At the initiative of the Association of Commercial Building Owners in Bulgaria (ACBO), Sofia Investment Agency presented the investment profile and investment opportunities in Sofia in the construction and real estate sector at the biggest real estate and investment forum in Europe – EXPO REAL 2018, held in Munich. For the first time in the history of the exhibition, Sofia had its own stand at the event. This made the capital the first city that presented Bulgaria at an event of Messe München.
The Bulgarian participation at the exhibition also included six leading companies in the construction sector in Bulgaria that presented their projects: Expo 2000 Real Estate, Galaxy Investment Group, Real Estates BG, Business Park Sofia, East Ring Logistic Park and Harmony Group. The purpose of the Bulgarian delegation at EXPO REAL was to show the experience of the real estate companies operating in the country and their most innovative achievements, as well as to present Bulgaria and Sofia as attractive business destinations for international investors.
Visit the Bulgarian booth at the largest European trade fair for property and investments EXPO REAL in Munich: hall A1, booth 442 @exporeal_team #PartnerForTradeFairs #PartnerForSuccess #messemuenchen pic.twitter.com/zpQK3N722I
— AHK Bulgarien (@AHK_Bulgarien) October 8, 2018
The Bulgarian companies presented a diverse portfolio of projects, including office buildings, commercial and logistic parks, hotels, residential buildings.
This year EXPO REAL welcomed a record high number of visitors and exhibitors:
Sofia Investment Agency provided potential investors from all over the world with current information about the real estate development in Sofia with a focus on the following segments: offices, retail space, logistic and industrial areas, and presented the overall economic and investment environment in the city.
During the official program
The team of Sofia Investment Agency published its new report titled “The Role of Small and Medium Enterprises in Sofia’s Economy “, developed by the Institute for Market Economics for Sofia Investment Agency. The paper contains data and analysis of the state and trends of small and medium-sized enterprises in Sofia, based on their development over the past five years, as well as an overview of their economic role in Bulgaria as a whole.
The study examines the distribution of the companies in Sofia, their entrepreneurial activity and the viability of the new companies. Special attention is paid to role small and medium-sized businesses play in Sofia’s development, as well as to employment, salaries and labor productivity in the different types of companies based on their size and industry.
Overall, the results of the study are quite encouraging. As it is in other European economies, SME-s make up the vast majority of the companies based in Sofia and produce the biggest portion of the output. The SME sector is also experiencing the highest levels of entrepreneurial activity. Medium-sized businesses are leading both in terms of labor productivity and levels of remuneration. Micro and small businesses have the fastest growth in a number of indicators and their importance for Sofia’s economy is likely to increase in the future.
Here are some of the main highlights of the report:
Sofia Investment Agency, on behalf of the city of Sofia, continues its participation in the Digital Cities Project of the European Commission and is now moving into the strategy development and consolidation phase of the Project.
The Digital Cities Challenge is an initiative of the European Commission aiming to achieve sustainable economic growth in Sofia through the integration of advanced technologies.
The aim of the Challenge is to offer high level advisory services to 15 European cities and help them build up innovation ecosystems through the deployment of advanced technologies.
Due to the high interest showcased by the 92 applications from cities all over Europe, the initiative has increased its outreach to include 21 Fellow cities that joined on their own resources and 6 Mentor cities that inspire and share best practices with the group. The result is a network of over 40 cities that participate in the initiative.
After an online questionnaire, dozens of face-to-face interviews and three workshops with key local stakeholders from the government, academia, the IT sector, utility companies and the start-up community, our team of experts has now concluded the Assessment report for the city of Sofia. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:
Stakeholders of Sofia consider the ICT ecosystem of the city:
Based on the above findings, the Digital Transformation Strategy for the city of Sofia focuses on smart growth sustained by digital systems in both the ecosystems of ICT companies located in Sofia (supply side) and other industry and service sectors that absorb digital services (demand side).
The strategy was drafted in collaboration with local stakeholders from private and public organisations of Sofia. The stakeholders selected 16 operational objectives for the digital transformation strategy of Sofia. Operational objectives reflect the means through which the city of Sofia will achieve its ambition statements.
