At the initiative of the International Economic Relations Center at BIA, our team will join the online B2B event FOOD CONNECTIONS 2020. FOOD CONNECTIONS is organized annually by the Belgian Food Industry Competitiveness Cluster Wagralim and aims to celebrate the innovation in the sector and create a network of companies, experts, universities, and research centers in Europe and worldwide.
This year the event will take place on 17th, 22nd, and 24th September. On behalf of Sofia Investment Agency, Maria Hristova, Head of the Investment Analysis Department, will participate in the webinar and the discussion session on 17 September.
The first day of the B2B event will focus on sustainability and best business practices during COVID-19. We will join the discussions on two main topics:
– The urgent digitalization – with examples of the successful adaptation and accelerated digitalization of startups and large companies in the time of crisis; the characteristics of the different participants in the sector; the transition from B2B to B2C model as a survival tool;
– Getting off to a good start in food E-commerce – what happened in the direct sales from producer/wholesaler to the consumer, distribution chain, competition, and the operational activities such as payments, logistics, and more.
The seminar will present an alternative perspective on e-commerce – that of the “seller.” It will focus on the success factors, the challenges, and the risks (particularly in the food industry), the critical steps in creating and launching an online store in the short-, medium- and long-run.
The meeting on 17 September, starts at 15:30 and will last until 17:00. More than 250 participants from 29 countries have confirmed their participation so far, including the USA, China, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ukraine, and others.
You can join FOOD CONNECTIONS 2020 and register for free until 15 September at the following address: https://foodconnections.b2match.io/
Sofia Investment Agency is an official partner of the leading forum Career Show 2020. The event will be held on 24 November 2020 in Arena Armeec and online on 25 November.
The organizers expect over 5,000 skilled professionals to contact 200 of the largest companies in Bulgaria. On 24 November in Arena Armeec Hall, job seekers and prospective employers will meet on an area of over four decares. The programme includes open access lecture- and workshop spaces, as well as a networking area. All activities will be carried out in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures.
Employers will have the opportunity to meet in person with pre-selected candidates, participate in the event’s programme, and position their company as an employer brand of choice in the leading expo for experts and companies.
The online event on 25 November will bring together some of the biggest companies in Sofia and Bulgaria with qualified staff from all over Bulgaria and Europe. An online matchmaking platform will allow the participants to filter the most promising candidates/employers by various criteria, and conduce pre-arranged personal video interviews.
We invite all companies in Sofia and Bulgaria to join the event and look for experts for their teams in the two days of Career Show 2020. Find out everything about the event and how to participate on the website of the forum here: https://careershow.bg/employers/
The Digitalization, Innovation and Investments Unit of Sofia Municipality presented the vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem in Sofia during the Startup Ecosystem Development webinar by StartupBlink, which took place on July 30, 2020 with the participation of entrepreneurs and ecosystem developers from different cities around the world. Ana Georgieva from Innovative Sofia presented Sofia’s development as one of the hottest entrepreneurial spots in Europe, a diversified tech hub with startups innovating across multiple industries, with a great number of stakeholders and supporting organisations on government, municipal and business level.
StartupBlink is among the world’s largest platforms for startups and research centres. The platform is working with dozens of stakeholders from the public sector on various modules including ecosystem promotion, mapping, and consulting. Two months ago, Sofia climbed two positions – tо 86th place among 1 000 cities in the 2020 edition of the Global Ecosystem Ranking Report by StartupBlink. In addition, the ranking now includes an updated profile of Sofia’s startup ecosystem and a case study about Sofia in the deep dive section of the report. Find out more about Sofia’s profile in ‘Global Ecosystem 2020’ here.
Highlights about Sofia’s startup ecosystem, presented during the webinar:
To help those who consider settling down and explore business opportunities in Sofia, Innovative Sofia, the Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development department of Sofia Municipality published the first Sofia: Quality of Life guide.
In this step-by-step guide, you will find everything you need to know before you move: cost of living, study and work options, weather, leisure, culture and tourism opportunities, as well as how to find a home, how to register a bank account, how to travel across the city and explore Sofia as a local, and even a list of useful words and phrases.
Here are some reasons why living in Sofia sounds like a great idea!
Download Sofia: Quality of Life now!
