Sofia and the South Korean city of Sejong have signed the cooperation framework under the European Union’s International Urban and Regional Cooperation Programme 2021-2023 (EU IURC). The two cities will partner in:
– R&D activities in the field of transport, mobility and urban development;
– economic development;– net zero emissions, energy transition, and climate change;
– support to startups and SMEs;
– Science, academic and cultural initiatives.
The official Memorandum of Cooperation between the two cities to be signed after the ratification of the framework by the Sofia Municipal Council and the Municipal Council of Sejong. An official visit of the mayor of Sejong to Sofia is expected at the end of this year or in the spring of 2023.
A new dedicated webpage for hearing-impaired and deaf-blind people is now available on the website of the Sofia Municipality. The link to the webpage is in the upper right corner of the sofia.bg portal, marked with a special symbol (hands). For direct access please visit: https://bgsl.sofia.bg/bg/
The section aimed at the deaf community contains information in social activities, mobility, and sports. The content is presented through video postings in Bulgarian Sign Language.
The activity is part of the unanimously voted by the Sofia Municipal Council Action Plan for the adoption of the Law on Bulgarian Sign Language in municipal services. As part of the Plan, the appointment of Bulgarian Sign Language interpreters is also foreseen with the aim to ensure the delivery of administrative services to citizens at Moskovska 33, as well as provision of the necessary equipment to all regional administrations that allows simultaneous connection between hearing-impaired and deaf-blind people, the administrative officer on site and the translators.
Thus, Sofia Minusipality will become the first institution in the country to apply the Law on Bulgarian Sign Language and guarantee equal access to administrative services for the deaf and deaf-blind community.
Sofia will be among the first cities in Europe with a Digital Rights Strategy, along with Brussels, Paris and Tirana. Thus, our city will pioneer in the development and implementation of the Digital Rights Governance Framework in the European Union. The work on the Strategy is part of Sofia’s participation in the Digital Rights Governance Project developed by the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights, launched by the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York in 2018q which today represents a network of 50 cities from around the world
The third edition of the SHEleader@digital2022 forum will focus on sustainable development and climate change. Women leaders, green entrepreneurs, innovators, policymakers, corporate leaders, activists, and artists will join the international conference on October 6 at Toplocentrala in Sofia.
The forum is organized by the Bulgarian Center for Women in Technology (BCWT), EDIT and MOVE.BG in partnership with the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA). At the organizers’ invitation, our CEO Dr. Maria Hristova will join the conference.
SHEleader@digital2022 will give the stage to the role of women in addressing the climate crisis and how female leadership can help drive a successful green transformation. Topics related to the role of women in the digital industry and their place in sustainable development and green transformation will be in focus, as well as the role of innovative startups, the importance of corporate policies for sustainable development, the role of ESG standards for social disclosure, the environmental impact of companies, the role of innovative artists and art within the green transformation, the importance of nature-based solutions and many more.
The event is held under the patronage of Maria Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, and Youth. More than 20 prominent Bulgarian and international business leaders and speakers will hit the stage. Among them Sasha Bezuhanova, founder of MOVE.BG, Lyubomira Yordanova, founder of the innovative GreenTech startup Plan A, Kim Andreoli-Pasche – Senior Director, Global Virtual Sales EMEAR at Cisco.
The full agenda is available on the SHEleader@digital 2022 website.
On September 29, the Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) issued green cards to two leading companies in the field of logistics and transportation. These are M&M Militzer & Munch BG and TransTerminal Co. Ltd. The Green card by Invest Sofia provides a fast-track administrative service for eligible companies that are not certified under the Investment Promotion Act.
The event was attended by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Agency Nikolay Stoynev, Deputy Mayor Angel Jorgov, the Executive Director of Invest Sofia Dr. Maria Hristova, and the Mayor of Lyulin district Milko Mladenov.
“Continuous support for the Sofia-based companies is of highest priority for the Sofia Municipality and the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova.
Through Invest Sofia, we created a service that would provide quick and tailored administrative support,” Nikolay Stoynev said during the event. He emphasized that Sofia is an attractive destination for entrepreneurs and new companies. He presented the Green Card to Sasho Todorov, Manager at TransTerminal.
TransTerminal is part of the Swiss holding Transinvest Group. It incorporateя 121 independent companies from 40 countries around the world, with a special focus on countries in Europe and Asia. TransTerminal has 10 percent Bulgarian participation. The main activity of the company is leasing and management of its own real estate facilities. “TransTerminal has its own warehouse near Lyulin district and a new logistics center with a built-up area of 2133.50 m2,” Sasho Todorov said upon receiving the Green Card. He also shared that the company plans a new investment of nearly 10 million euros to expand its activities in the Lyulin business zone.
