The Center for Educational Services of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski to launch a Sustainable Investments and Finance Academy. The initiative aims to provide Bulgarian students interested in these areas with a chance for better career development.
The training will take place online from 21 to 24.02.2022. Participants will gain up-to-date knowledge of green standards, relevant financial practices, and models for sustainable and green business. Upon completion of the training, participants will receive a certificate from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski.
Lecturers at the Academy will be experts in the field of sustainable finance from the Bulgarian Development Bank, a partner in the initiative, lecturers from the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at Sofia University St.Kliment Ohridski, experts from the Financial Markets Regulation Directorate at the Ministry of Finance, as well as experts from the Faculty of Philosophy at Sofia University, the Supreme Administrative Court, etc.
The chosen focus of the academy is relevant in the context of the green transition and the need to get acquainted with the new classification system of sustainable activities introduced by the EU. The new regulatory framework will encourage private investment in sustainable projects and support the transition to a climate-neutral economy.
Undergraduates, doctoral students, and assistants in Bulgarian and foreign universities can also participate in the competition “Young Financier” by submitting an essay on “Do we need green finance”. The competition is open to anyone with activities in economics, finance, and other sciences related to the topic and is not a condition for inclusion in the Academy. The competition’s prize fund has been provided by the Bulgarian Development Bank and already is open for submissions of essays of up to 3 pages. They should be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org by December 15, 2021, at the latest.
Read more about the Sustainable Investments and Finance Academy and the Young Financier competition on the website of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration here.
OSM International Group is a global management consulting company offering unique analysis and support tools for human development and human potential. In Sofia, the company presented a comprehensive personality testing tool, the I-Profile Analysis. The test contains 242 questions designed to review the strengths and weaknesses of a candidate’s personality and is like an “X-ray” of a person’s behavior and potential.
The I-Profile Analysis was developed by OSM and certified in the USA with one of the highest reliability coefficients. It can reveal previously unsuspected talents in an employee, whether a person is suitable for his position or predict great potential for another position in the company.
In addition, the tool identifies the real reasons for having underperforming employees and whether this is due to mismanagement by the company’s leaders or problematic issues stem from personal reasons. It also shows whether employees have reached their limit and no longer contribute to the development of the company or department.
The participants in the event had the chance to take advantage of OSM’s I-Profile analysis free of charge. “We believe that OSM International Group can be a reliable partner for small and medium entrepreneurs in Bulgaria in helping them further develop their business and optimise the most important resource in the company – the people”, CEO of Invest Sofia Dr. Maria Hristova said.
EU-based startups are invited to apply for the European Startup Mobility Award (EUSP), a public-private initiative between EU institutions, mobility corporations and technology companies. Startups with sustainable mobility solutions can apply for the investment and acceleration programme from the European Commission, the European Investment Bank, EIT InnoEnergy and private investors. The EUSP aims to reveal Europe’s 10 best sustainable mobility startups and praise 10 special awards in each of the categories in the contest. The best projects will also receive mentorship, networking opportunities with EU organizations and promotion. The application deadline is November 30 at this address: https://startupprize.eu/.
The EU Commission launched the second call for large-scale projects under the Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies. With a budget of €1.5 billion it will finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage. Projects will be evaluated according to their potential to avoid greenhouse gas emissions, their innovation potential, their financial and technical maturity, their potential for scaling up and their cost efficiency. Companies can apply via the EU Funding and Tenders portal here – https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_5473
Until November 16, you can apply for SpinLab – HHL Accelerator – a 6-month programme for mentoring and access to finance, that will take place in Leipzig, Germany. Enrolled startups will receive 6,000€ funding to help cover living costs in Leipzig while attending the programme.
SpinLab – HHL Accelerator will also provide special prizes worth up to 15,000 euros for the best presentation and the most sustainable idea presented during The Investors’ Day. The Programme focuses on start-ups that develop concepts in the areas of eHealth, Smart City, and Energy and are somehow technology-based. Without being a mandatory requirement, the accelerator encourages projects that use Hardware, IoT, Apps, and SaaS.
Berlin’s Earlybird Venture Capital has announced the launch of a new fund dedicated to helping deep tech innovations in European universities become commercialised products and services. With €75 million to play with, the UNI-X fund is targeting pre-seed and early seed investments, particularly university spin-offs. For more details, please visit https://earlybird.com/.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has launched a call for proposals under the Culture and Creativity Programme. Projects can be submitted by consortia of organisations and Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI) and sectoral leaders bringing together
Nestle Bulgaria inaugurated a new production line for the Smarties brand in its Sofia factory, following an investment of BGN 19 million. The investment aims to expand the Swiss company’s production in Bulgaria. The new line includes about 100 fully automated newest-generation machines. The investment will also create 70 new jobs. The new factory spreads over an area of over 4,000 sq.m.. Its production will cover deliveries to the local market and export to ten European countries.