The City of Sofia will participate in the Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) initiative.
The ICC is the latest of the European Commission’s initiatives to build a green Europe by fostering intelligent and sustainable growth across European cities. The ICC seeks to help 100 smaller and medium-sized EU cities to support green, climate-neutral, sustainable growth, tackle the biggest urban challenges and improve the quality of life.
Innovative Sofia, the Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development department of Sofia Municipality, on behalf of the city, will manage the participation of the city in the European Commission’s initiative. The official launch of the ICC will take place between September 28 and October 2 via a series of virtual events throughout the entire week.
All the cities that will participate in the ICC will be announced during the first two weeks of July. We invite you to check the ICC website for updates on the selected cities – https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/
ICC builds on the successful Digital Cities Challenge, which saw 41 cities create a vision, strategy and roadmap for their digital transformation. Under the Digital Cities Challenge project of the EC, the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia was developed. EU experts, our team, the team of Innovative Sofia and over 100 local stakeholders, including Sofia-based companies with a total turnover of over BGN 3.23 billion and over 17,000 employees, took part in the process. On June 11, 2020, the Sofia City Council unanimously approved the Document. Here is a list of everything you might want to know about the Digital Transformation Strategy for Sofia.
ICC will focus on strategy implementation, a common platform for open data, a marketplace for intelligent city solutions, joint investments, new support mechanisms and a new international dimension. It will help Europe lead the way in creating smarter cities that are more sustainable and social. Through the ICC, cities will receive tailored support – in person, online, and as a community – to implement their transformation strategies. Next to expert advice tailored to each participating city, the ICC will offer regular network support activities and gatherings of the community, training and online toolboxes and mentoring from innovative mentor cities.
The ICC programme covers a 2.5-year period and builds upon a cycle of assessment of prioritized issues and needs, vision and roadmap definition, implementation and measurement, with the objective for cities to be transformed through the use of intelligent and advanced technologies.
If you focus on Smart Cities and are responsible for city development or Urban Technology business and interested to learn how our cities define their strategy and tactical plan for now and after the crisis subsides, then these free webinars are for you.
Sofia Municipality was invited to take part in the Smart cities – urban tech solutions to shorten the road to recovery webinar to be held on July 9, 15:00 – 15:45 BST / 16:00 – 16:45 CEST.
On July 9, join the event to hear great experts:
> Innovative Sofia, Sofia Municipality
> MIDAS – Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency
> the fastest growing commercial real estate services firm Avison Young, and
> INREGU, the French national institute of research and education in urban management
In the upcoming meeting:
Sofia ranks 1st in the Smart City Development category and 7th in the overall ranking of Emerging Europe for the best cities for doing business in Central and Eastern Europe – Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020. Sofia is also in the Top 10 in the Quality of Life category, sharing the 5th place with Gdynia, Poland, Bratislava, and Slovakia. For the ranking, Emerging Europe investigated 75 cities in the region of developing Europe – capitals and cities with over 200,000 inhabitants.
The Business-Friendly Cities Perception Ranking 2020 is part of the Emerging Europe Awards 2020 – the third edition of a program that presents the best of Europe’s developing region and honors the achievements of individuals, public and private organizations, projects, and initiatives.
Budapest has been named the most business-friendly city. The Hungarian capital also tops two of the eight categories taken into account in the ranking – Brand, and Local Authority Support. Sofia, along with Tallinn, is the winner in the category Smart City Development. Tbilisi leads in Economic Potential, Łódź in Business Climate, Bucharest in Pool of Talent, Warsaw in Infrastructure and Connectivity, and Prague in Quality of Life. Budapest, Prague, and Warsaw lead the overall ranks, where Sofia ranks 7th.
Due to the restrictive measures around Covid-19, this year, the ranking was presented online. In its publication, Emerging Europe quoted the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova on the occasion of Sofia’s recognition as one of the two leading cities in the category Smart City Development.
“Our efforts are focused on implementing innovative solutions in city governance and urban development,” she says. “Sofia is changing and the most important thing is that more and more citizens are taking part in this change. Sofia’s most valuable asset is the city’s highly educated workforce that is demanding a constantly improving city environment. We are working with a consistent focus on one strategic priority – the improvement of the quality of life of its citizens.”
