BIA team has made itself constantly available to its members, providing consultations and information on legal, financial and other matters.
More than thirty force majeure certificates have been issued during the crisis to support members and more than a hundred consultations have taken place on immediate action to notify counterparties of force majeure circumstances.
BIA began support for the country's companies as early as 18 March (just five days after the state of emergency was declared!). An "Electronic Mutual Assistance Exchange", where firms can advertise or seek products and services or post vacancies for those who have no work to do during the emergency period and so are at risk of losing their jobs. By 8 June, the exchange had had 10 543 visits and 126 messages had been posted, most of them concerning acquisition or supply of medical protection kit (masks, visors, disinfectants, etc.). Those using the exchange get in touch with one another directly, so we cannot provide statistics on the follow-up to these contacts. We hope, however, that we have managed to help companies help one another in such a difficult time and with supply chains disrupted. The exchange is still up and running, the last announcement appearing on 5 June. (https://www.bia-bg.com/offer/).
At a time when the world was faced with the challenge of tackling COVID-19, the Bulgarian Industrial Association and its member companies demonstrated how necessary it was to put good corporate social responsibility (CSR) into practice. In the very first days of the state of emergency, for example, BIA launched a special section on its site setting out model practices for sustainable business development in a time of crisis and issued an open letter about publishing electronically the names of companies and individual donors. Headed "Responsible Business in Times of Crisis", the section has published 78 notices of corporate donations and other socially responsible initiatives by Bulgarian companies and business organisations (https://www.bia-bg.com/focus/view/26723/).
BIA was the first organisation to set up a dedicated COVID-19 section on its website, where visitors can get the information they are looking for on the emergency measures, including links to interactive maps, news, forms, ministry of health instructions, draft legislation, information on financial and other support measures, positions of BIA and industry organisations on COVID-19, up-to-date statistics, recommendations to employers, donations, hotlines and so on. By 8 June, 272 items had been posted, including 37 contributions from BIA member organisations (https://www.bia-bg.com/focus/view/26649/).
In the course of the epidemic two online surveys were launched (on 13 and 31 March) to map the impact of COVID-19 on business and the readiness of firms to take up the "60/40" measure to stimulate job retention. The first covered 806 companies, the second 759 (https://www.bia-bg.com/news/view/26631/ https://www.bia-bg.com/news/view/26844/).