Acronis Bulgaria has opened its new office in NV Tower – one of Sofia’s latest and most beautiful office buildings. The global cyber defense leader made a move because of the ever-growing team in our country and because of plans to double the number of employees to 1,000 within two years. The company says that Sofia has its largest development center – with specialists in R&D, sales, marketing, maintenance, and design. The Deputy Mayor of Sofia Municipality, Mr. Gencho Kerezov, also participated in the official opening ceremony of the new office.
NV Tower is located in the southeastern part of Sofia, an area that has developed a dynamic investment activity in recent years and is becoming one of the main areas for business and new construction in the city. The project follows the latest urban and architectural trends. The building has 21 floors and combines class A office space, residential floors, and floors for events, trade, sports, spa, and entertainment.
The Sofia-based startup Rush has attracted a USD 300,000 investment from the LAUNCHub Ventures fund. The company develops a fully automated solution for tracking shipments and submitting status updates to customers for the movement of products after online purchases. Rush was launched in 2019, and the e-purchases boom due to the pandemic led to their product’s rapid development. The company will increase its team and grow its portfolio of e-shops using its supply tracking module.
Another Sofia startup in e-commerce has made a successful step in its development. It is Metrilo – the platform for analyzing sales and consumer behavior of online stores. The company became part of the French Sendinblue. In its official announcement, the buyer states that in addition to the Bulgarian Metrilo, it invests in two other companies with capital for transactions totaling USD 47 million.
Sendinblue is a leading platform for full digital service by automating processes and digital marketing campaigns such as email and SMS marketing, CRM, registration forms, and more for corporations, online merchants, agencies, and individual clients. Among the brands in her portfolio are Carrefour, Michelin, Tissot, and Louis Vuitton. The company has offices in Paris, Toronto, Seattle, Berlin, Noida and has just launched in Sofia. Metrilo in Sofia will continue its activities as before but as part of the global business of the French company, which serves over 300,000 active users in 160 countries around the world.
Upcoming on February 27 and 28, 2022, are virtual bilateral meetings that will take place during the Health Tech Hub Styria Pitch & Partner 2022 (HTH Styria). The event is an opportunity for start-ups, small and medium enterprises with partially or fully developed solutions in healthcare, digihealth technologies, clinical activities, and more. Companies will present their developments to corporate participants in the event, who have already posed the specific challenges they are looking for solutions to. The project submission deadline is 21 November, and the cases companies’ cases are available on the competition website here.
Companies from Central and Southeast Europe can compete for funding for ideas or ready-made developments in clean technologies within the Innovation Hub 2021 of the German leader in the chemical industry BASF. It seeks developments in three areas – clean energy, farm products, and the circular economy. There is no limit to the development stage – it can be from concept to scaleup. The application process description is available here.
Horizon Europe has announced five new calls for project proposals from small and medium-sized enterprises. Projects must focus on innovation and research, have a vast discernment potential, and align with EU priorities for the next programming period. Eligible to apply, in addition to enterprises in the areas, are clusters, organizations, and institutions.
Under Horizon Europe, seven programs specifically in the field of healthcare and health-related technologies have also been announced. Applicants can submit project proposals in focus areas such as transformation in healthcare systems in Europe, new effective therapies for rare diseases, development of new generation vaccines, new methods of effective use of real-time data, plans for more efficient financing in healthcare, and others. You can find funding budgets and a description of the seven open calls here.
The metro expansion from “Hadji Dimitar” to “Levski G” will start this fall. The design will be carried out by the end of 2021, while the start of construction is planned for early 2022. The route will be 3 km long, having three metro stations, with three and a half years of implementation. The section through the Geo Milev and Slatina neighborhoods near Tsarigradsko Shosse Blvd. is also in the process of selecting contractors. Together, the two sections will serve 90 thousand citizens daily. The traffic in the direction of the two extensions is expected to be reduced by about 25%, and the number of cars in motion – by about 17 thousand.
