We would like to invite all our partners to join us during the conference Financial and Investment Support for SMEs – Sofia International Money Expo /SIMExpo/ 2023. Again, Invest Sofia is an institutional partner of the event, which this year is under the motto “Sofia – a regional financial hub”.
SIM EXPO 2023 will be held on 10 and 11 October 2023, in Vitosha Hall at Inter Expo Center in Sofia. It is 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, in partnership with Sofia Municipality.
Victor Gusev, Head of the Investment Analysis Department at Invest Sofia, will participate in a discussion during the first day of the forum. He will speak on the panel “Foreign direct investment – benefits for the business and stimulus for the economy” together with experts from /BSMEPA and the trade departments of the embassies of Greece, Turkey, Austria and Romania. The discussion will focus on guidelines for successful investment projects in Sofia, new investment projects in the city and the country and best practices in attracting investment. Suggestions for quick changes in the economic policy to stimulate investments will also be discussed.
This is the fourth edition of the forum, which aims to raise the financial and investment culture of the representatives of SMEs by providing in an understandable way useful information about the opportunities for the development of their business through the use of various financial and investment instruments. The conference agenda will bring together financing institutions, investment and guarantee funds and investors to present their products in support of SMEs.
Presentations and discussions at the conference will present investment activity, planned investments, financing needs and funding opportunities for SMEs, as well as business sentiment and preparation for a green transition.
The event agenda includes topics such as:
Funding opportunities for SMEs under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan, Innovation and Competitiveness 2021-2027 and the Research, Innovation and Digitalisation for Smart Transformation Operational Programme 2021-2027;
Financial Framework for European Cross-Border Cooperation Programmes;
Equity investment to support business growth;
Sofia as a regional investment hub;
Opportunities for foreign startups and businesses;
Guarantee and financial instruments;
Foreign direct investments;
Green energies and technologies, and financial instruments for green energy and energy efficiency projects.
The event is open to all entrepreneurs and small
The winners of the Career Show Awards 2023 – the leading awards for the best employer in Bulgaria – have been just announced. More than 400 entries were submitted in this year’s edition in more than 80 sub-categories divided into the following areas: Best Employer, Engagement and Innovation, Employer Branding and Events, Health and Environment, Management and Teams, HR Services, and Favorite Employer.
The task of the expert jury to determine the best companies for each category was a real challenge. Once again, the efforts of employers to improve the working environment in our country and to implement the latest and proven practices around the world are impressive. Part of the expert team evaluating the entries was our CEO, Ph.D Maria Hristova together with prominent journalists, psychologists and sociologists, HR professionals, directors of associations and chambers of commerce, managers and entrepreneurs.
Maria Hristova received a Certificate of appreciation from the Career Show organizers for sharing her professional experience in the world of labour market in Sofia and Bulgaria.
Take a look at the projects that impressed the jury this year. We are not surprised to see among the awarded companies a number of leading Sofia-based enterprises, including Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria, Bosch Engineering Center Sofia, Accenture Bulgaria, Cargotec Bulgaria, Progress, Luxoft Bulgaria, Melexis Bulgaria, SiteGround, StorPool Storage, HP Inc. Bulgaria, Progress and many others, including our partners in the Sofia IS initiative for integrated services to investors – nPloy, HRS Bulgaria and Sutherland Bulgaria.
In October, the Career Show 2023 will take place in three different cities in Bulgaria – Sofia – 5-6 October, Plovdiv – 10 October and Varna – 27 October. All talents looking for new career opportunities can visit the events and look for the best employer.
On September 28 and 29, the second edition of the international conference SpinOff Bulgaria, organized by the Health and Life Sciences Cluster and the AI Cluster Bulgaria, took place in Sofia. Within the event, content was planned to encourage companies to enter into consortia and closer collaboration with universities and existing scientific infrastructure.
The event once again brought together experts from the world of tech startups originating from the scientific ecosystem. This year, the topics of the forum were European and national policies, funding and knowledge transfer opportunities, good practices, scientific infrastructure and much more. Invest Sofia was an institutional partner of the initiative together with the Sofia Municipality, The Fund of Funds, Sofia Tech Park, Enterprise Europe Network, Horizon Europe, the European Innovation Council, The Confederation of Employers and Industrialists of Bulgaria, Cleantech Bulgaria, Bulgarian Investment Agency and many other organizations and tech companies.
