For the second year now, the Invest Sofia team has successfully worked with independent local and international companies to assist investors in the city under our SofiaIS programme. We are highly motivated by the positive feedback that our business partners give to our activities. Here’s what the consulting company Cushman & Wakefield Forton had to say about our work together:
Yavor Kostov, Managing Partner: We at C&W Forton are extremely glad to have the possibility to work with Sofia Investment Agency. Their motivated team members have shown us repeatedly a great amount of dedication and love for their job. Thanks to their continuous efforts, attention to detail and hard work, Sofia is becoming an even more attractive place for new investments. We are excited to be part of the programme SofiaIS and we are sure that the more time we devote together to it, the greater the impact will be on Bulgaria.
A great recognition for our team. When companies in the city view our activities in this way, it means our efforts are in the right direction. We appreciate C&W Forton’s willingness to partner closely with all our activities addressed to new investors in the city. It is a declaration of their willingness to develop together the potential of Sofia as an attractive center for entrepreneurship and successful business.
Our city hosted the fourth edition of the Sofia Economic Forum, a high-level meeting tha once again gathered the most influential Bulgarian and international political and corporate leaders. Organised by the Delphi Economic Forum and the Centre for Liberal Strategies, the event focused on possible solutions to the pressing challenges facing Europe and the world. Among the guests at the forum was our CEO Ph.D. Maria Hristova.
The forum was attended by the Vice President of Bulgaria Iliana Yotova, Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, the Vice President of the European Investment Bank Liliana Pavlova, ministers and deputy ministers, ambassadors, and many other institutional and economic leaders and experts.
With nearly 40 participants and keynote speaker,the event raised topics such as the impact of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine on Bulgaria’s geopolitical situation; EU enlargement; developments in the financial sector; developments in the South East Europe region: economic cooperation and future prospects; Bulgaria’s accession to Schengen; Turkey’s elections and what’s next for the region; energy transition and carbon neutrality, tourism and many more
The Sofia Economic Forum provided an opportunity to identify and assess critical challenges to the countries’ growth, discuss best policy practices from other countries, support the adoption of corporate social innovation practices in the private sector and identify specific policy actions toward more competitive and inclusive economies in South East Europe.
Deloitte Bulgaria (Deloitte) is now part of Sofia IS – the city initiative between local Sofia companies and Invest Sofia aimed at free-of-charge integrated services to investors in Sofia. The partnership was agreed upon by signing a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) and Deloitte. The document was signed by Sylvia Peneva – Managing partner of Deloitte Bulgaria during an official meeting.
Deloitte was founded in London in 1845. The international company has been present in Bulgaria since 1992. The company provides audit services, tax and legal advice, technology solutions, risk management services, cyber security consulting, etc.
Under the signed Agreement, Deloitte’s team in Bulgaria will provide entrepreneurs exploring Sofia as a next investment destination with initial advice on Grants and Incentives, Public Procurement, State Aid, Global Mobility Services, Corporate Tax, Indirect Tax, Accounting and Payroll, Legal Services.
Joanna Dragneva, Ph.D. Chief Expert at the Investment Analysis Department of Invest Sofia, took part in the panel discussions on the development of municipal policies that support innovation, digital transition, youth employment, entrepreneurship, and sustainable urban development. The discussion was held under the Horizon 2020-funded Territorial Development through Responsible Science and Innovation Project – RRI-LEADERS. During the discussions, Dragneva, Ph.D. presented the activities of Invest Sofia in support of startup companies and young entrepreneurs, as well as the Agency’s activities that aim to help foreign citizens who want to set up in Sofia. The RRI-LEADERS project aims to support the local governments in four European territories – Sofia, Bulgaria, Talville – Switzerland, Sadabel – Spain, and West Macedonia in Greece. Joanna Dragneva Ph.D took part in the discussion at the invitation of Sofia Development Association which is leading the implementation of the project.
More than 1000 young people visited the largest career forum Bulgaria Wants You: Sofia: Career and Life- Why Bulgaria? to investigate career opportunities in Bulgaria. Invest Sofia was an official institutional partner of the event that was held on June 11 – 12 in the capital.