M&M Militzer & Munch BG, which received a Green Card from Deputy Mayor Angel Jorgov, is a leading international company in the field of logistics services, with subsidiaries in all European and Asian countries. M&M Militzer & Munch BG has been operating in Bulgaria since 1991 as the first foreign investor in the transport sector and today represents the biggest transport and logistics group in Bulgaria. The company has invested over 20 million euros, and 20 percent of the enterprise has Bulgarian management.
Deputy Mayor Angel Jorgov reminded us that years ago the Lyulin district was a deserted area, but it has now been turned into a business zone. Mayor Mladenov shared the plans for the rapid construction of new and convenient transport connections for those working in the area. According to him,
At an official reception at the Millennium Grand Hotel in Sofia, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Bulgaria, together with honorary guests from both Korea and Bulgaria, celebrated the National Foundation Day of the Republic of Korea. The meeting was attended by state institutions, business, academia and culture representatives, diplomats, Korean citizens living in Bulgaria and employees of Korean companies in our country. At the invitation of the Embassy of Korea in Bulgaria, the Executive Director of Invest Sofia Dr. Maria Hristova attended the reception.
This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Bulgaria. In his welcoming speech, the ambassador of Korea to our country H.E. Jeong Jinkyu noted the successful development of bilateral relations between the two countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1990 and drew attention to the Korean government’s efforts to expand the cooperation in different areas, including politics, economy, society, culture.
According to data from the Ministry of Economy and Industry, among the leading goods in Bulgaria’s exports to Korea in 2021 are wheat and a mixture of wheat and rye; corn; copper strips and copper sheets; integrated circuits and electronic micro-assemblies; engines, etc.
The leading import goods for the same period are polyacetals, other polyethers and epoxy resins in primary forms; parts and accessories designed solely or generally for the machines and apparatus of NNs 8469 to 8472; synthetic staple fibers; acrylic polymers; pneumatic rubber tires, etc.
There are opportunities to expand Bulgaria’s export potential with products such as cereals, oil, wine, cosmetic/pharmaceutical products, and others. Bulgarian wines are unknown in the Republic of Korea and advertising is needed to impose the Bulgarian wines on the market in Korea.
According to BNB data, the total amount of Korean investments in Bulgaria at the end of 2021 was EUR 71.8 million.
Europe’s largest B2B trade fair for property and investment projects EXPO REAL 2022 started in Munich on October 4. The Invest Sofia team is part of the Bulgarian stand, organized by the Munich Fair. Together with us are the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the companies Business Park Sofia, East Ring LP, I&B REAL ESTATE, Raiffeisen Property Management Bulgaria, Real Estates BG, as well as the Municipality of Plovdiv.
Part of the event are our experts Viktor Goussev, head of the “Investment Analysis” department, as well as Kristin Dermendzhiev, chief expert in the department. Come and find us in Hall A1, Booth #247!
As part of the conference program on October 5, from 2:30 p.m. on the Exhibitor Stage, Hall C2.430, the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce is organizing the discussion panel “Bulgaria – Next eurozone country”. All companies and organizations from Bulgaria’s exhibition stand will take part in the presentations about Sofia and Bulgaria as investment destinations in the construction and real estate industry.
EXPO REAL is Europe’s largest exhibition in the industry and this year takes place between October 3-6. This is the 24th edition of the international trade fair which stands for business-oriented networking for cross-industry and transnational projects, investments and financing. Exhibitors and visitors include project developers and project managers, investors and financiers, consultants and agents, architects and planners, corporate real estate managers, expansion managers and also economic regions and cities reflecting the entire value chain of the real estate industry. With its indicative conference programme consisting of symposia, conferences and roundtables the fair acts as a communication and information platform for the latest trends, innovations and future prospects of the markets for real estate, investment and finance.
In 2018, Bulgaria and Sofia were present with their own stand at Expo Real for the first time in the history of the fair. Thus, Sofia became the first city to represent Bulgaria at an event at Messe München and the adjacent International Congress Center, where dozens of international forums, including EXPO REAL, are being held throughout the year. We are glad that this year our country is represented by one more Bulgarian city and colleagues from the Municipality of Plovdiv are with us at the forum.
Visit the Bulgarian booth at the largest European trade fair for property and investments EXPO REAL 2022 in Munich: Hall A1, Stand #247.
The new edition of the international conference “Financial and investment support for SMEs – Sofia International Money Expo” (SIM EXPO 2022) started today in Millennium Hotel Sofia. At the organizers’ invitation, Invest Sofia is part of the event. Our Executive Director Dr. Maria Hristova will join today’s panel discussion on “Foreign direct investments – benefits for business and stimulus for the economy”. You can also find us in the expo area.
Experts from the Bulgarian Investment Agency, National Company Industrial Zones Bulgaria, the Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Ministry of Innovation and Growth, as well as trade attachés and representatives from the embassies of Austria, Turkey, Greece, and Romania will also participate in the discussion.