We support the Spinoff Bulgaria initiative since its inception two years ago because of its key mission to create a sustainable spinoff ecosystem and culture in Bulgaria and by connecting stakeholders locally and internationally (universities, investors, government structures, corporations, experts, etc.) to stimulate interest in the creation of spinoff companies – new technological startups originating from the scientific ecosystem and universities. Spinoff Bulgaria aims to have 100 local spinoff companies in Bulgaria by 2030 and for the country to become a powerful European center of innovation. We will continue to support with all possible city instruments the initiative together with our partners from Health and Life Sciences Cluster Bulgaria, AI Cluster Bulgaria, Venrize, the Ministry of Education and HaDEA.
The third edition of the Southeast Europe Innovation, Technology, and Sourcing Summit (SEE ITS Summit) once again brought together industry leaders, experts and innovators. Invest Sofia was a co-organizer and institutional partner of the event together with AIBEST – Association for Innovation, Business Excellence, Services and Technology, the Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO) and the Ministry of e-Governance. Attendees had the chance to hear from some of the most prominent thought leaders in the industry, as they share their vision for the future of technology and the role of innovation in shaping it.
Victor Gusev, head of Invest Sofia’s “Investment Analysis” department took part in the first panel of the event programme – “Southeastern Europe as the Business Growth Accelerator of the Future”. The focus of the discussion was data on the current state of the outsourced services sector in our country and in the region, as well as forecasts through the lens of local authorities, government representatives and business leaders. The panelists discussed microeconomic trends and forecasts, geopolitical influence on the development of SEE and cooperation between countries in the region as a driving force for business development.
Among other main topics of the forum also was the transition from Industry 4.0 to 5.0, changes in customer needs and IT services offered, as well as responsible practices in business innovation and transformations – with a view on regulations and their impact on business sustainability, talent promotion in an environment of emerging AI technologies, ESG principles as prerequisites for business growth and positive effects, data protection in the are of AI and the balance in the interaction between human and artificial intelligence.
Part of the event was an official evening reception where the sixth AIBEST ITS Awards Ceremony & Gala Dinner honored the efforts of top regional performers, investors, and local governments, for leading best practices and business excellence, as well as for creating a favorable business environment for the growth of the SEE ITS ecosystem.
A new green area is soon to be available for those living in Ovcha Kupel district. Its construction is a commitment of the hospital “Zdraveto”, to which a year ago Invest Sofia awarded a certificate “Class B” for its investment project. The park will be donated to the Sofia Municipality.
In October last year, the CEO of Invest Sofia, Maria Hristova Ph.D, handed over the certificate for an investment project worth BGN 1 950 000 to the Children’s Health Medical Centre. The document was issued under the Investment Promotion Act (IPA) and was granted for the construction of a Children’s Medical Complex with a children’s hospital ward and a polyclinic in the Ovcha Kupel district of Sofia. Part of the investor’s commitment was the construction of infrastructure around the hospital and a park. The project for the park has already been coordinated and approved by the Architecture and Urban Spatial Development Department of the Sofia Municipality.
In addition to landscaping and recreation areas, the new park will also include children’s playgrounds, an outdoor gym area, a bike path, a petanque area, a rock climbing area and a dog area. The green space will be adjacent to the Zdraveto Hospital, east of the Ovcha Kupel metro station. Several coordination procedures and the issuance of a building permit are still pending, after which construction work will begin.
Invest Sofia, Manpower Bulgaria, Sotheby’s International Realty Bulgaria and the recently opened Sofia office of Assert International will join forces in conducting a study of the business climate and investment environment in the country and will prepare a detailed analysis of the current market situation and business opportunities that Bulgaria provides in 2023. The initiative was announced during an event that marked the official launch of the Sofia-based office of the Serbian end-to-end HR solutions company Assert International, which will work here in close cooperation and complementing the portfolio of Manpower Bulgaria.