TNW’s and fDi Magazine’s international panel of judges have now selected the winners and top-performing cities in the debut research and ranking entitled Tech Cities of the Future 2020/21. Data was collected for 76 locations in Europe, 25 in total were shortlisted, Sofia being among them.
We are delighted to announce that Sofia has received a high score in the following 3 categories:
Technology Cities of the Future 2020/20 is a debut ranking focused on finding those European cities with the most promising prospects for start-ups, tech and innovation investment. London, Paris and Dublin are the top-ranking cities in the overall ranking.
Cities were evaluated under five categories: Economic Potential, Innovation and Attractiveness, FDI Performance, Cost Effectiveness and Start-up Environment. In addition, surveys were collected under a sixth category – FDI Strategy. Locations that ranked in the top 20 in this category were given bonus points, which contributed to their overall score.
We believe that the next inclusion of Sofia in a prestigious international ranking is of great importance for the positive image of the city and its strong position on the global map of innovation, technology and business hubs.
fDi Magazine, in partnership with TNW, has prepared this debut issue of Technology Cities of the Future 2020/21 to highlight the impact of tech hubs on the global economy. Silicon Valley, with its high concentration of hardware and software companies, is by far the most famous representation of a tech city – but the concept has been exported and replicated across the globe. Tech cities are hugely beneficial to local, national, and international economies. They create employment, attract investment, talent, and can help re-energise local pockets in cities and more remote areas. One thing is for sure: tech cities seldom emerge on their own, rather they are often the byproduct of resolute urban planning and government intervention, the report states.
The full document is available for free download: https://www.fdiintelligence.com/article/77846
fDi Intelligence is a department of Financial Times, specializing in areas relating to investment and promotion of the investment climate globally. The professional magazine targets
The document focuses on four focus areas: e-government, utilities, transport, and ICT startup ecosystem. The Strategy was developed under the DigitalCitiesChallenge project of the European Commission with EU experts, our team, the team of Invest Sofia and over 100 local stakeholders, including Sofia-based companies with a total turnover of over BGN 3.23 billion and over 17,000 employees.
The Strategy for Digital Transformation of Sofia is important for the city because its implementation aims to:
The full document is available here 👉 https://innovativesofia.bg/strategicheski-dokumenti/
A list of everything you might want to know about the Strategy is available on our webpage Digital Sofia here 👉https://investsofia.com/digitalna-sofia/
Once again, we thank the experts who participated in the creation of the Strategy. At the publication of the Strategy in June 2019, the experts, organizations and companies involved were just over 100. To date, our network of local stakeholders for the implementation of the Strategy includes nearly 200 people and/or entities.
The Sofia Municipality’s Digitalization, Innovation, and Economic Development department now operates under the name of Innovative Sofia. Founded on the initiative of Mayor Yordanka Fandakova at the beginning of this year, the team is led by Deputy Mayor Vladimir Danailov, the first in charge of a digitalization and innovation department in a Bulgarian municipality.
Innovative Sofia already has its own new website – www.innovativesofia.bg, with news, upcoming events, and information about the digitalization activities in the city, the expansion of the number of e-services for the citizens and businesses, the development of the tech and innovative environment in the city, and the projects in which Sofia participates – including those implemented in collaboration with Sofia’s ecosystem.
The ambition of the new Digitalization, Innovation, and Economic Development department is to be the driving force behind Sofia’s digital transformation; to initiate and coordinate digital transformation policies in urban governance and to reduce administrative burdens; to develop more and better e-services for the citizens and businesses in Sofia, to create open data platforms and to implement various smart city solutions.
The Innovative Sofia’s website is available in both Bulgarian and English. In June, the department will start publishing its monthly newsletter. Subscribe to receive latest news about upcoming events and success stories from the digital, smart, and dynamic Sofia. The bulletin will also include information about rankings and indices that Sofia falls into, funding opportunities, and much more for the benefit of the businesses, citizens, and Sofia’s digital transformation. .
Innovative Sofia will be supporting the opening of the local administration to the citizens and the businesses, the development of the innovation potential of the city and the technology companies in Sofia, the creation of a recognizable brand of Sofia and the business ecosystem in the city.
