Our team is working on a pilot for the use of the European cloud infrastructure by the public administration and the pilot project for Sofia is already on the European Commission’s PolicyCLOUD program website.
With our participation in the project, Sofia Municipality will be able to perform simulations, tests and analysis of potential policies, using different categories of data – from existing sources (the Call Sofia call centre for citizens’ signals) and from new open data sets of the EU, which will be accessible to Sofia and the other 15 European cities in PolicyCLOUD.
The project features the development of a tool for analysis of large data sets and visualisation of different scenarios, which will allow assessment of policies and activities related to urban management case studies such as:
☑ road infrastructure, street lighting, road signs, parking
☑ waste management
☑ cleanliness of public spaces, ecology, green systems, playgrounds
☑ violations of public order and others
The analysis of the territorial distribution of the signals by category will enable the municipal administration to identify problems and trends in the urban environment. The analysis will also facilitate the monitoring and control of the services under review, enabling preventive action to identify potential risks and to guide decision makers to adjust the current policies or adopt new ones, as well as to use the budget and public resources effectively and efficiently.
More about Sofia’s participation in the EU Programme can be found here.
A description of Sofia’s project for PolicyCLOUD is available on the initiative’s website here.
Source: Innovative Sofia
The Financial Times included 12 Bulgarian companies in FT1000 – its report on Europe’s fastest growing companies in 2020. The report has been compiled in collaboration with Statista for a fourth consecutive year. Eight of the included Bulgarian companies are based in Sofia and operate in the sectors of technology and consulting services.
A total of 268 of the companies listed in the FT1000 2020 report were also featured in last year’s edition, and 90 companies have been included in all four editions. The profile of the companies this year reflects the ever growing importance of the technology sector and startups with innovative solutions. They are represented by 189 companies. With the addition of fintech and e-commerce to the group, the sector’s share increases to 259 companies, which makes for over 25% of all of the fastest growing companies in Europe.
Among them are eight companies based in Sofia – 7 in the technology sector (Xtream Codes, Mobile Wave Solutions, Botron Software Solutions, LEAD Consult, B EYE EOOD, Accedia) and one in the fintech sector (Qaiware). The remaining four Bulgarian companies in the list are from the agricultural sector (Trans and Trade 1, Varna), the energy sector (S&G Solar, Blagoevgrad), consultant services (Next Consult, Sofia), food and beverage (Bulchicken JSC, Sevlievo), and industrial goods (Smart Design 2006, Varna).
Most of the top-ranked companies are based in Germany, Italy, the UK and France, with these four nations accounting for about 70 per cent of the overall ranking. London retains its lead as the city with the greatest number of fast-growing companies, followed by Paris and Milan, while Warsaw and Vilnius make the top 10 for the first time.
We expect the situation in Sofia to continue to be dynamic in the following days and weeks. Sofia Municipality offers several digital solutions, related to COVID-19, which are available for you to use 24/7. They provide the latest information about the situation in the city from official sources as well as useful directions related to the coronavirus.
On the website of Sofia Municipality, you can communicate with the chatbot Skilly 24/7 by asking it open-ended questions or by choosing from the list of frequently asked questions. Articles, presentations, infographics and videos are also available. We would like to thank the team of the Sofia-based company Abilitics who supported the municipality free of charge with the implementation of the chatbot and assisted us in ‘teaching’ it specific information about the situation in Sofia. Skilly is AI-based and is continuously improving its ‘skills’ in order to answer even more questions. Read more in our publication here.
Over 32 000 citizens are already part of the official Viber community of Sofia Municipality about COVID-19. Join the community and invite your contacts to follow the latest news, information about current measures concerning the citizens and the business in Sofia https://vb.me/COVID-19_Sofia
The information in the information system of Sofia Municipality about COVID-19 is being continuously updated here: https://www.sofia.bg/covid-19
We would also like to remind you that:
You can use the site e-Sofia with quick links to the electronic services of Sofia Municipality – portals for citizens, online services, documents for download and directions on how to use the available e-services.