The event announcing the “Bulgarian Business Climate Assessment” initiative was attended by the CEO of Invest Sofia Ph.D. Maria Hristova, the CEO of Manpower Bulgaria Ivan Sherbanov, the founder of Assert International Aleksandar Hangimana, the Director Srdjan Dinulovic, the Director for Bulgaria Maria Stoeva, nearly 100 business partners of the Belgrade-based company.
The analysis aims to provide support to all investors in Bulgaria, as well as to entrepreneurs who are investigating the environment in Bulgaria for future investments. Collaboration on the study will bring together the expertise of Invest Sofia and three leading organizations in their fields. The results will highlight the current trends in the following areas:
– Identification of key sectors for investment;
– Assessment of the investment climate and the challenges facing business;
– Forecasts of future investment trends.
The work on the survey will start this month and will be presented to the general public and all stakeholders within a few weeks.
We are delighted to have been an institutional partner and participant in the Tuk-Tam Kosher 2023 – the event that invests in the academic and professional development of the next generation of Bulgarian experts. Once again, we met and talked with many talented and motivated young people and experts from innovative Bulgarian and foreign companies.
Kosher 2023 was held at Inter Expo Center and was again a stage for meeting exciting people from all over the world. Over 50 speakers from the business, technology and creative industries took part in the conference programme, while at the networking areas over 2000 visitors got the opportunity to meet nearly 100 companies and organisations, to talk in a more informal environment and to arrange a new internship or job. Young talents with university degrees from Bulgarian and foreign universities talked directly with the teams of top local and international companies, as well as with professionals from all fields.
With the team of Tuk-Tam Kosher we have a common understanding that people are the most important capital. For 15 years Kosher has valued the experience gained abroad but invested in the local economy and communities, developing not only the annual career forum but also the Newcomer’s Guide project for Bulgarians returning home after a stay in other countries. Tuk-Tam gives Kosher community members a platform to stay connected and engaged with life and opportunities in Bulgaria, no matter how far away they are.
If you have missed the event, check out this video virtual tour of Tuk-Tam Kosher 2023 – https://www.facebook.com/tuktam/videos/1233983210585576
We highly appreciate the opportunity to work with the Bulgarian office of the Endeavor Global Network. The organization plays a key role in developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria with an eye on long-term economic growth, job creation, and innovation. Moreover, the Network provides opportunities for entrepreneurs from Sofia and Bulgaria with great ideas and businesses to expand internationally, and most importantly – it helps establish our country and the SEE region as a place for tech and innovation. To date, the Bulgarian office has supported the ideas of teams that have created more than 2,300 jobs and BGN 320M in 2022 only. Invest Sofia strives to be an active supporter of organizations like Endeavor. Here is Endeavor’s feedback from their collaboration with us:
“First of all, I would like to thank Invest Sofia for their partnership and financial support for our report “Mapping the Technology Ecosystem in Sofia”. I am deeply convinced that such projects are necessary for the development and promotion of our city as a hub of tech entrepreneurship.
The additional funding provided by Invest Sofia, along with funding from the Bulgarian Development Bank and The Fund of Funds in Bulgaria – FMFIB, allowed us to mobilize sufficient resources both in Bulgaria and through our network in the US. This facilitated the elaboration of an in-depth study that helps the ecosystem. The study also received quite extensive local and international media coverage.
We look forward to partnering with Invest Sofia in the future on new projects positioning Sofia as a good place to start entrepreneurial endeavors.”
Momchil Vassilev, Managing Director at Endeavor Bulgaria
Local companies are highly motivated to work with us for the development of the city’s economy. What are the latest labor market trends is one of the main questions that new investors in the city address to us. We try to provide them with expert advice tailored to their individual needs when entrepreneurs turn to the Invest Sofia team for guidance on how to form teams for their new projects in Sofia. Valuable partners in this are the HR companies with whom we collaborate under our city initiative Sofia IS. Among them is the Bulgarian office of the international company Manpower, which assists us in investment inquiries from new and existing businesses for up-to-date data from the labor market. We would like to thank Manpower – Bulgaria for the positive feedback they give to our joint work. Here is what Maria Stoeva, Head of Sales and Business Development department at Manpower, shares:
The Invest Sofia team’s unwavering professionalism and their proactive approach have been crucial in bolstering Sofia’s development. Their innovative strategies and collaborative spirit have significantly improved the investment environment and corporate ecosystem in the Sofia metropolitan area.