We would like to invite all our partners to join the Conference. Access is free, participants can register on-site at the Millennium Hotel in Sofia, where the conference is taking place.
SIM EXPO 2022 is organized by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency together with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Investment Council at the Chamber. Again, the forum aims to present current funding and investment opportunities. Participants will be able to make direct contact with potential partners.
At the exhibition area will be presented products and services of financial institutions, investment, and guarantee funds. We encourage SME founders to look for specific growth opportunities, tailored to their needs.
On September 26, 2022, the New European Innovation Agenda was presented in the “John Atanasov” hall of Sofia Tech Park. The Programme aims at further development of the European innovative ecosystem, new jobs in the EU, and support for startups.
The event was organised by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency and the Bulgarian Innovation Forum Platform, which gathers investors, financial institutions, innovators, startup companies, scientists, policymakers, and civil organisations. At the invitation of the organizers, Viktor Gusev, head of the Investment Analysis Department at Invest Sofia, joined the event.
The New European Innovation Agenda was presented by the Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Maria Gabriel. Representatives of the European Commission and its structures also took part, as well as representatives of Bulgarian ministries, and local organizations such as the Bulgarian Innovation Forum, Junior Achievement Bulgaria, Health & Life Sciences cluster Bulgaria, Cleantech Bulgaria, etc., who presented opportunities for the Bulgarian entrepreneurs and startup companies for taking full advantage of the mechanisms of the Programme.
Until September 21, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises can receive grants between BGN 180,000 and BGN 700,000 for new equipment and software under the open call “Technological modernization” under the Recovery and Sustainability Plan. The total budget of the invitation is BGN 260 million. The main objective of the procedure is to increase the efficiency of production processes, achieve higher productivity, reduce costs and optimize the production chain by providing grants to SMEs. Applications can be submitted through the UMIS 2020 postal here.
Until September 22, Bulgarian companies and organizations can apply for funding between BGN 70,000 and BGN 800,000 for new space technologies and applications. Project proposals ar accepted via the website of the European Space Agency (ESA) at: https://doing-business.sso.esa.int/.
The procedure is for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including startups, as well as research centres, for the creation of new space technologies, equipment or products suitable for ESA missions, market research, research and development activities, applications and training programmess for space engineering, etc. Partnership programmes between science and business will be encouraged, including organizing internships in real research or work environment.
The Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency, in partnership with the US Embassy in Sofia and the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria, organizes the “EXPLORE USA” conference, dedicated to the opportunities for Bulgarian companies to start and expand their business in the USA. The event is free to attend and will take place on October 13 at the Millennium Sofia Grand Hotel. Details of the US market will be presented, recommendations for a business start, as well as the sectors in which companies have the greatest chance for successful expansion. Information will also be presented about the SelectUSA programme, which supports the entry of Bulgarian companies into the US market. To book your seat at the conference, only registration is required by October 7 via the link here.
Enterprise Europe Network at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce invites enterprises, universities and research institutions from the healthcare sector to join the B2B meetings during the MEDICA Healthcare Brokerage Event 2022. The meetings will be held on-site during the exhibition – between 14-17 November 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany, as well as online – until December 15, 2022. The event provides all participating organizations with an opportunity to establish international partnerships in product development, manufacturing, licensing agreements, distribution, research collaborations, joint ventures, investments,
Career Show 2022, the two-day leading career expo for qualified candidates is now on. The event started on-site yesterday at the Sofia Event Center. Today, the forum continues online with plenty of opportunities for the participants. Candidates can appoint meetings with over 100 of the largest employers in Bulgaria and watch the sessions from the conference programme focused on the latest career trends in Bulgaria, as well as new opportunities for professional development.
Invest Sofia is once again an institutional partner of the fair. At the invitation of the organizers, our CEO Dr. Maria Hristova joined the live opening. She was also part of the prestigious jury of the annual Career Show Awards 2022. Maria Hristova was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for “being a part of the expert team evaluating the best employers, their best practices, and innovative approach in the field of human resources in Bulgari.”. We are glad that the “Best Employer” award went to a Sofia-based company – the web hosting provider SiteGround.
The conference programme covers a wide range of topics such as communication and public speaking techniques, tips for your job interview, doe stepping out of the “comfort zone” is helping or hindering your career development, technologies in the sharing economy, what skills are needed in a fast-growing company, what are the most important social benefits for you as an employee, how to create a working team in a virtual or hybrid environment, how to build our personal and professional brand, the role of emotional intelligence, presentation techniques and many more.
You can still register for the Career Show 2022. Participation for candidates is free: https://careershow.bg/expo/
We are glad to share that today we had the chance to meet and talk with so many young talents and experts from innovative Bulgarian companies during Tuk-Tam Hive 2022. The event was held with parallel conference programs on two different stages and in nine thematic areas in Inter Expo Center Sofia.