Sofia became the first city in Bulgaria where address registration change can be done electronically via mobile phone. Students, property owners, and people living on rent or in a relative’s property in Sofia can now register both their current and permanent addresses most easily.
The identification is made by scanning the ID card from the mobile device’s camera and verification through the Evrotrust application. In case of registration in a rented property – the owner also makes the confirmation quickly and only electronically. More applications have been submitted to the system for the first 20 days from the service launch than for the last six years in the whole municipality.
The system is available at https://address.sofia.bg/bg and currently works in test mode for the area of ”Studentski grad.” It’s about to be gradually introduced in all regional administrations of
the Sofia Municipality.
With funds from the municipality and European co-financing, reconstruction, renovation, and energy efficiency measures will be introduced in Sofia Theater. The iconic building will retain its stone facade, while a new floor plan will improve the functionality of the interiors. An accessible environment for people with disabilities will also be provided.
Every weekend until 14 November, Jenski Pazar/Women’s Market will be a center of street culinary culture in Sofia with a series of WEEKEND MARKET events dedicated to small producers. Visitors will find farm products, freshly prepared restaurant food, drinks, a book and flower market, paintings, antiques, and art products. You can find information about each of the upcoming Saturday-Sunday bazaars here.
Career Show is a career advancement community that makes experts reaching their maximum professional potential. This year its leading career event brought together live and online some of the largest employers in Bulgaria and Europe with top talents.
The event once again stood out as the leading forum for qualified personnel in Bulgaria. Over 90% of the employers state that they are extremely satisfied and have managed to meet candidates with whom they will continue interviews after the event.
This year Invest Sofia is among the partners of the event as the two organizations share a common goal – connecting employers with qualified staff.
Head of the “Investment Analysis” department at Invest Sofia Victor Gusev presented the Agency’s one-stop-shop administrative services, free market analysis, and expert consultations for investors that our team provides to entrepreneurs who consider Sofia as an investment destination, as well as funding opportunities for startups during the international conference “Financial support for SMEs – SIMExpo 2021”.
The event was organized by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA). The aim of the forum was to increase the financial and investment culture of small and medium enterprises. The main goal of the forum was to increase the financial and investment culture among SMEs representatives by providing them with useful information about growth opportunities through various financial and investment instruments. During the event, financing institutions, investment and guarantee funds, and investors presented their products aimed at business expansion and growth.
Bulgaria ranks second in innovation after China among the countries in the upper middle-income group according to the Global Innovation Index 2021 of the World Intellectual Property Organization. In the overall ranking, our country climbs two positions up to 35th place and is among the 10 countries in Europe that are improving their performance this year.
According to the Index, Europe is still the second most innovative region in the world. It hosts 16 European economies that are innovation leaders and part of the Top 25. A total of 10 economies move up the ranks this year, Bulgaria being among them. The other countries are France, Iceland, Austria, Estonia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, and Belarus.
In the grouping by income, Bulgaria ranks second after China among 34 countries in the group “upper middle-income”, followed by Malaysia. In the same group, our country is among the economies that perform above expectations for level of development.
The Global Innovation Index measures 132 economies in the world and ranks them after an assessment of 81 indicators, divided into 7 categories. Data on ICT access and use, business environment, regulatory environment, market sophistication, education, high-tech manufacturing, software spendings, intellectual property payments, ISO 9001 quality certificates, expenditure on R&D, labor productivity, graduates in science and engineering are taken into account. The index model also tracks indicators identified in the three stages of the innovation journey: Science and innovations investments, Technological progress and Socioeconomic impact.
Tracking Innovation through the COVID-19 Crisis
In spite of the human and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and enterprises in many parts of the world have increased their investments in innovation. Scientific output, expenditures in research and development (R&D), intellectual property filings and venture capital (VC) deals continued to grow in 2021, building on strong pre-crisis peak performance.