I extend my absolute gratitude for their dedication and the profound impact they’ve made on our shared mission. The future holds promising prospects for Sofia, thanks to the efforts of the Sofia Invest team and all their partners.
At an official meeting today a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) and Atlas Agro Science. The signing was attended by Alexandra Velikova, Manager of the agrotech company, and Ph.D. Maria Hristova from Invest Sofia.
The purpose of our cooperation will be in the area of environmental protection initiatives, circular economy, and initiatives aimed at investors who want to establish or expand their business in Sofia. Our organizations will promote the city as a business friendly place to invest by helping entrepreneurs turn their plans into implemented projects through various “soft measures” that serve as incentivising instruments.
Atlas Agro Science is a growing company in the field of ecology and environmental protection, the use of recycled products and the implementation of waste raw materials in production to reduce pollution. The company not only relies on the principle of circular economy, but also successfully manages to realize zero-waste products. The company’s business is based on the belief that facing today’s needs lies in offering a useful and innovative product without jeopardizing the future of the next generations. Atlas Agro Science develops innovative solutions for the digestion of waste sludge and its processing through waste-free technology into multi-component products for the agribusiness and floriculture industries.
One of the company’s many partners on the road to a green future is the Sofia Municipality. Thanks to the joint work between the city administration and the agro-tech company, the so-called “green donations” have been made in a number of areas of the municipality, including Bankya, Nadezhda, Vazrazhdane, the New Forest of Sofia and others. There are more green initiatives to come, to which Atlas Agro Science wants to contribute by donating products. Some of them are “My Green School, My Green Kindergarten”, the “Green Sofia” programme, the adoption of the Royal Rosarium in the Borisova Garden and the flower gardens of the National Palace of Culture with a commitment to permanently provide free products.
Our partnerships with sector associations are extremely valuable because they know in detail the trends and challenges of hundreds of companies and their employees. Working with organizations that represent the beat of entire industries helps us elaborate sector strategies and advocate for policies and regulations that affect the smooth growth of companies in priority industries for Sofia’s economy. This is why the Invest Sofia team values our work with AIBEST – Association for innovation, business excellence, services and technology. We share a common goal – to develop Sofia’s strengths and to position the capital and the country as a regional hub for talent, innovation and locally developed high value-added products and services.
Here is how AIBEST sees our joint activity:
“Invest Sofia is among the long-standing and trusted partners of the Association for innovation, business excellence, services and technology (AIBEST). Our organizations have expressed joint support for a variety of initiatives related to our common goals, namely: attracting new business structures to the country; positioning the Bulgarian market as a leading one in the SEE region; creating platforms for collaboration between business, government and local authorities; developing Sofia and the country as attractive business destinations.
During all the years of cooperation with Invest Sofia, we have always received their readiness to provide support with proactive, timely response and great suggestions to build on new ideas.”
Natalia Shikova – Georgieva, Executive Director of AIBEST.
Sofia is a regional talent hub and this is among the city’s biggest advantages in attracting investors. That is why partnerships with local HR companies are extremely valuable to us. Their expertise gives us a clear view of the current state of the labor market and helps us give quality advice to investor inquiries about opportunities in different sectors. The HR companies we work with also see added value in our joint activities. Here is what Dimitar Galabov, Country Head Bulgaria at Sutherland says:
“I am pleased to share my positive experience from the mutual work with the team of the Sofia Investment Agency. Over the years we have partnered in various ways, mainly providing guidance and support for various international companies who have approached the agency for help on setting businesses or expand footprint in Bulgaria or exchanging market research and benchmark data around the industry we operate. The level of expertise and the professional approach of the Sofia Investment Agency team of professionals has been remarkable and I have always enjoyed working with them. I am confident to share that the agency does a great job in promoting Bulgaria and its huge potential to foreign investors and goes extra mile in delivering outstanding services. The mutual collaboration of the agency with partners like Sutherland is also very rewarding as it allows both – the local businesses and the prospect new entrant companies meet, discuss, calibrate, and exchange experience that is beneficial for both sides. Keep up the great work!”
Country Head Bulgaria