‘On my behalf and on behalf of the team of Innovative Sofia, I would like to thank all the partners, from both the business and the public sector, who have supported us over the past months as we were paving the way for the launch of the new department. We believe that Innovative Sofia is a necessary generator of Sofia’s digital transformation. We are ready for dynamic work in the coming months, and we will be happy to implement the projects together with the businesses and the citizens of Sofia, in a strong community’, Deputy Mayor Vladimir Danailov said.
For its annual review, StartupBlink has reviewed the global startup ecosystem by analyzing data from more than 1 000 cities in 100 countries. In the country rankings Bulgaria is ranked 32nd, or three positions higher than in 2019.
Sofia in “Global Ecosystems 2020”
Sofia is a technology center with innovative startups in various industries, according to the report.
Around 15% of the startups are in deeptech – AI, IoT, aerospace, and others, and over 30 startups are in the gaming industry. About one-third of the startup founders are foreigners. Sofia has a well-developed ecosystem with a network of angel investors, over 15 VC funds, and 30 coworking spaces. With the notable 246 funding rounds in the last six years, Sofia comes up third among Central and Eastern Europe cities by the number of VC rounds. 30.2% of those employed in the ICT sector are women (vs.16.7% in the EU). 42% of current university students are in STEM-related fields.
The article reminds that Sofia will host one of the EU’s еight next-generation supercomputers, expected to be operational by the end of 2020 and cites Mr. Vladimir Danailov, Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development of Sofia: Sofia has come a long way from an outsourcing center into a developed ecosystem that invents world-class products and services. Sofia has a great story to tell!
Sofia’s start-up ecosystem was featured during the live launch of the report on 26 May, via Zoom.
Nadia Sultanova presented on behalf of Innovative Sofia: ‘Sofia has one of the most-rapidly developing startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the region and is a tech, innovation and creative hub with a mature IT, innovation and tech ecosystem. Today Sofia-based companies are developing global solutions locally. Sofia hasn’t had its first unicorn yet, but there are several companies that are close to achieving that goal.’
Bulgaria in the ranking by country
The report states that Bulgaria has a remarkably high number of participants in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. If it continues on this trajectory, Bulgaria might be in the top 30 by 2021, according to the report.
Sofia Investment Agency will join the Special Edition of ВаlRЕасt #Асtіоn іn сrіѕіѕ as an institutional and communication partner.
The Deputy Mayor of Sofia for Digital Transformation, Innovation and Economic Development Vladimir Danailov will participate in the Pre-opening session: Macro Trend – Bulgaria and the Economic Challenges (9:00 – 09:45 a.m.). Watch the live stream of the event on 16 June.
BalREAct – #Action in crisis will provide market players with an opportunity to analyze and share their views on key environmental drivers, models of response to the humanitarian, social, economic, financial and market challenges posed by the situation, as well as the important processes for optimizing the systemic risk, which already creates difficulties and uncertainty for the real estate industry.
The conference programme will include discussion sessions focused on the residential market, office space market and the future of workspaces, and more.
Macro environment: Scenarios, fiscal policies, interest rates, crisis response tools and liquidity provision. Governments, central banks and policies to restart economic life as a key factor for recovery.
Capital markets: How risky are the assets in real estate in time of global uncertainty and are trends expected to change in key markets? What are the prospects for the different market segments?
The epidemic affects the office space market in Bulgaria and in particular – Sofia. Models of reaction and adaptation.
Financing: Banks’ and investors’ point of view – expectations, financial instruments and credit restructuring models. What will happen to interest rates and funding requirements for real estate projects?
What will be the impact of the extraordinary market situation on the different segments of the real estate sector – residential, office space, shopping malls, hotels, logistics and industrial real estate?
How will the co-working sector respond to the risks imposed?
What are the features that provide stability and flexibility to the residential projects?
What are the main pillars of the residential market to deal with the emergency situation?
Force majeure, emergency situation and termination or renegotiation of contracts – expert view and models for dealing with specific legal cases in the industry.
Find out more about BalREаct – #Action in crisis 2020 here: en.balrec.bg
Registration is free of charge with a work email address here: balreact.gradat.events/en/register
Simultaneous translation will be provided by the organizers The City Media Group.
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