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Discover DUST 11: SZ REDA

Welcome to the eleventh release of our series Discover DUST, where we shine a spotlight on each project partner, delving into their roles and interests in Democratising Just Sustainability Transitions. In this edition, we introduce another key contributor: the Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency (SZ REDA) based in central Bulgaria! 


SZ REDA, also known as the Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency (Agentsiya za Regionalno Ikonomichesko Razvitie – Stara Zagora), is a non-profit association founded in 1995. It emerged from a partnership between the Municipality of Stara Zagora, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Stara Zagora, and Trakia University, with support from the American Agency for International Development (AIDA). The agency was established to manage integration processes of local and regional authorities and businesses into the European Community. SZ REDA are well positioned to do this with its large membership base, including 10 out of 11 municipalities in the Stara Zagora District as well as several educational institutions and development authorities like the Bulgarian-German Vocational Training Centre State Enterprise (DBBZ) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Stara Zagora.  

Through close collaboration with diverse societal actors, SZ REDA have built expertise in working with various stakeholders committed to boosting entrepreneurship and economic growth in the Stara Zagora region. Some of their stakeholders include the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Promotion Agency, several local and regional organisations, the Bulgarian Investment Agency, businesses and the general public. Numerous SZ REDA initiatives promote collaborative action, long-term resilience, and capacity building and training. In doing so, SZ REDA equips communities with the necessary skills and knowledge to actively participate in and contribute to the sustainability transition.  


As a regional partner in the DUST project, SZ REDA plays a crucial role in the implementation of the Regional Future Literacy Lab (RFLL) in Bulgaria. The RFLL aims to enhance citizen understanding and participation in policy and science related to sustainability transitions. For this reason, SZ REDA’s wealth of knowledge and experience in partnering with different stakeholders and directly working with local communities adds great value to DUST. The agency is involved preparing and engaging in various citizen learning and capacity building activities as well as assessing the effectiveness of developed tools and citizen perspectives who participate in the RFLL. SZ REDA’s role is key in gauging the level of interest, motivation and feelings of shared benefit of local people to partake in just sustainability transition initiatives.  


SZ REDA's commitment to empowering local communities and fostering a sense of ownership is truly inspiring! Their vision for inclusive, participatory, and sustainable regional development wonderfully aligns with the goals of the DUST project. With their expertise and passion, SZ REDA is a driving force behind our journey towards a brighter, more sustainable future in Stara Zagora. Together, we're not only poised to achieve sustainable economic growth but also to tackle social and environmental challenges head-on. It's thrilling to have such dedicated partners onboard, and we can't wait to see the impact we'll make together during the DUST project! 


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