Тhe construction of a new logistics park of the Bulgarian logistics company Zora Logistic MMS for white goods and other household appliances has started in the Sofia-Bozhurishte industrial zone. The facility is expected to be commissioned in the first months of 2023. The new logistics park covers an area of 80,000 sq. m. and will include an administrative building and warehouses for the goods of the retail chain. The construction will follow the latest standards for high-quality materials, energy efficiency, and independence through its voltaic installation. The park will also have an e-car charging station.
Palfinger Productiontechnik Bulgaria EOOD received a Class A investment certificate for the “Establishment of a Palfinger Shared Services Center” investment project in Sofia. The project is worth BGN 4,432,000.
Palfinger Productiontechnik Bulgaria was established 15 years ago and is part of the Austrian Palfinger AG. The company produces lifting and transport systems and solutions and already has 2 factories in Bulgaria – one in Tenevo, which produces hydraulic cylinders, and another in Cherven Bryag, where metal components for cranes are produced to be exported to Slovakia and Austria. The third production unit of the company will be located in Sofia and create 200 new jobs.
Azerion, the Dutch platform for web-based games and other entertainment content, has announced the acquisition of the Sofia-based digital monetization platform PubGalaxy. PubGalaxy has been rated by Deloitte as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Central Europe. PubGalaxy is to assist Azerion with its monetization strategies and facilitate partnerships between publishers and advertisers.
Founded in 2001, today PubGalaxy is a 360-degree locally developed platform for optimizing ad revenue that helps publishers optimize their campaigns and increase ad revenue. The company’s expertise will add value to the services that Azerion provides to its network of customers.
On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, Investor.bg organized a special business conference with the participation of experts from all sectors and representatives from the top management companies in Bulgaria. Invest Sofia also joined the discussions on the current challenges in the socio-economic life of the country.
Transformation of business, technology, green economy and the challenges facing business in the context of the global pandemic were some of the main highlights at the conference.
One of the conclusions made during the discussion was that business digitalization was further accelerated by the pandemic. Topics such as changes in consumer behavior, smart technologies, is production coming home and can Bulgaria be perceived as a promising nearshoring destination were also part of the Conference’ agenda.
Funding opportunities for Bulgarian companies provided by the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF) were presented during the virtual conference „Equity for Infrastructure“. The event was organized by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Investment Council at the Chamber and the Bulgarian Development Bank.
The Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund consists of 9 development banks, Bulgarian Development Bank being among them. The Fund has already made its first investments aimed at improving transport, energy and digital connectivity in the Black, Adriatic and Baltic Sea regions.
So far, The Fund has raised almost EUR 1 billion and is actively working to attract private capital with a target of between EUR 3-5 billion. Up to EUR 10 billion is the total investment amount expected to be generated.
The Fund’s main objective is to invest in target sectors such as transport, energy efficiency, and digital and information technologies along the north-south axis and narrow the gap among EU regions.
Teletek Electronis, the Sofia-based company for security systems and fire alarm systems, has started the construction of a new production base in the “Voenna Rampa” industrial zone in Sofia with an investment of BGN 14 million. The building is about to become operational in 2022 and increase the company’s production and R&D capacity. It is expected that new machines and production equipment, modern laboratory equipment and test facilities will be introduced. The company plans a larger product range, entering new markets and expanding its team with specialists in production and development. Teletek Electronics works with traders in signaling and fire alarm products in over 80 countries. Its systems are installed in millions of office, administrative, and public buildings in Bulgaria and worldwide. For its project, the Sofia-based company received a Class A certificate from the Ministry of Economy.
The transport and logistics company TTL EOOD also received a class A investment certificate for constructing a base for locomotives and wagons repair and a warehouse. The company will invest BGN 4.4 million and create new jobs. TTL EOOD offers services in the organization, logistics, and transportation on domestic and international lines, including specialized wagons, trucks, and containers for land and water transport.
