Invest Sofia Sharing Its Experience in the Digital Cities Challenge Project in Vienna

Sofia Investment Agency attended the European Cities Conference for Digitalisation organised by Vienna Municipality on 18th and 19th June. At the invitation of Vienna Municipality and together with other European еxperts,  representatives of civil society and business our team took part in a discussion about what European city councils will look like in 2030.


Our Chief Executive, Mr. Vladimir Danailov presented the challenges, the experience gained and the results so far from Sofia’s participation in the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge Program. He also took part in a panel discussion on the topic E-government and European Municipalities.


The focus of the two-day conference was the issues arising from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in urban services, eGovernment opportunities for city services, open data, and how digitalization could be used for society and citizens. 


On the first day of the conference, AI was examined as a determining factor for the future of city administrations and the tension between humans and technical innovations, social criteria, and democratic processes. Vienna presented two municipal initiatives – the Vienna Manifesto on Digital Humanism and the program “Wien gibt Raum” (“Vienna provides space”) – a digital “One-Stop-Shop” that makes proceedings for the use of public space easier and faster for both citizens and enterprises. 


The conference participants agreed that society must retain ultimate control over the development of AI and that human-centric rules for the data collection are needed. Europe could take on a pioneering role in this regard by its data protection basic regulation (DSGVO), for example in comparison with China or the USA.


The Digitalisation conference in Vienna was part of the annual series of events – the European conferences of cities (ECC), that are organised by Eurocomm PR on behalf of the city of Vienna. For the events, Vienna welcomes experts from the urban institutions from Central and Southeastern Europe. Our team is honored to have been invited to participate in the discussion on current issues of municipal administration and services of general interest.


First Report on the Growing AI Sector in Bulgaria


SeeNews just published its new study titled Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem in Bulgaria, created in collaboration with the international innovation company Vangavis.

The Artificial Intelligence Ecosystem in Bulgaria is the first comprehensive report, covering the growing AI sector in Bulgaria.

Key points from the report:

  • The growing popularity of AI technologies is creating a startup wave in the country.
  • Retail, finance and media industries lead the way in terms of AI implementation in Bulgaria with over 30 local companies developing solutions for these sectors.
  • A total of 47 companies develop or use AI in Bulgaria, of which 32 are startups and scaleups, while 15 are national and international corporations.
  • The sector employed over 3,000 people; AI-related jobs account for 3% of the total developer job market in Bulgaria.
  • AI developers swung to a combined net profit of 17.2 million euro ($19.4 million) in 2017, on revenue of 206.9 million euro.

According to the report, Bulgaria’s AI startup ecosystem is still at an early stage of its development but has gained a significant momentum in the past few years, as around one-third of all companies researched for the report were established in the 2016-2018 period.

The report is available for free download at https://reports.seenews.com.


A New Guidebook by Invest Sofia: Startup and Innovation Ecosystem in Sofia


Тhe new guidebook “Startup and innovation ecosystem in Sofia” is already available for download from the website of Invest Sofia. The document contains information for the entrepreneurship environment in the capital, the advantages for startups, the access to funding and the organisations in support of the business in the city.

“Startup and innovation ecosystem in Sofia” contains a list and direct links to:

  • Co-working spaces
  • Accelerators and incubators
  • Governmental and municipal authorities, associations and foundations, networks and platforms in support of the entrepreneurs
  • Venture capital funds, business angels and other funding organisations
  • Startups in Sofia
  • Bulgaria and Sofia in the global media and rankings


We believe that the provided information will be beneficial for the promotion of Sofia and Bulgaria as business destinations and it will be useful for all of the investors and entrepreneurs who would like to seed and develop their ideas in Sofia.




If you have additional questions about the published report or other data concerning the entrepreneurship environment in Sofia, please do not hesitate to reach us at the following address: contact@investsofia.com


Invest Sofia Sharing Its Experience in the Digital Cities Challenge Project at the European Cluster Conference



By invitation of the organisers, Vladimir Danailov, the Executive Director of Sofia Investment Agency, participated , at the invitation of the organisers, in the European Cluster Conference which was held on 14th May in Bucharest, Romania. The invitation was extended to the Agency following a  recommendation from the European Commission about the good performance of our team in managing Sofia’s participation as a city in the Digital Cities Challenge project.

The European Cluster Conference is organised by the European Commission and discusses current and future cluster policies and priorities in order to continue to support sustainable industrial modernisation and interregional cooperation. This year’s event was dedicated on topics such as digitalisation and skills gap, circular economy, shared value and social impact. Every year, representatives of local and European institutions, cluster organisations, small and medium-sized enterprises, etc., are involved in the conference.

Vladimir Danailov participated in the panel discussion Promoting Strategic Interregional Cooperation and talked about the experience gained in the Digital Cities Challenge programme that aims to build cooperation between cities on their way to the elaboration and implementation of their individual digitization programmes.

At the end of 2017, Sofia Investment Agency won a place for the capital in the mentoring initiative of the EU along with 42 European cities. By the management of the project during the last 18 months, our team have managed to establish international contacts , as well as create an image for Sofia as a city that is ready for the digital transformation of the business environment.

The Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia, prepared under the European Commission’s mentorship, is in the process of being finalised and the official document will be completed  by June 5, 2019, when the high-level Conference ‘Digital Cities Challenges: Strategy for European cities in the 21st century’ will be held in Brussels. The event will mark the work of all cities in the initiative, and the CEO, Mr. Vladimir Danailov will take part in the discussion ‘Success Stories for Market Creation through the Digital Cities Challenge’ that is part of the panel The Cities As Market Creators.