Sofia Starts its Participation in the European Commission’s Intelligent Cities Challenge Programme

The City of Sofia will participate in the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) initiative.

The ICC is the latest of the European Commission’s initiatives to build a green Europe by fostering intelligent and sustainable growth across European cities. The ICC seeks to help 100 smaller and medium-sized EU cities to support green, climate-neutral, sustainable growth, tackle the biggest urban challenges and improve the quality of life. 

Innovative Sofia, the Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development department of Sofia Municipality, on behalf of the city, will manage the participation of the city in the European Commission’s initiative. The official launch of the ICC will take place between September 28 and October 2 via a series of virtual events throughout the entire week. 

All the cities that will participate in the ICC will be announced during the first two weeks of July. We invite you to check the ICC website for updates on the selected cities – https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/

ICC builds on the successful Digital Cities Challenge, which saw 41 cities create a vision, strategy and roadmap for their digital transformation. Under the Digital Cities Challenge project of the EC, the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia was developed. EU experts, our team, the team of Innovative Sofia and over 100 local stakeholders, including Sofia-based companies with a total turnover of over BGN 3.23 billion and over 17,000 employees, took part in the process. On June 11, 2020, the Sofia City Council unanimously approved the Document. Here is a list of everything you might want to know about the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia.

ICC will focus on strategy implementation, a common platform for open data, a marketplace for intelligent city solutions, joint investments, new support mechanisms and a new international dimension. It will help Europe lead the way in creating smarter cities that are more sustainable and social. Through the ICC, cities will receive tailored support – in person, online, and as a community – to implement their transformation strategies. Next to expert advice tailored to each participating city, the ICC will offer regular network support activities and gatherings of the community, training and online toolboxes and mentoring from innovative mentor cities. 

The ICC programme covers a 2.5-year period and builds upon a cycle of assessment of prioritized issues and needs, vision and roadmap definition, implementation and measurement, with the objective for cities to be transformed through the use of intelligent and advanced technologies.


Sofia to Join the Smart Cities – Urban Tech Solutions to Shorten the Road to Recovery Webinar


Urban Tech just launched a series of monthly online webinar events dedicated to urban tech solutions that help cities shorten the road to recovery from the COVID19 crisis. 

If you focus on Smart Cities and are responsible for city development or Urban Technology business and interested to learn how our cities define their strategy and tactical plan for now and after the crisis subsides, then these free webinars are for you.

Sofia Municipality was invited to take part in the Smart cities – urban tech solutions to shorten the road to recovery webinar to be held on July 9, 15:00 – 15:45 BST / 16:00 – 16:45 CEST. 

On July 9, join the event to hear great experts:
> Innovative Sofia, Sofia Municipality

>  MIDAS – Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency
>  the fastest growing commercial real estate services firm Avison Young, and
>  INREGU, the French national institute of research and education in urban management


In the upcoming meeting:

  • Practical examples of tech solutions that have been introduced to help respond to the challenges caused by pandemics.
  • How are cities equipped to cope with COVID-19 and what lessons can we learn from each other to future-proof?
  • Has enough attention been paid to implementing solutions?
  • How can innovation and technology help overcome obstacles to recovery?
  • How to plan a post-pandemic-resistant city – obstacles versus opportunities.


Register now!


Sofia Ranks 1st in Smart City Development in the Emerging Europe ‘Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020’


Sofia ranks 1st in the Smart City Development category and 7th in the overall ranking of Emerging Europe for the best cities for doing business in Central and Eastern Europe – Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020. Sofia is also in the Top 10 in the Quality of Life category, sharing the 5th place with Gdynia, Poland, Bratislava, and Slovakia. For the ranking, Emerging Europe investigated 75 cities in the region of developing Europe – capitals and cities with over 200,000 inhabitants.

The Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020 is part of the Emerging Europe Awards 2020 – the third edition of a program that presents the best of Europe’s developing region and honors the achievements of individuals, public and private organizations, projects, and initiatives.

Budapest has been named the most business-friendly city. The Hungarian capital also tops two of the eight categories taken into account in the ranking – Brand, and Local Authority Support.  Sofia, along with Tallinn, is the winner in the category Smart City Development. Tbilisi leads in Economic Potential, Łódź in Business Climate, Bucharest in Pool of Talent, Warsaw in Infrastructure and Connectivity, and Prague in Quality of Life. Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw lead the overall ranks, where Sofia ranks 7th.

Due to the restrictive measures around Covid-19, this year, the ranking was presented online. In its publication, Emerging Europe quoted the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova on the occasion of Sofia’s recognition as one of the two leading cities in the category Smart City Development.

“Our efforts are focused on implementing innovative solutions in city governance and urban development,” she says. “Sofia is changing and the most important thing is that more and more citizens are taking part in this change. Sofia’s most valuable asset is the city’s highly educated workforce that is demanding a constantly improving city environment. We are working with a consistent focus on one strategic priority – the improvement of the quality of life of its citizens.”



Sofia Included in Technology Cities of the Future 2020/21 Report by fDi Magazine and TNW



TNW’s and fDi Magazine’s international panel of judges have now selected the winners and top-performing cities in the debut research and ranking entitled Tech Cities of the Future 2020/21. Data was collected for 76 locations in Europe, 25 in total were shortlisted, Sofia being among them. 


We are delighted to announce that Sofia has received a high score in the following 3 categories:


  • – 20th in fDi and TNW Tech City of the Future 2020/21
  • – 7th in fDi and TNW Tech City of the Future 2020/21 for Cost Effectiveness
  • – 17th in fDi and TNW Tech City of the Future 2020/21 for F.D.I. Strategy 


Technology Cities of the Future 2020/20  is a debut ranking focused on finding those European cities with the most promising prospects for start-ups, tech and innovation investment. London, Paris and Dublin are the top-ranking cities in the overall ranking. 


Cities were evaluated under five categories: Economic Potential, Innovation and Attractiveness, FDI Performance, Cost Effectiveness and Start-up Environment. In addition, surveys were collected under a sixth category – FDI Strategy. Locations that ranked in the top 20 in this category were given bonus points, which contributed to their overall score. 


We believe that the next inclusion of Sofia in a prestigious international ranking is of great importance for the positive image of the city and its strong position on the global map of innovation, technology and business hubs.


fDi Magazine, in partnership with TNW, has prepared this debut issue of Technology Cities of the Future 2020/21 to highlight the impact of tech hubs on the global economy. Silicon Valley, with its high concentration of hardware and software companies, is by far the most famous representation of a tech city – but the concept has been exported and replicated across the globe. Tech cities are hugely beneficial to local, national, and international economies. They create employment, attract investment, talent, and can help re-energise local pockets in cities and more remote areas. One thing is for sure: tech cities seldom emerge on their own, rather they are often the byproduct of resolute urban planning and government intervention, the report states. 


The full document is available for free download: https://www.fdiintelligence.com/article/77846


fDi Intelligence is a department of Financial Times, specializing in areas relating to investment and promotion of the investment climate globally. The professional magazine targets