Seven startups entered the fourth group of Bulgaria’s accelerator program for international growth Innovation Hub (BIH). Six of them are Sofia-based, and one is based in Plovdiv and has a team in Sofia. Ampeco, Boleron, Escreo, Evrotrust, Primeholding, Shkolo, and SoftUni have been accepted into the 3-week program. The BIH Accelerator Program provides participating teams with nearly 30 online seminars on business planning, team building, marketing, sales, and investor work, and the opportunity to learn from the experience of Silicon Valley mentors and present themselves to US investors. BIH’s next growth program is expected to take place in March 2022. The hub implements activities for cooperation between the entrepreneurial communities in the USA and Bulgaria works for developing innovations, entrepreneurial thinking, and the becoming of Bulgarian technology companies into competitive world leaders.
Brain Foods, the Sofia-based startup for vegan foods and beverages, has also received recognition for its great growth potential. The company is part of Sofia Tech Park’s ecosystem and has been accepted in the world’s leading incubator ProVeg, which develops startups focusing on alternative plant and cultivated foods. Only eight teams from Asia and Europe have gained access to the
Enterprises from all sectors can apply to the second edition of the Export Hub Bulgariaäs training program – EXPO2. The initiative is of the
Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency and aims to support the export potential of Bulgarian companies.
It is a three-month program that will take place in a hybrid format between January and March 2022. Each company will have its mentor, while participation
is free for the participants in a leadership position with decision-making competencies – owners, managers, sales directors. The application deadline is November 2, 2021.
The second edition of the international CASSINI Hackathon space technology competition is dedicated to “Connecting with the Arctic.” Participants will be challenged to generate new ideas and technologies for new travel routes, wildlife protection, assistance to local communities, and conservation of natural habitats in the Arctic. The competition seeks solutions in 3 main directions: Safe passage at sea, Life on Land, and Wildlife care. The organizers are 10 European countries, and all individual participants or teams with a passion for entrepreneurship, EU, and Arctic space technologies are invited to participate. Registration of projects is open by 29 October through the competition website https://hackathons.cassini.eu/, after which participants must make teams. The hackathon will take place on 5-7 November – online and live in several locations across Europe.
The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce’s BIA Open Innovation Platform has published several new opportunities from companies in the Netherlands. The pl
atform is a place of contact between companies and institutions with startups where they can solve a specific problem or develop a new solution in a given area. Solutions are necessary for telemedicine and e-health, environmental packaging, biochemistry, mobile devices, and more. Full descriptions of the challenges are available after free registration on the BIA Open Innovation Platform website.
Slovak Matchmaking Fair 2021, organized by the Slovak Agency for Investment and Trade Development SARIO, will take place online on 21 October. It is under the auspices of the Ministry of Economy of the Slovak Republic. The theme of the 15th edition is Modern Industry and Digital Support for Innovation. Some Bulgarian companies have already registered, as well as companies from more than 30 countries. You will find their profiles and a registration link for participation on the event website here – https://matchmakingfairbratislava2021.sario.sk/.
The Bulgarian Development Bank, supported by the Pan-European Guarantee Fund, has launched a
Sofia Investment Agency presented a Class B certificate for an investment project of municipal importance to the Children’s Health Medical Center. The certificate is under the Investment Promotion Act (IPA) and has been issued for the construction of a Children’s Medical Center with a children’s hospital ward and a polyclinic in Ovcha Kupel in Sofia.
With the investment of BGN 1,950,000, the project envisages the construction of an entirely new building for specialized outpatient and inpatient consultative-diagnostic, treatment, prophylactic and health-promotional activities for children from 0 to 18 years of age, as well as integrated social health and psychological care for disadvantaged children, foster parents, children and parents from vulnerable groups. The new medical center is expected to start operating at the end of 2023.
An official press conference in “Sofia Tech Park” marked the launch of the Bulgarian supercomputer “Discoverer” in operation. Scientific teams, and Bulgarian and European organizations, and companies can now submit project proposals for the computational resource of the petascale computer in Sofia. Submissions are open until December 31, 2021, for projects aimed at scientific or applied tasks, and after January 1, 2022 – for projects related to research and technological development.
The proposals will be considered by a specially formed Permanent Expert Council of specialists in high-performance computing, and by the relevant scientific communities. The projects must correspond to the machine’s capabilities and available resources and will be approved and ranked according to the implementation priorities and deadlines.