Our team was part of the Buzz Hive zone for B2B networking, where we met many partners, with whom we talked about business, talent pool, and career opportunities in Sofia and Bulgaria. Trade and industry associations and chambers we also part of the Buzz Hive – our partners from the British-Bulgarian Business Association – BBBA, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria – AmCham, Confindustria Bulgaria, the French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – CCI France Bulgarie, the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce – AHK Bulgarien, the Bulgarian Fintech Association and the Association for Production, Storage and Trading of Electricity – APSTE.
Hive 2022 brought together over 50 international speakers and more than 100 companies who presented their achievements, and sought new ideas and experts for their teams. Hive 2022 was livestreamed to encompass entrepreneurs, experts, and students outside Bulgaria.
We would like to express our gratitude to the organizers from Tuk-Tam for the opportunity to join the forum. We are glad that once again Invest Sofia partnered one of the most significant events in Sofia and the country, which gathers and gives the stage to motivated and proactive people who make Bulgaria a better place.
Sofia Became the Capital of Bulgaria with a Population of 11,694 Inhabitants – Less than the Number of Newborns in the City in the Last Year
Sofia is a city with 7000 years of history and is among the European cities with the most ancient past. To this day, excavations reveal tools of the Neolithic and ancient remains from the Stone and Bronze Ages.
It is believed that the abundance of warm mineral springs attracted the first settlers to these places. There are still eight types of hydrothermal deposits in Sofia Valley with 49 mineral springs of great depth, which protects their waters from pollution.
The earliest name of the city mentioned in historical sources is Serdonpolis. The name Sofia began to appear in historical archives a lot later – in the 14th century.
The oldest preserved building is in the very heart of the city – St. George Rotunda, built in the early 4th century.
became the capital of the autonomous Principality of Bulgaria in 1879, at the suggestion of Prof. Marin Drinov, co-founder of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.
The decision was made because of the following advantages of the city: the geographic location between Northern and Southern Bulgaria, the vast valley that would allow the expansion of the town, and its location on the most important road of the Balkan Peninsula connecting Europe and Asia. Today, three trans-European transport corridors run through Sofia.
According to the first census conducted in Sofia in 1880, the city became the capital of Bulgaria with 11,694 inhabitants, 3,306 houses, and 2 schools.
To date, 1,276,909 people live in the city, the number of public secondary schools is 1,948, another 96 are private, and there are 16 universities. For the last year, Sofia has become the hometown of nearly 13,000 newborns – more than the city’s population at the first census as a capital.
The Coat of Arms of Sofia was created for the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900. The motto was added 11 years later and was originally “Ever Growing, Never Aging”. Later the word “but” was added to avoid the number of letters in the inscription being thirteen.
Part of the coat of arms is the image of a lion – the guardian of the city. There are a total of nine lion monuments in various places across the city
In the first half of 2022, the market for class A, B, and C offices in Sofia will reaches 2,603 million sq.m. and registered a growth of 2%. The volume of projects under construction has maintained its level since the end of 2021 – 254,400 sq.m. Buildings under construction have been completed, but the launch of new ones has been postponed due to rising inflation and increased prices of construction materials, Colliers’ analysis for H1 2022 shows.
Demand continues to grow – a trend that started in Q3 of 2021. Thus, the net take-up reaches 45,910 sq.m. with the largest share of transactions coming from relocations – 38% and contract renewals – 34%. A small share of the transactions is due to expansions or new entries.
Again, the most active sectors are IT and outsourcing – 44%, followed by professional services – 29% and pharmaceutical products – 13%. Rental levels remain stable at €14 per sq m for Class A in the city center, €12.5 per sq m broad center and €12 per sq m for the suburb areas of the city. An average increase of 10-15% in service charges has been registered, mainly due to higher electricity prices and safety measures related to the pandemic.
The industrial and logistics market has maintained its activity levels since the end of 2021. Demand has been driven mainly by retailers and wholesalers (69%), followed by logistics operators (23%), professional services companies (3%), pharmaceuticals (3%) and manufacturing (1%). A slight increase in supply, along with steady demand levels, has seen vacancies fall by 2% to 6%. Rental rates remain unchanged. For class A warehouses, with a good location and established infrastructure, they are between 4.7 – 5.2 euros per sq.m. Class B areas cost an average of 2.7 euros per square meter per month.
Colliers’ forecast in the retail space segment is for continued investor interest in the second half of the year for retailers with a primary focus on retail parks. New discounters are expected to enter the market. Potential development is expected in the North/ West direction of the capital and around the main roads connected with Hemus and Trakia highways. Colliers is monitoring whether inflation and lower purchasing power will affect the sector.
The analysis of the segment shows a 10-12% increase in vacancies on “Vitosha” Blvd., mainly due to the closing of sites in the food and beverage