Citizens can send non-urgent signals, letters, complaints, requests for access to public information to the city administration by choosing the topic of their signal from the menu of the new free mobile app of call.sofia.bg – the contact centre for citizens’ alerts. You can download the app here:
For Android – https://t2m.io/fPo0T4L2
For iOS – https://t2m.io/EF5Lj6cb
You can monitor your current health status and share data with a health professional through the application Medrec:Sofia, which the Sofia-based IT company Sirma Group Holding developed and provided for free to Sofia Municipality in support of the mutual efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 on the territory of Sofia and the country. Read more about the app and find a download link here.
The citizens of Sofia can now use the new free mobile app of call.sofia.bg – the contact centre for citizens’ alerts and one of the largest platforms of Sofia Municipality.
The “Call Sofia – Sofia City Contact Centre” app is available to users of Android and iOS devices via Google Play and App Store.
You can access the app via a Google Account, a Facebook account or after a one-time registration. Citizens can send non-urgent signals to the city administration by choosing the topic of their signal from the app’s menu. Given the situation in the country, there is a special COVID-19 section for reporting violations of the anti-epidemic measures introduced for the territory of Sofia Municipality.
So far, Call Sofia is the only platform in Bulgaria created by a municipal administration, offering the citizens the opportunity to submit non-urgent reports, letters, complaints, applications for access to public information, proposals for the development of the municipality, and to receive information on the activities of the Municipal administration.
Sofia Municipality’s contact centre works 24/7. Users can also report irregularities by calling 0700 17 310.
After submitting a signal through the platform, each citizen receives an official registration number, which allows them to check the status of the report, and the answers provided by the municipal administration.
The platform is integrated with the administrative information system of the Municipality. The reports get directed to the structures responsible for the respective problem, including municipal enterprises and municipal commercial companies providing public services to Sofia’s citizens through line managers. They, in turn, exercise control over solving the reported problem.
For Android, download the app here.
For iOS – here.
Over the last two weeks, together with the team of Innovative Sofia and the direct participation of the Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Vladimir Danailov, we organized online meetings with a number of industry associations in Sofia. We e-met with the Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO), the Association for Innovation, Business Excellence, Services and Technology (AIBEST), the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (BASSCOM), the Bulgarian Employers’ Association Innovative Technologies (BRAIT), the Health and Life Sciences Cluster and the AI Cluster Bulgaria, the Digital Health and Innovation Cluster Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Convention Bureau, the Association of Commercial Building Owners in Bulgaria and others.
We discussed the potential threats and opportunities for the local economy, the opportunities for business-to-city collaboration during and after COVID-19, as well as specific possible measures (at municipal and national level) to help rebuild the business ecosystem.
The meetings continue and we will prepare a summary analysis with proposals. Here are some of the visible threats and possible solutions that the business has shared so far.
TNW X marks that Sofia has turned into a major technology center in Europe by publishing a matrix with over 170 participants, which represent the tech startup environment in the capital.
TNW X, together with fDi Intelligence, is celebrating successful European startup ecosystems by mapping out their key players, analyzing where their greatest potential lies and ranking them to find out what makes them strong. During the last months, TNW X has published matrices for other key locations such as Riga, Vilnius, Dublin, and Munich.
With the publication of the matrix for Sofia, TNW X points out that in recent years the city has become a major tech hub in Europe with a highly skilled digital workforce. Furthermore, major software companies have their global R&D departments in Sofia and foreign investment in the Bulgarian software and ICT industry has tripled since 2015.
X is TNW’s digital transformation and innovation consultancy label, including online media (thenextweb.com), The Next Web technological festival in Amsterdam, a global database of startups, an international platform for cooperation between co-working spaces, and much more. The organization connects businesses, institutions, investors, and startups with a global mission to give impetus to digital transformation and innovations.
Sofia is a beautiful city that is growing and changing every day. A city that is developing as a startup, innovation and creative hub of Central and Eastern Europe with a constantly improving urban environment. Sofia is surrounded by mountains, full of parks, gardens and mineral springs and offers a great cultural and nightlife.
