Within our initiative to support the refugees in Sofia, Viktor Gusev – Head of the Investment Analysis Department and Olena Filina, Senior Expert at Invest Sofia presented job opportunities, vacancies, and support in dealing with the local administration at meeting with Ukrainians in Sofia. Our partners from Caritas Bulgaria – non-profit organization implementing social work to support vulnerable people in society at the Catholic Church in Bulgaria and the the European project RIDE – an initiative that aims to include migrant and refugee women in the digital labour market also took part in the meeting.
We presented our platform Jobs in Sofia, created to help Ukrainian refugees who are already establishing their daily lives in our country and need employment support. We discussed local labor market aspects and the instruments our organizations can assist with towards re-skilling, upskilling, finding a job, and more.
We remind you that the Jobs in Sofia platform https://jobs.investsofia.com/ is available in Ukrainian, Russian, English and Bulgarian, and vacancy announcements have already been listed by Sofia-based companies. The platform is open to companies that want to list their open positions, as well as to job seekers. Users can easily create a personal profile and professional resume by listing their education level, skills, previous professional experience, and language skills. Users are allowed to attach a CV, certificates and diplomas, video presentations, etc.
The team of Invest Sofia partners with other major municipalities in the country to encourage companies from Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas and other Bulgarian cities with local refugee communities to publish their open positions as well.
Rubik Hub, the Romanian startup hub, together with two VC funds ROCA X and SeedBlink from Romania, and accelerator Global Kinetics from Silicon Valley and Startup Wise Guys from Estonia launched a startup accelerator. Rubik Garage is an equity-free acceleration program aiming to support startups from CEE or SEE raise their first investment round. The program is focusing on startups with an innovative product or business model that have a minimum viable product and/or an experienced team.
On behalf of the organising team, we invite startups from Sofia and Bulgaria to apply for participation.
Rubik Garage is free of charge and is organised by Rubik Hub and the North-East Regional Development Agency. Its main focus are startups from the verticals of MedTech, EdTech, Climate, Tourism, Social Impact, Fintech, Smart Cities, Automation, using technologies such as Saas, IoT, AI, VR, AR, XR, Big data, and blockchain. However, if you are focused on other areas and feel your startup can make a dent in the universe, then apply here!
Applications are open until May 1st, 2022.
The selection process:
The selected startups will be announced on the 6th of May. The selection jury is comprised of experts from Rubik Hub and its strategic partners: the Romanian VC funds ROCA X and SeedBlink, and the accelerators Global Kinetics from Silicon Valley, USA, and Startup Wise Guys from Estonia.
Rubik Garage 2022 – the program
Rubik Garage is a hybrid acceleration program, in English. The program will begin on 18th of May and it comprises 3 phases:
The acceleration phase starts with a Founders’ Bootcamp and a launch event, on 18th -20th of May. Here, the founders will meet the mentors, the strategic partners and the wider Rubik Hub community and will attend in-person workshops. This will take place in Rubik Hub, in Piatra Neamt, Romania, in a 1200sq space created exclusively for startup events and co-working, and surrounded by forests and mountains.
At an official meeting on April 27, 2022, Invest Sofia and Diana Sivinova, Managing Representative of Innovative Consulting, signed a Memorandum of Cooperation between the organizations.
Under the agreement, Invest Sofia and Innovative Consulting will cooperate in activities related to supporting new investors in the city through market analyses; strategic planning and consulting that will help them build a unique brand identity, reputation and communication strategy, as well as optimized media mix aimed at strong brand presence. Thus, Innovative Consulting is now part of the partner network of Invest Sofia under the Sofia IS initiative – the first of its kind city programme in Bulgaria for partnership between the city administration and local companies operating in Sofia to provide full-scope services to new investor inquiries.
Innovative Consulting is a communications and strategic marketing agency with long experience in the field of brand management and image-making. The company has implemented a number of successful communication campaigns for local and international brands, public figures and celebrities.
The agreement between the two parties aims to encourage the exchange of expertise and business contacts and initiate joint activities of mutual interest.
The Sofia-based startup Releva, which helps online stores grow, raised 870,000 euros to accelerate operations and support the global strategy of the company. The financial round was led by the Fund of Funds’ fund manager New Vision 3 Fund with participation by HR Capital AD, Verto Invest and private investors. Releva started in 2019 with a marketing automation SaaS solution designed to meet the goals of two local online stores. The analytics growth platform Releva analyzes consumer behavior through artificial intelligence and predicts the next purchase, then allows automatic sending of personalized multi-channel messages and ads via email, SMS, messengers, Facebook, Google and more. Releva is in the process of implementing various technologies that combine real-time big data analysis related to sales and marketing operations, payments, analysis and forecasting, etc., so as to provide retailers with access to customized tools to plan and execute their supply chains. By 2025 retail e-commerce sales worldwide is expected to reach 7.4 trillion dollars. Therefore, the company plans to invest the raised capital to expand to foreign markets.
