Sofia already has its first Wine Map – a guide to places in the city where you can taste quality Bulgarian wine. The map was created at the initiative of Sofia Municipality in partnership with the Bulgarian Association of Wine Professionals (BAWP) and includes information about 40 wine shops, bars, and restaurants, their location, as well as brief descriptions of local varieties, vineyards, regions, cellars, opportunities for wine tours in the city and a calendar of events in Sofia related to Bulgarian wine. The map is now available on the sofia.bg website and can be viewed and downloaded from the following page.
Sofia Municipality is designing two more tourist products. The map “Discover the Birds of Sofia” and the map “Street Arts in Sofia” are to be presented.
The online voting under Sofia Municipality’s “Sofia Votes for GREEN” is underway. A total of 37 projects proposed by citizens in areas such as designing new parks, tree planting, sustainable waste management, recycling, landscaping of bus stops, recreation areas, and more are participating in the competition. Citizens can support only one project and vote only once. The most voted project/ projects will be included in the Investment Programme of Sofia Municipality for 2022 and receive implementation support.
The initiative takes place for a second consecutive year. It aims to encourage direct citizen participation and the participation of non-governmental and professional organizations in proposing projects for the city. The budget for 2022 is BGN 1 million for the implementation of one or more projects that have received the most votes. If an idea with a budget of BGN 1 million wins the first place, it will be the only one that will receive implementation, whereas if the sum of the budgets of the first 3 most voted projects is up to the total amount for financing, all three will be implemented. Learn more about the projects and the voting in the following video. Have your day for the proposed projects on the website of “Sofia chooses GREEN” by March 14.
The Faculty Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation at the University of Twente, the Netherlands and the GATE Institute at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”, the only institute of its kind in the field of big data for the Balkans and Eastern Europe, have signed a memorandum of cooperation. The organizations will collaborate in the field of research and
Jobs in Sofia is the platform by Invest Sofia and the Sofia Municipality in support of people fleeing the war in Ukraine and want to find safety and work in Sofia and Bulgaria.
“Anyone looking for a job can create a professional profile with information about their work experience and apply for vacancies that our partners announce and will publish on the platform,” the Municipal Councilor and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency, Mr. Nikolay Stoynev said at a meeting with the Ukrainian community in Sofia.
He presented the opportunities for support that the Sofia Municipality has already provided. Open positions not only in Sofia but for the whole country will be listed as the Agency works with municipalities and employers in Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna, Ruse, Veliko Tarnovo and other major cities in the country.
The Jobs in Sofia Platform allows candidates to create a profile available to employers at any time. “The first job announcements have already been uploaded. Invest Sofia also has announced a vacancy – for an expert who left Ukraine because of the war and who speaks Ukrainian / Russian, English, and Bulgarian so that he or she can directly help in the process. The Agency is ready to deliver direct personal support to anyone looking for a job,” CEO Dr. Maria. Hristova said during the meeting.
The German company MULTIVAC, a leading supplier of integrated packaging solutions, is expanding its production base in the Bozhurishte Economic Zone near Sofia. A factory building with pre-assembly areas and a Shared Services facility, will be built on an area of about 5000 sq.m. The investment amounts to around 5 million euros and completion is planned for autumn 2022.
MULTIVAC’s production site near Sofia started operations in 2018 and its capacity is now fully utilised. The new investment aims to increase the company’s production capacity in Bulgaria. In addition to the site in Bulgaria, MULTIVAC has twelve additional production sites in Germany, Austria, Spain, Brazil, China, Japan and the United States, as well as over 80 subsidiaries worldwide.
The Sofia-based startup Boleron has been accepted for participation in the NEXT FinTech program of the Romanian accelerator for tech startups Techcelerator. The two-month programme provides the companies with sales, marketing and investment opportunities. Boleron is a digital insurance software platform specifically designed for purchasing and managing insurance products via mobile phone. The Sofia-based company is among the ten startups admitted to the accelerator, along with companies from Romania, Greece, the United Kingdom and Armenia.