To help those who consider settling down and exploring business opportunities in Sofia, Innovative Sofia, the new ‘Digitalisation, Innovation and Economic Development’ department of Sofia Municipality, just 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 in: cost of living, study and work options, the weather in the city, 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!
About Innovative Sofia
The ‘Digitalisation, Innovation and Economic Development’ department of Sofia Municipality was established in 2020 to support Sofia’s development as a smart, digital, innovative, and tech city. The new Department will consolidate and guide all of the city’s digital and smart city projects and will continue to support high-tech and R&D investors in Sofia. It will focus on increasing the number and quality of municipal e-services, open data and smart city projects implementation.
The new single point of information issues related to COVID-19 is already active on Sofia Municipality’s website. The system has been developed with free of charge assistance of the Sofia office of SAP Bulgaria, a local affiliate of the international software leader SAP SE.
The platform is accessible through the COVID-19 page of Sofia Municipality at https://www.sofia.bg/covid-19 and provides citizens with concise, accurate and up-to-date information on key issues – what to do if we suspect we have been in contact with infected people, what to do if we belong to a senior age group or have reduced mobility, what to do if we have children, or if we have recently returned from abroad, etc.
The system is interactive, with easy navigation, and leads the user to their specific case of interest. The information on the platform is being constantly updated, so that it could provide the most up-to-date and useful information in one place, without the need for citizens to visit different sites of different institutions. Besides, the single point of information facilitates the gathering of feedback on citizens’ problems, what they are worried about and the kind of difficulties they are experiencing. There is an option for volunteers and donors to send information on how they think they can help.
The technology is provided on the initiative of SAP Bulgaria’s team in Sofia who contacted the new department of Sofia Municipality for Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development (Innovative Sofia) to offer free implementation of the software application.
Since the start of the state of emergency, many technology companies in Sofia have been actively proposing ideas and ready-to-implement solutions to help the citizens and the city’s management in the state of crisis.
Sofia Mayor Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova and the teams of Innovative Sofia and Invest Sofia would like to express sincere gratitude to the startups and IT companies in Sofia for their proactive approach in providing solutions for the city.
Sofia Municipality launched an official Viber community for COVID-19. The community will share daily important information, news about the situation in the city and current measures affecting the citizens of the capital. All citizens can join the community and invite their contacts to join as well.
The official Viber community for #COVID-19 in Sofia was launched by the Sofia Municipality’s newly created Digitalization, innovation and economic development unit (Innovative Sofia) with the kind support of the Rakuten Viber team in the city, in order to offer easy and fast access to important information in the crisis situation.
You can join the group here: https://vb.me/COVID-19_Sofia
The Sofia Municipality will share daily:
✅ Tips on how to protect ourselves and others from the disease;
✅ News on measures taken to combat COVID-19;
✅ Information related to the introduction of new rules and administrative provisions affecting Sofia residents.
Since the onset of the state of emergency, a number of Sofia-based technology companies have been actively proposing ideas and ready-to-implement solutions to help citizens and the city’s authorities during the crisis.
Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and the teams of Innovative Sofia and Invest Sofia are grateful to the startups and IT companies in Sofia for their willingness to help with solutions for the city.
With regard to the recommendations of the operational headquarters of Sofia Municipality for limiting social contacts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we inform citizens about the possibilities to communicate electronically with the administration.
✔️ non-urgent signals about problems in the city environment, no preliminary registration required;
✔️ letters, complaints, suggestions, requests for access to public information. Preliminary registration is required and the user must provide their current email address in the registration form.
✔️ Every citizen can register in the Secure Delivery Electronic System (SDES), by identifying themselves by their personal identification code from the National Social Security Institute or Qualified Natural Person Signature.
✔️ Through the Secure Delivery Electronic System one can submit letters, complaints, signals, suggestions, requests for access to public information, as well as requests for electronic services, signed with a Qualified Natural Person Signature.