Chaos Group, a world leader in photorealistic 3D visualization, has announced the acquisition of the Danish company Cylindo – a platform for 3D computer visualization of commerce. The acquisition will enable the companies to further build on their vision of creating a leading end-to-end 3D visualization ecosystem with 3D, AR and VR content widely available to different sectors. Cylindo has over 160 employees in its offices in Boston (USA), Copenhagen (Denmark), Bitola and Skopje (Northern Macedonia). With the acquisition of Cylindo, the Chaos Group team in Sofia will manage nearlt 700 employees worldwide.
The French company Athos IT Solutions and Services Ltd has opened a new global Security Operations Center in Sofia. The new center is designed to rapidly identify and limit the impact of security incidents for large organizations globally. Athos is a French multinational company and the European number one in cybersecurity, cloud, and high-performance computing. More than 300 new jobs will be created in the new Security Operations Center in Sofia.
For the investment, Invest Sofia presented Athos with a Green card for individual administrative services. Find out more details here.
The European investment platform SeedBlink opened in Sofia its first office outside Romania. With this, the company complements its plans for expansion and accelerated growth. SeedBlink already has active partnerships within the Bulgarian ecosystem and the community of
The mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova presented a Green card for administrative services to the Greek-Spanish Etem Gestamp Aluminium Extrusions.
This is the sixth Sofia-based company to receive a Green card by Invest Sofia that serves as a “fast track” to tailored administrative services to investors in Sofia Municipality. ‘For us, innovation and green transformation are a key milestone to the development of the city,’ Mayor Fandakova said. She expressed her gratitude to the company for choosing Sofia for its new investment that will create 130 new jobs in the city.
Etem Gestamp Aluminium Extrusions is a leading manufacturer in the field of aluminum extrusion. The company has recently announced a new investment of 60 million euros in cutting edge technology and a fully automated internal logistic solution.
Etem’s strategy is focused on e-mobility, lighter vehicles and zero emissions in support of the global transition towards sustainability and carbon neutrality. The Greek-Spanish Group has a production plant in the Iliyantsi industrial zone. Etem started operating in 2019 as a project of the joint ventures Etem Bulgaria, part of the Greek Viohalco, and the Spanish Gestamp. In Sofia, Etem Gestamp also has an R&D center that works on product design together with the company’s customers.
The new investment in Sofia comes after Etem Gestamp signed two of the biggest projects in its history. At the end of 2022, the company plans to start mass production of battery boxes for Porsche and the Jaguar Land Rover Group. To meet the increasing demand, Etem Gestamp has an investment plan of over 60 million euros.
We are here to join efforts with the business in the city and help solve the challenges’, CEO at Invest Sofia Dr. Maria Hristova said. She outlined future partnership opportunities and committed to assisting the company in finding new staff.
Since the beginning of the year, Invest Sofia has presented six Green cards to investors currently implementing new projects on the territory of Sofia Municipality. The total amount of planned investments is 125 million euros, which will bring the city about 500 new jobs.
The team of Invest Sofia just published the fourth edition of Sofia Business Guide, a guide about Sofia as an investment destination. You can download the document from our website here.
Sofia Business Guide 2021 covers a wide range of topics and includes data on the city’s economy, workforce, education, transport and connectivity, industrial zones and areas with a concentration of business buildings in the city, priority industries, investment and entrepreneurial environment, quality of life and many more.
In the new edition, special attention is paid to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the labor market in Sofia, the construction sector, tourism and other spheres of urban life. The data show that the city’s economy continues to grow quite dynamically compared to other cities in the country and Sofia preserves its competitiveness during the pandemic.
Again, the Guide includes up-to-date statistics and information on the priority sectors in the economy of Sofia – artificial intelligence (AI), entertainment, movie industry and gaming, robotics, fintech, manufacturing, automotive sector, tourism and space industry.
The document contains also data on taxes, fees, investment incentives, the procedures for registering a company, funding opportunities and much more practical information for entrepreneurs who consider setting up a business in Sofia. Thus, the Sofia Business Guide 2021 serves as a step-by-step guide for starting a business in Sofia. Data are presented mainly in easily digested tables and infographics. Our team is available to provide additional data, guidance and tailored assistance to investors and entrepreneurs in the capital.