Another Sofia-based company, the e-commerce platform CloudCart, raised 750 thousand euros investment from Elevator Ventures and New Vision 3 (NV3). The resource will help the company expand its business in CEE markets. The investment round was led by Elevator Ventures, the venture capital division of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), with the participation of the existing investor in the company – NV3. Last year, the company reported significant growth – over 9,000 registered online stores and over 3.5 million orders placed through the platform.
The CloudCart platform does not require technical or design expertise from the e-shop owners and offers a free plan for startup retailers until a certain minimum revenue from their sales is reached. At the end of last year, the Sofia startup was once again listed in the Deloitte CEE Technology Fast 50 ranking and awarded in the Impact Stars category for successful products and services with positive impact on society, business, and environment.
Next cohort of 17 companies receives investment for growth from the Vitosha Venture Partners fund. A total of 15 out of them are Sofia-based startups with products and services in areas such as B2B trade, education, food, sportswear, entertainment, pet care, proptech, solar energy, e-bikes components, etc. The
The ninth edition of the Innovation Academy, the biggest competition for student startup ideas, will take place soon. The competition is organised by the innovation agency Innovation Starter.
Again, Invest Sofia will join the hackathon as an institutional partner of the event together with the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria and the European Investment Bank. At the invitation of the organisers, our CEO Dr. Maria Hristova will be a speaker and a member of the jury.
The Innovation Academy is the largest public-private partnership in the country between organizations from the private, academic, public and NGO sectors. The project aims at developing students’ entrepreneurial skills and at funding their early business ideas. The initiative started in 2014 in partnership with 1 university from Sofia. Today, the event is held nationwide, in partnership with 14 Bulgarian universities and training centers. So far, more than 4,300 participants and more than 720 teams have been trained in the project.
Innovation Academy 2022 will be held in 3 main modules:
The first and the second winning teams will receive financial funding for their business idea, provided by the European Investment Bank and the Bulgarian Development Bank, and a visit to the European institutions in Brussels provided by the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria for the teams on first, second and third place.
We invite all students from Sofia and the country to join the hackathon. Innovation Academy 2022 will be held on June 3-4th at Sofia Tech Park. You can apply online via the website here.
The 2022 YTILI Fellowship Application, the U.S. Department of State’s flagship programme for emerging entrepreneurs from Europeq is now open. You can apply for the Young Transatlantic Innovation Leaders Initiative Fellowship Program – YTILI until March 15 if you are a business or social entrepreneur under teh age of 35. The YTILI Fellowship Programme will empower a new cohort of young Europeans to grow their ventures, foster global partnerships, and positively impact the economic development of their communities.
YTILI is a two-way exchange program designed to strengthen the transatlantic relationship, develop sustainable partnerships between U.S. and European entrepreneurs and innovators, promote regional integration and cooperation in Europe, and encourage European businesses, governments and civil society to develop their innovation ecosystems. The program includes a customized virtual YTILI entrepreneurial curriculum; a fellowship with a business or organization in one of nine U.S. cities; opening and closing conferences; and alumni engagement opportunities. Apply here: https://ytili.org/.
Six new challenges have benn published on the BIA platform for open innovations, that connects companies and institutions with startups for solving specific challenges or developing new solutions in a certain field. The current challenges concern topics related to packaging safety and quality, bioplastics, packaging innovations, recycling and more. To access the full description of the topics and apply, you must first register in the BIA’s platform here – https://scalingup.wixsite.com/website.
SMEs interested in testing and validating AI resources can now apply in StairwAI first open call. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and is looking for low-tech SMEs from any industry ready to test and validate AI resources to improve their products, services, or value chains focusing on one of the call-specific challenges: Rethinking and visibility of supply chains, Human resources , Management of data generated by the internet of things, Predictive maintenance, Zero defect manufacturing, Environmental issues, Logistics, Chatbots. StairwAI considers low-tech SMEs as any company that is unaware of AI applications or is a savvy consumer of AI solutions and is capable of identifying use cases for AI applications. Apply before 15th March 2022 here.