The inquiry can be placed using:
✔️ Personal ID number/Unified Identification Code/Personal ID number for a foreigner and PIN, issued by the Municipality;
✔️ Personal Identification Code, issued by the National Revenue Agency;
✔️ Qualified Natural Person Signature
4. https://usl.sofia.bg/ provides the opportunity to apply electronically for administrative services in the categories of Civil Registration, Local Taxes and Fees, Municipal Property, and Tourism.
The provision of electronic administrative services requires mandatory registration in the system of electronic services and the availability of a qualified electronic signature (QES)
The authorized Bulgarian QES providers are:
The Sofia Investment Agency Team just published the third edition of Sofia Business Guide, a guide about Sofia as an investment destination. The Guide was developed in close collaboration with Innovative Sofia – the newly established digitalization, innovation and economic development department of Sofia Municipality. The new edition is already available for download on the Agency’s website in Bulgarian and in English.
Sofia Business Guide 2020 covers a wide range of topics and contains statistics on Sofia’s economy, workforce, education, transport and connectivity, industrial and office spaces, priority industries, investment and entrepreneurial environment, and many more.
This year, for the first time, the Guide includes up-to-date statistics and information on such sectors as artificial intelligence (AI), proptech, gaming, robotics, automation, and aerospace.
The Business Guide also presents the activities of the newly established Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development department of Sofia Municipality (Innovative Sofia). Since the beginning of 2020, its function is to consolidate and lead the city’s digital and smart city initiatives and to support high-tech and R&D investors in Sofia.
The edition contains up-to-date information on taxes, fees, investment incentives, the procedures for registering a company, funding opportunities, and other practical information. It also serves as a step-by-step guide for starting a business in Sofia.
The information is mainly presented visually – in graphs, tables, and infographics.
Feel free to use all of the content and graphs in your business endeavours, whenever you present your projects to foreign partners and potential investors.
The team of Sofia Investment Agency is available to provide additional information and detailed analysis on specific topics, as well as continuous support at every stage of the investment plan for foreign and Bulgarian investors.
Sofia Investment Agency would like to thank all supporting organizations for the information and guidance they provided for the new edition of the Sofia Business Guide.
Thank you for your support and valuable feedback: Institute for Market Economics, Bulgarian Fintech Association, Professional Association of Robotics and Automation PARA Bulgaria, Fund of Funds, Creative Industries Foundation, Game Dev Summit, Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, Tourism Municipal Enterprise, Directorate of Culture, Sofia Municipality, Sofia Airport, Puzl CowOrKing, BESCO-The Bulgarian Startup Association, Sofia Tech Park, AIBEST.
The Sofia Business Guide was developed before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is expected to have a serious impact on the global and the European
In cooperation with the team of Innovative Sofia, we developed the first Assessment report on the impact of COVID-19 on Sofia’s economy. There you can read about:
It is reasonable to expect that Sofia’s GDP will shrink by 1-3% in 2020 г., but there are more catastrophic scenarios, too. The effect of a potential economic recession will be very similar to the situation in Europe. This is true especially for Sofia, whose economy is linked to the EU’s economy to a higher degree. However, recessions in the past were followed by a rapid recovery as a result of the return to normal economic life.
Sofia has the best labor market in Bulgaria with an unemployment rate of under 2% and employment of nearly 80% of the population in active age by the end of 2019. The capital has a relatively big potential to respond to the unemployment caused as a result of the crisis.
Most affected will be those employed in the tourism and travel sector, over 35 000 people, culture and sport – 10 000 people. Moderately affected will be the employees in the industrial sector. The least affected will be the employees in the utilities, ICT, professional activities, where the impact is softer because of the opportunity for remote work.
You can find more in the full report.
The Assessment Report on the impact of COVID-19 on Sofia’s economy was developed by the Digitalisation, Innovation and Economic Development Department of Sofia Municipality (Innovative Sofia) and the Sofia Municipal Privatisation and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) with the support of the Institute for Market Economics (IME), Sofia Tourism Administration, the Bulgarian Convention Bureau, Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, the Bulgarian E-Commerce Association, the Culture Directorate of Sofia Municipality, the Association for Innovation, Business Excellence, Services and Technology (AIBEST) and representatives of the business ecosystem in the city.