The Global Innovation Tracker is a new feature of the Global Innovation Index 2021 that captures key innovation trends. It uses a set of indicators identified in the three stages of the innovation journey: Science and innovations investments, Technological progress and Socioeconomic impact.
The 2021 report estimates that despite the pandemic, governments and companies have increased their investment in innovation. Expenditures on research and development, filing of intellectual property documents, risky investments and scientific production have increased.
The world’s most innovative economy in 2021 is Switzerland followed by Sweden, the United States of America (U.S.), the United Kingdom
The Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA) together with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Investment Council at BCCI organized the international conference “Financial Support for SMEs – SIMExpo 2021”, which took place on September 28 and 29 in Sofia. The main goal of the forum was to increase the financial and investment culture among SMEs representatives by providing them with useful information about growth opportunities through various financial and investment instruments.
CEO Dr. Maria Hristova joined the discussion “Sofia – Investment destination. Guidelines for Successful Investment Projects”. During the event, financing institutions, investment and guarantee funds and investors presented their products in support of SMEs.
The second edition of the large-scale conference “Financial Support for SMEs – SIMExpo 2021”, organized by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA) together with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and the Investment Council at BCCI brought together funding institutions, investment and guarantee funds and investors to present their products aimed at business expansion and growth of SMEs.
Invest Sofia presented its activities in support of the business in the city during B2B meeting at the Expo Area of the hybrid event. During the conference, opportunities for one-to-one direct meetings with company representatives were provided to present specific financial opportunities following the current needs of enterprises.
Belgian Melexis has started expanding its team in Sofia after building a second chip production factory in the Gorublyane district in Sofia with an investment of EUR 75 million. The new factory covers an area of 15,000 sq.m. It will carry out production, research, and development activities, for which the company recruits the first 80 new employees – engineers, operators, and technicians. Melexis is a global engineering company and a world leader in designing, developing, and delivering solutions in microelectronics. The company entered the Sofia market in 2000 and, by consistent investments over the years, is constantly expanding its production capacity and team in our country.
FlixMobility, Europe’s largest carrier, wants to bring together a team of 200 people for its expert center in Sofia. It’s the German company’s third similar hub in Europe, following those in Harkov and Nuremberg, with Sofia being chosen among competition from six other locations on the continent. The company will look for experts in information technology and digitalization, marketing, e-commerce, accounting, and more.
Sofia-based Smart Organic is acquiring a German competitive brand for superfoods and bars, using the brand’s sales positions and market share on the German market, but manufacturing the products in the factory in Sofia. The investment will be financed with public funds raised through the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, with debt finance and equity. The company was founded in 2009, focusing entirely on healthy and tasty foods at affordable prices. The factory in the capital covers an area of 6,000 sq. m., divided into three production halls. Today, the company’s products are available in over 60 countries worldwide in Europe, Asia, and America. Starting this fall, the company is building a new part, where plant products, an alternative to animal products, will be tested.
Sofia-based startup Dronamics won the Etihad Cargo-sponsored Innovation Award – Product at the Air Cargo News Awards 2021, presented in London on 16 September. The competition in air freight has been compared to the one at the Oscars and the award is being presented for the 37th consecutive year. Another 13 companies were honored at this year’s ceremony after a direct vote by representatives of supply chains and experts in the field. The Sofia-based cargo delivery drone company recently announced the first of several strategic partnerships aimed at international expansion in delivering shipments with Black Swan drones. The association is with
The Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA) and the British-Bulgarian Business Association (BBBA) organize the participation of Bulgarian small and medium enterprises in the ICT sector in a Trade Mission with the involvement in business events in Manchester and Leeds, United Kingdom.
We invite companies in Sofia to apply for participation and join the mission on behalf of both organizations. The two cities are the most significant business centers in the UK after London and offer solid opportunities for growth, and BSMEPA covers the travel costs (including domestic transfers) and accommodation of the Bulgarian companies participating in the delegation.