For the second consecutive year, the Faculty of Economics at Sofia University, the Bulgarian Fintech Association (BFA), and the fintech companies in Sofia and the country have joined teams to deliver a master’s degree in Finance, Investment, and Fintech. Following last year’s success, when the program became the most sought-after full-time master’s program at the Faculty of Economics, this year “Finance, Investment and Fintech” is expanding its scope. It will also involve a course in “Blockchain and cryptocurrencies”. The partnership closes the circle from the student bench to realization in the financial technology sector. Fintech companies in Bulgaria are involved in the training by providing direct opportunities for the professional realization of students in this extremely dynamic area globally.
Another 30 new electric buses will be put in operation in Sofia’s public transport in the coming weeks, replacing old ones. Extra 52 are currently in the delivery procedure. The new
Dr. Maria Hristova, CEO of Invest Sofia, presented a Class C Certificate for investment initiatives of municipal importance to the Medical Center “Detsko Zdrave”. The certificate is under the Investment Promotion Act (IPA). It is issued for the construction of a Children’s Medical Center with a children’s hospital wards unit and a polyclinic in Ovcha Kupel in Sofia.
The project envisages establishing an entirely new building for specialized outpatient and inpatient consultative-diagnostic, treatment, preventive and health-promotional activities for children from 0 to 18 through the investment of BGN 1,950,000. The children’s medical center will comprise two floors, with a built-up area of 598 sq.m. and a total built-up area of 2,200 square meters. The investor is also committed to constructing the necessary surrounding infrastructure.
The center will offer an integrated social-,health-, and psychological set, designed for children from birth to adulthood, foster families, and families from marginalized groups, vulnerable social groups, and socially isolated communities.
“I am happy to grant a certificate for an investment project of municipal importance in the field of social care and children’s health in Sofia. The investment of “Detsko zdrave” Medical Center is commanded by the need to expand their current building stock given the growing number of patients from Sofia and other cities in the country, referred by GPs to their specialized children’s hospital and their project partner – MHAT “Zdrave”, said the director of Invest Sofia, Dr. Maria Hristova, during the presentation of the investment certificate. She emphasized that the provided land in Ovcha Kupel is in an accessible urban environment, near the central part of the city, with good transport communication, easily accessible to young patients and their parents in need of specialized health services, as well as near another Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment with a profile of pediatric care, laboratories, and other specialized consulting units.
The construction of the building is expected to begin this fall, and the Children’s Medical Center to start operating at the end of 2023. The center will employ a pediatric neurologist, orthopedist, pediatric endocrinologist, pediatric cardiologist, psychologist, speech therapist, and other specialists for preventive examinations and individual care as well as for the needs of work in self-help groups. The medical center also plans to include in its services counseling on the topics of “Parenting,” “The Parental role,” “Upcoming birth,” counseling for children and parents following psychological trauma, counseling and diagnosis of children with special
Bulgarian companies will be looking for software process automation and automated collection and processing of production data, according to a study by the Professional Association of Robotics and Automation (PARA) on the level of automation in the industry in Bulgaria and the investment plans of companies in the field next year. The survey results were presented at this year’s edition of Robotics Strategy Forum 2021, organized by the Association in partnership with Sofia Tech Park.
The answers this year showed that the companies in our country are changing their priorities. Over the past year, their attitudes have been dictated by the state of closed sectors, reduced consumption, and shrinking production. This year the focus is shifting to accelerated implementation of robots, advances in industrial automation, chip shortages, battery production. The motives for investments in automation are also changing. So far, the chief reason has been the increase in production, and this year 58% of companies are looking for cost optimization through automation, 54% – process integration, 50% – improving quality, 42% – increasing production, and 38% – solving the shortage of labor-related problems. Respondents had the opportunity to indicate more than one leading reason for expected investments in automation.
Once again, with the option for more than one answer, the results show that among the most desirable activities in which companies plan to invest are data collection and processing – 58%, administration – 50%, production – 46%, quality control – 29%, logistics – 25%, product development, and research and development – 25%, packaging – 25%, marketing, and sales – 21%. The need for software automation has been pointed as most important by 50% of respondents. Most companies (46%) plan to invest up to BGN 100 thousand, and 21% – between BGN 100 and 300 thousand. Between BGN 300 and 500 thousand are planned by 8% of the companies, 13% – over BGN 1 million, and only 13% say they do not have a set-aside budget for automation.
When asked, “What type of robots would help your production process?” the leading answer is component assembly robots, with 33% of respondents. The other answers are similar, as most companies want to invest in several types of robots simultaneously: inspection robots – 25%, collaboration robots – 21%, welding – 21%, loading/filling – 21%, application coatings – 17%.
The panel discussions within Robotics Strategy Forum 2021 covered topics such as Bulgaria’s presence
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.