“In 2022, we’ll stay focused on attracting new investors, providing a stable environment for the local companies, strengthening key sectors, and supporting an inclusive city-to-business attitude. We believe business and city leaders can work together in a number of key areas – long-term economic growth, sustainability, and good quality of life in the city. In addition to what we’ve already started, we will strive to initiate new productive partnerships between the city administration and the entrepreneurial ecosystem through direct cooperation, openness, long-term planning, incentives, and assistance for the continued stable growth of our vibrant and beautiful city – Sofia,” CEO Maria Hristova said on the occasion of the new Sofia Business Guide release.
Within days, the document will be available for download in English.
We would like to thank all supporting organizations for the information and guidance they provided for the new edition of the Sofia Business Guide
New technology-based innovative solutions for efficient use of energy resources, lower dependence on fossil fuels and reduction of carbon emissions in Sofia are among the priorities of Sofia Municipality, Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova said at the opening of the “Digital Sofia – Smart City” Conference.
The event, organized by Sofia Municipality and the Communications Regulation Commission, brought together representatives of Ministries, Municipal Administration, and business representatives. Yordanka Fandakova announced that almost 70% of the single-trip travel tickets sold by the Urban Mobility Center in Sofia are electronic tickets, which makes urban transport in the city more convenient for travelers. The Sofia Municipality is also the first in the country to introduce an online application for building permits and other urban planning-related services. Sofia is soon to launch a project for energy-independent kindergartens and schools. Some 400 buildings will produce green energy for their consumption needs through hydrogen cells and sensors that will monitor electricity, water, and gas costs, Yordanka Fandakova said.
Starting from May 91 Sofia citizens will be able to change their address registration entirely online in all city districts, Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development Gencho Kerezov said. The service was launched as a pilot project in the Studentski district and for the first 3 months since its start, it was used 10 times more than all electronic services in the district for the last 6 years.
“Sofia Municipality offers more than 100 online services. Priority was given to those that citizens use the most “, the Chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev said. He participated in the panel discussion “Speaks: The Municipality” together with Dr. Maria Hristova, Chief Executive Officer of Invest Sofia. Hristova said that the global smart cities market is expected to reach $2.5 trillion by 2026. “The latest data show that becoming a smarter city has the potential to increase GDP per capita by as much as 21% and population growth by 13% over the next five years for cities beginning their smart city journeys,” she said and presented the Invest Sofia’s support for start-ups, including the newly created Green Card for Administrative Services.
Sofia’s chief architect Zdravko Zdravkov, Municipal Councilor Hristian Petrov, executive director of the Center for Urban Mobility Dimitar Dilchev, and the Project Coordinator of “Green Sofia” Elitsa Panayotova also took part in the panel discussion.
At a special event in Hall 3 of the National Palace of Culture, the first in Eastern Europe Institute for Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology – INSAIT has been officially launched in Sofia. The institute is structured as a special unit at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”and is created in partnership with two of the world’s leading technology universities in Switzerland – ETH Zurich and EPFL.
The mission of the institute is to establish Sofia and Bulgaria as a global destination for research and innovation, an attractive hub for scientists and talents, as well as to create favorable conditions for the development of an economy based on products with high added value and intellectual property.
World-renowned scientists from the United States, Israel and Switzerland will provide expert supervision and assistance to the new institute. Members of the Institute’s Supervisory and Advisory Board include world-renowned scientists from ETH Zurich, EPFL, IST Austria, MIT, UC Berkeley, Yale, Princeton and Technion.
At the invitation of the organisers, the Chief Executive Officer of Invest Sofia Dr. Maria Hristova attended the opening of the INSAIT Institute. The project for the Institute of Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence and Technology in Sofia is backed by the Bulgarian government, global tech giants such as Google, DeepMind and Amazon Web Services, local technology companies, entrepreneurs and investors. The INSAIT Institute has all the prerequisites to become a world-class research center that attracts the best researchers and talents from the region and the world.
The official launch was attended by President Rumen Radev, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov, Minister of Innovation and Growth Daniel Lorer, President of the European Research Council (ERC) Prof. Maria Leptin, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Maria Gabriel, the Rector of Sofia University Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov, representatives of academia and business from Bulgaria and abroad.
You can find more information about INSAIT on: www.insait.ai. A video recording from the official opening is available here.
The 3rd edition of the International university startup competition, organized by the University of Split and Student Business Incubator (SPI) in Split, Croatia is now open for application. On behalf of the organisers, we invite participants from Sofia and Bulgaria to apply for the STup!2022 competition.
Split will become the European center of innovation on June 17-18, 2022, where the chosen startups will be presented and will compete for the “Best University Startup 2022” award. The winners will automatically be entered to Wolves Summit 2022.
The main goal of STup!2022 is to provide support to university startups and to give young entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their service or product on the global startup scene. The competition will bring together international startups, entrepreneurs, accelerators, incubators and investors from the region and beyond. Pitch groups are divided into categories:
The term „University startup“ stands for a startup in early-phase, connected with one of the
University institutions OR with at least one member in student status. Each team must be affiliated with a university (through an incubator, accelerator, as a student, researcher etc.).