If you are looking for new customers, suppliers or research and development partners in green energy and decarbonization technologies, you can register for participation in the virtual B2B meetings within the EU-Japan Green Transition 2022. Participation is free and the registration deadline is March 17.
The Expert Commission for the evaluation of the projects submitted under the Programme will review the received project proposals based on the publicly announced Accelerator Startup Sofia Methodology. Some 24 projects from individuals and legal entities have been submitted within the application period.
After the evaluation phase of the project proposals by the Expert Commission, all eligible projects should be approved by the Sofia Municipal Council. After the approval of the list of projects proposed for funding, contracts with the approved beneficiaries will be signed and the implementation of the projects will be kicked off.
This is expected to happen in early April 2022. The implementation of projects will begin according to the deadlines specified in the Guidelines for Applicants.
The list of submitted project proposals is available HERE.
Invest Sofia concluded a Memorandum of Cooperation with the premium flexible office & networking space Entract 127. The Document was signed by Dr. Maria Hristova, CEO of Invest Sofia, and by Monica Grigorova, General Мanager at Entract 127 during a meeting on March 8, 2022.
Under the agreed partnership, the two parties will cooperate in holding initiatives related to the development of the entrepreneurial community in the city, and attracting investments in Sofia. As part of the agreement, Entract 127 will provide Invest Sofia with an equipped office space for meetings and events, aimed at supporting the business in the city.
Entract 127 is one of Sofia’s newest premium flexible office & networking spaces, providing opportunities for valuable professional networking. The organisation is a partner of the French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and BBBA and is a frequent event host of the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies – BASSCOM, the Bulgarian Fintech Association, and others. Entract 127 is situated on six floors, right in the heart of Sofia, on 127 Rakovski St. The investors have completely renovated the administrative center of Slavianska Beseda and regained the importance of the iconic place, turning it into a flexible and elegant office space for work, creativity, and networking.
‘I am very pleased with our partnership with Entract 127. The business space is a project of successful foreign entrepreneurs in Sofia – Olga Marsenak and Xavier Marsenak, who stand behind the Sofia-based biotech “Nasekomo”, and Christophe Coutat, founder and owner at Advent Group, a leading company in marketing and holding events for higher education institutions. This confirms the long-term intentions of foreign investors in the city and shows that they see favorable conditions for the development of their future investment projects. It’s great that Sofia’s landmark building from 1935, designed in the typical modernist style of its time, has been preserved and since last year has been the meeting place for Sofia’s vibrant business ecosystem’, Dr. Maria Hristova said on the occasion of signing the Memorandum with Entract 127.
👉 Women entrepreneurs constitute 30% of entrepreneurs in Bulgaria.
👉Bulgaria is among the EU leaders in proportion of women scientists and engineers, ranking fourth with 49.6%, just behind Lithuania, Portugal and Denmark.
We want more women entrepreneurs in our economy and we strive to motivate their endeavors in every economic field.
Happy Women’s Day, dear ladies! Be satisfied, inspired and successful!
The Sofia-based startup companies need as much help as strategic investors in the city. At Invest Sofia, we strongly believe in this. We pay special attention to our startups and focus our best efforts to help them scale. This couldn’t be possible without the partnership of the Bulgarian Startup Association – BESCO. We are truly grateful for their support in all our initiatives.
Skilled staff, green and friendly city: these are among the main advantages which attract new investors to Sofia.
Despite the decrease in investments in the domestic industry that we saw in 2021, we managed to attract the second largest Indian company. It has already set the start of its activities in Sofia and plans to create 300 new jobs in the automotive sector industry in the next twelve months, Dr. Maria Hristova, CEO at Invest Sofia, said in an interview for BTA. The city attracts investors mostly with its talent pool. For the successful implementation of its activities, the company was looking for experts in engineering, fluent in foreign languages but also liked the good connectivity of Sofia, the green urban areas, the lively cultural life in the city, and decided to set up here, in Sofia, Hristova added.