More than 80 companies from different business sectors took part. Our team also presented the Agency’s activities and success cases of work on various projects in Sofia Municipality, as well as projects of cooperation with other Bulgarian municipalities.
The Bulgaria Wants You event was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Gabriel. A welcome speech was also given by the Chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev.
The idea behind the forum initiated by Ivan Hristov and Andrey Arnaudov is to motivate the attendees to start and develop their career path in Bulgaria by presenting different career opportunities that companies in Bulgaria can offer.
“My answer to the question Career and life – why in Bulgaria? has three aspects. First of all – the key role of talent in innovation in Bulgaria. Second, the type of innovation we should focus on. And third, how to make Bulgaria one of the most dynamic innovation ecosystems in South East Europe. I think it is important to make Bulgaria attractive for talent to choose and develop their careers here. No doubt, the role of education is crucial,” Gabriel said.
During the forum, the discussion Demography Has No Price was held, attended by policy-makers, businesses, state institutions, employers’ organisations, trade chambers, and experts. The participants discussed specific policies aimed at overcoming the negative demographic trends in the country.
“There is a job in Bulgaria for everyone who hesitates whether they will find a job in their homeland after obtaining a diploma abroad,” said the chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev. He told about his personal experience after graduating in London and gave examples of career development opportunities in Sofia-based companies.
The music producer Stanislava Armutlieva, actor Kalin Sirmenov, interior designer Alex Kovachev, Stoyan Minev from Lidl Bulgaria, Nikolay Dragiev from DXC Technology, Diana Kostova from Kaufland Bulgaria, Konstantin Kirov from ProCredit bank and entrepreneur Daniel Bachovsky also attended the event. This year the forum was held under the patronage of the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliana Iotova.
On the initiative of the Center for Sustainable Communities Development and the Bulgarian School of Politics, the team of Invest Sofia presented the Jobs in Sofia platform to the newly formed Refugee Advocacy Board. Our Senior Experts from the Investment Analysis Department, Joanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin, met with refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Kuwait and gave guidance on the opportunities the website offers to people who have sought asylum in our country.
On Jobs in Sofia, any foreign national who wants to establish their daily life in Sofia and Bulgaria can search for a job by creating a professional profile and apply for vacancies that Invest Sofia’s business partners publish on the platform. The website allows candidates to have their own profile, which is accessible to employers at any time. The website is available in Ukrainian, Russian, English and Bulgarian and was created by the Sofia Municipality and Invest Sofia in the first days after the war in Ukraine to help the refugees. To update the platform, Invest Sofia not only worked with companies in Sofia, but also collaborated with other major municipalities in Bulgaria.
The formation of the Refugee Board in Bulgaria is part of the project “Partnership for Sustainable Refugee Inclusion”, implemented by the Center for Sustainable Community Development and the Bulgarian School of Politics with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund in Bulgaria. Its members have already been trained in three modules and are currently implementing meetings with representatives of different institutions to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to enable their integration, social participation and be able to provide assistance to other refugees in Bulgaria.
The feedback we received during the meeting was that the platform is both interesting and useful and although it was launched in connection with the refugee flow from Ukraine, it can be further developed and adapted to provide opportunities for asylum seekers from other countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Kuwait, etc.
At the invitation of Policy Dialogue with Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Maria Gabriel, Invest Sofia participated in the policy dialogue “Education and Innovation – Interactions and Challenges”. The meeting took place at the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria in Sofia, under the hostage of Commissioner Gabriel, and the active participation of school directors, university rectors, business representatives, associations, and students from all over the country.
The dialogue was organized on the occasion of Europe Day, May 9th. The focus was on innovation, education, entrepreneurship and regional innovation ecosystems. Challenges and opportunities were discussed, as well as key European initiatives and programmes in these areas.
Our CEO, Maria Hristova Ph.D., joined the discussions. Speakers, along with Commissioner Maria Gabriel, were the Rector of the Technical University of Sofia – Prof. Ivan Kralov, the Mayor of Gabrovo – Tanya Hristova, and the Executive Director of JA Bulgaria – Milena Stoycheva. Students and pupils also participated in the discussions.