The trade mission will be held between 21-26 November 2021 (dates may vary depending on potential travel restrictions), with the deadline for submitting documents for participation being 24 September.
Eligible to apply are companies with developments in the field of fintech, cybersecurity, digital healthcare, digital transformation of industrial processes; electronics, mechatronics, and mechanical engineering; automation and robotics; innovative industrial technologies, the main economic activity of which falls into one of the groups defined in the National Strategy for Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion 2014-2020 (NSSMEP).
The trade mission program is developed in partnership with the Bulgarian Embassy in the United Kingdom, the chambers of commerce, and investment units of the cities of Manchester and Leeds. It envisages bilateral meetings of Bulgarian companies with representatives of business circles from Manchester and Leeds, meetings at the Innovation Center in Manchester, visit of Media City – the most significant business association in the Manchester area, and others.
Visit BSMEPA’s website for complete instructions on the organization, the program, and the necessary documents for inclusion in the delegation: https://www.b2bconnect.bg/bg/events/view/33
Over the past months, several international companies established business operations or expanded their current operations in Sofia. The city offers indisputable advantages that attract investor interest, and the decisions for additional investments show their long-term development plans in our country.
Sofia is the largest economic center in Bulgaria, producing 40% of the county’s GDP and 1/3 of the country’s exports. Over 50% of the population has higher education and a high level of foreign language proficiency. Compared to other destinations in Europe, Sofia offers low prices for renting high-end offices, low hourly labor costs, has a well-developed transport system both in the city and connecting other economic centers in the country, while Sofia Airport offers 1-3 hour flights to the biggest European capitals and cities. Sofia has also established an image of a regional ICT center with large units of global companies that have chosen the city as a place to develop key operations, often using it as a starting point to reach markets in Europe and Asia.
The following are some of the companies that have chosen Sofia to establish and expand their activities in areas such as logistics, business process management, blockchain, automotive software, industrial production, consulting services, and more.
DocuWare, the world’s leading company in business process management software solutions, has opened a technology consulting and customer service center in Sofia for the markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The company is planning a gradual expansion in the coming years with experts in areas such as cloud technologies, Java and .NET programmers, B2B customer service, and more.
The American fintech GreenBox POS also started operating in Sofia acquiring the Bulgarian card payment services company Transact Europe EAD for EUR 30 million. GreenBox uses its blockchain technology for secure payments and is about to secure market share in Europe through a deal for the Sofia-based company. Transact Europe is licensed as a financial institution, regulated by the EU, is a member of Visa, Mastercard, and the Chinese UnionPay, and is part of the SEPA euro payments program. All this provides it with a network for payments. Access to the European Economic Area will significantly expand the American company’s business in Europe, GreenBox POS stated in its official release.
The British Knight Frank, the leading consulting company in business and luxury residential properties, has also entered the Bulgarian market. The representative
At the invitation of the French-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (CCIFB) Invest Sofia took part in a two-day event on the occasion of the start of the new business season. The meetings took place on September 14-15, at Grand Hotel Sofia, in the presence of members and partners of the Chamber.
New perspectives, future projects and important topics related to the French-Bulgarian bilateral business relations have been discussed at the event. CCIFB presented its new members, as well as expectations on the business environment in the country by the end of this year and in 2021.
French companies in Bulgaria want to expand their presence in the country. The French business is interested in investments in infrastructure, industry and services. The President of the French-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce Stephane Delahaye reminded that two new French companies established their presence in Bulgaria – Meridiem investment fund, a 49% participant in the Sof Connect consortium, selected as a 35 + 15 concessionaire at Sofia Airport and the French company BIC that officially launched its global account, HR and software service center in Sofia. Bulgaria should keep its talents and bring Bulgarians abroad back in the country so that French businesses can rely on skilled experts here, Stephane Delahaye also said in his welcome speech.
We would like to thank CCIFB for the opportunity to participate in the meetings.