Find out more in the interview for BTA here:
Until March 22 public and private organizations can apply in the first set of calls for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility Digital program. The planned budget is € 258 million in grants that aim to improve Europe’s digital connectivity infrastructures, in particular, Gigabit and 5G networks that contribute to Europe’s digital transformation.
There are 11 thematic axes open for legal entities, public or private organizations, including joint ventures established in EU countries. Participation is subject to certain security restrictions, as defined in each call text. More information can be found on the special pages here and here.
Startups and SMEs can submit applications for the European Commission’s EIC Accelerator. The accelerator will provide more than € 1 billion and will aim to help scale up European companies with the potential to make a big impact. More than half of the funding goes to innovation in every area leading to a breakthrough, and € 495 million are dedicated to supporting innovations related to the European Green Deal, as well as digital and health technologies.
Companies are required to provide a video presentation, pitch deck and complete a short questionnaire on their project and the team. Feedback on applications is received within four weeks after the submission, and companies that meet the basic criteria will receive an invitation and assistance in preparing the full set of documents for inclusion in the periodic admissions to the Accelerator Open and Accelerator Challenge programs. More information can be found here.
The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is ready to support Bulgarian companies interested in participating in the fifth edition of the China International Import Expo / CIIE /, which will be held from 5 to 10 November 2022 in Shanghai. CIIE is among China’s main initiatives to expand market opportunities and promote global economic recovery. The advantages of participation are B2B meetings, the opportunity to present new products and services, access to various additional events throughout the year and more. Exhibitors from the following sectors are invited to participate: food and agriculture; automotive industry, information technology, consumer goods, medical equipment and health products, services. For more information and participation you can contact the BCCI at the contacts listed here.
Lifescience and health companies now have the opportunity to participate in bilateral business meetings during the BIONNALE 2022 hybrid event, which will be held on May
At Sofia Tech Park, the University of National and World Economy (UNWE), Bulgaria’s largest economics university, and the Petascale Supercomputer Bulgaria Consortium have signed an Agreement on Fundamental Research. The joint research aims to integrate the “Big Data System with Business Analysis and Artificial Intelligence – Hadoop” (HPDA), developed at UNWE, with the petascale computer in the technology park. Under the signed agreement of cooperation, the Consortium and UNWE plan to collaborate in projects related to smart agriculture and smart cities and buildings. Learn more at the university website here.
Sofia has marked a 44% increase in the number of tourists in 2021. According to the Unified Tourist Information System (UTIS) of the Ministry of Tourism, tourists spend an average of 2 days in the city, and there is a 50% increase in overnight stays. Travel has not recovered to its pre-crisis levels, but the ongoing trend is positive. Tourists in Sofia are mostly in the 30-44 age group. For a second consecutive year, Bulgarian visitors have a larger share than foreign ones – 52% and 48%, respectively, while the trend in overnight stays is the opposite – 45% vs. 55%. In 2021, Sofia was the preferred destination for tourists from Romania (90% more than in 2020). The number of tourists from Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Israel, and the United States has also increased. According to a study by Sofia Municipality, over 70% of foreigners have visited Sofia for the first time, the rest did so more than twice and 74% of all respondents would return to Sofia, which indicates the tourists’ overall satisfaction after their stay in the city.
The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (NAG) of Sofia Municipality has been awarded by the Institute of Public Administration for good practices and innovations in public services. NAG won the category “Technological solutions for open management and administrative services”. It was awarded for the mobile application NAG.Mobile, which provides tools for visualization of data from regulatory plans, cadastral maps, areas of construction boundaries, aerial photography, administrative maps, enacted administrative acts, and GPS location tools.
The first Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals has been operating in Sofia for a third consecutive month. The project is being run by experts from the Sofia Municipality, the Sofia Development Association, the Bulgarian Red Cross, and others. The bureau offers services in at least