The application process is open until 15th of April, 2022.
Participants have to submit their startup presentation along with the application through the event official website: www.stup.efst.hr. Selected University startups will be notified by email with further guidelines from the organizers.
The Sofia Municipality and Invest Sofia, in partnership with the Communications Regulation Commission and the Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development department of Sofia Municipality (Innovative Sofia), are organizing the conference “Digital Sofia – The Smart City”. The event will be held on April 12, 2022 at Inter Expo Center – Vitosha Hall.
“Digital Sofia – The Smart City” will gather major stakeholders, policy and decision-makers – Ministries, Mayors, Municipal Administration and Municipal Councilors, Municipal enterprises and regional mayors, NGOs, telecoms, investors, startups, business, the academic community, banking and fintech sector. The event aims to support innovation and adoption of new technologies in the urban environment by ensuring effective complementarity between the public and private sectors – a focus area set out in the Action Plan for the implementation of the Strategy for Digital Transformation of Sofia adopted by the Sofia Municipal Council and in the Strategy itself.
Four panels are part of the Conference agenda on topics related to responsible and sustainable solutions for intelligent growth. The discussions will feature the perspectives of the city administration, regulators, businesses, and funding institutions.
The team of Invest Sofia is a co-organiser and partner of the “Digital Sofia – The Smart City” Conference. We will join the discussion “Speaks: Municipality” – the first panel in the conference programme. Our Chief Executive Officer Dr. Maria Hristova will join the discussion together with the Chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev, the Chief Architect of Sofia Municipality arch. Zdravko Zdravkov, Ivan Antov – Member of the management board of the Urban Mobility Center Sofia, Municipal Councilor Hristian Petrov and arch. Elitsa Panayotova – Coordinator of project “Sofia Green” for Sofia Municipality. The panel is to be moderated by Gencho Kerezov, Deputy Mayor for “Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development” of Sofia.
Don’t miss out to meet us at our stand in the exhibition area of the conference. We will be happy to meet partners and colleagues live during the event and talk about topics related to sustainable solutions for the city. The Conference is free to attend but requires registration on https://digitalsofia.bg/.
Official guests of “Digital Sofia – The Smart City” will be Mr. Daniel Lorer – Minister for Innovations and Growth, Mr. Alexander Yolovski – Minister of Electronic Governance, Mr. Dilyan Berkovski – Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr. Stefan Asparuhov – Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, as well as
At an official meeting on April 7, 2022, the Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the corporate real estate advisory firm Avalant Bulgaria. The Memorandum was signed by Viktor Gusev, Head of Investment Analysis at Invest Sofia and Dimitar Ivanov and Ivan Parmakov, Founding Partners at Avalant Bulgaria.
To expand the opportunities for attracting potential investors, the two parties will join forces to promote, support and facilitate business cooperation between them and their business partners. The joint activities will encourage the proactive exchange of expertise and business contacts. Using both parties’ partner networks established so far, Invest Sofia and Avalant Bulgaria will be able to promote and exchange economic and market data, statistics, and investment policies.
Under the signed agreement, the two parties will cooperate in investor inquiries by delivering market analyses, auditing, advisory and brokerage services, recommendations on specific actions and next steps, among others.
The Invest Sofia team would like to thank Avalant Bulgaria for their confidence and readiness for long-term cooperation with us. We believe that the company’s analytical approach, in-depth market knowledge and expertise in the field of corporate real estate, Avalant Bulgaria will be a valuable partner in providing services to investors in Sofia.
The UK-based Amdaris, an IT consulting, software development and digital transformation company, announced the opening of its new office in Sofia. Our city is Amdaris’ sixth location along with the head office in Bristol and the teams in Moldova, Romania, Dubai and Ukraine, where the company started activities last year but decided to reorganise its operations of the employees there due to the war.
“The news supports Amdaris’ pledge to offer employment to any developers, QAs, project managers or other people with relevant skills who have been forced to leave Ukraine”, the official statement of the company says. The Bulgarian capital is defined as one of the emerging IT centers of Eastern Europe with a growing pool of tech talent not only in the city but across the country as well.
Amdaris starts operations in Bulgaria with a plan to form a team of over 50 employees by the end of the year. Open positions for software specialists have already been published on the company’s website.This is the second foreign company operating in Ukraine to open a center in Sofia in the context of choosing a new location in the region since the start of the war. A few weeks ago, the American spacecraft company Launcher, relocated its Ukraine staff to Sofia soon after the invasion. The Bulgarian capital became the home of the new Launcher Europe office after the company opened an office and housed entirely at its own expense its employees and their families from the Ukrainian city of Dnipro.