What is next: Identification of preliminary investment priorities
This November we
CALL FOR MENTEES
the Shapers of Tomorrow Mentoring Programme
The Bulgarian Chevening Association Mentorship Programme
The Bulgarian Chevening Association in cooperation with British Bulgarian Business Association is proud to announce the launch of the pioneering mentoring program Shapers of Tomorrow Mentoring programme developing under a CAPF2018 project. The aim is to support the professional and personal development of Bulgarian students in the UK or recent graduates returning to Bulgaria and encourage the development of community of engaged and skilful youth to lead the social change and shape civil society of tomorrow.
The Bulgarian Chevening Association in cooperation with the British Bulgarian Business Association is calling for mentees who would like to become a vital part of our Mentoring Program.
The Bulgarian Chevening Association is a non-for-profit association of Chevening alumni in Bulgaria, who have received an additional degree or specialization in leading UK universities. Chevening is the UK Government international awards scheme aimed at developing global leaders and is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organizations. (chevening.org)
What is the mentoring programme about?
The Shapers of Tomorrow Mentoring Programme is a six month series (November 2018 – April 2019) designed to include at least 5 working sessions/meetings, starting from November 2018; 30’-60’ Monthly Skype/Messenger/Viber/WhatsApp/call sessions, email exchange and one or two face-to-face meetings (if possible).
All mentors are experienced individuals who are motivated to share personal achievements, including the steps of successful professional development and realization in Bulgaria, professional experience and/or experience during their study/training in the UK. Mentors will provide an ongoing basis guidance and support to their mentees and will assist their professional development and career advancement.
Applicants will be matched with a mentor based on educational background, experience and interest. Mentees ought to be committed to engage in a professional relationship, where the mentee will be jointly responsible for the effectiveness of the mentoring including willing to listen, learn, collaborate and take initiative.
The Mentoring Programme offers mid-term and final evaluation of the mentoring partnership where the Bulgarian Chevening Association team is available to provide necessary assistance. At the end of the programme successful mentoring will be awarded with a certificate and a digital badge.
What are the benefits of participating in the Shapers of Tomorrow Mentoring Program? Some benefits to mentees include:
This Monday, October 22, following an official meeting of the mayors of Sofia and Vienna, Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova and Dr. Michael Ludwig, the two cities will sign an agreement for cooperation.
The Agreement was negotiated by Sofia Investment Agency and Vienna Business Agency and will be signed by the heads of the two agencies Mr. Gerhard Hirczi – Managing Director of Vienna Business Agency and Mr. Vladimir Danailov CEO of Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency today in Vienna.
The Agreement aims to facilitate business cooperation between the two cities and to offer information and access to contacts and support that will help Sofia-based entrepreneurs in growing their business in Vienna and support entrepreneurs from Vienna to establish an office in Sofia.
In February of this year, Sofia Investment Agency signed a similar agreement with London. Learn more about the City-to-City agreement between London and Sofia.
Twelve Bulgarian companies from the Finance and Biotech & Life Science sectors will join the Bulgarian delegation in Vienna as a part of a parallel networking event called “25 Hours in Vienna” on October 22-23. The 25-hour long series of business meetings will aim to familiarize the visiting Sofia-based companies with the business environment in Vienna, establish key contacts with local partners and discuss the potential for cooperation.
Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection and hybrid cloud solutions, has officially launched its new European office and R&D center in Sofia. The grand opening was held on St. Stefano Street in the heart of Sofia, where the company currently occupies two floors of San Stefano Plaza. The Singapore-based company starts operations in Sofia with a team of 30 specialists and is on track to grow to 50 people by the end of the year and to 300 people in the next three years.
We are happy that Sofia Investment Agency has been partnering in the process of establishing the Acronis R&D Center for the past few months after we first met with the Acronis due diligence team in April. We presented the business climate, the working and living conditions in Bulgaria and Sofia in front of 50 Acronis software engineers from Moscow. Furthermore, we provided support in the establishment of key contacts in different fields to ensure the successful start of the expansion of the center in Sofia.
Plamen Toshev, Managing Director, Acronis Bulgaria:
“We highly appreciate all the efforts and support that Sofia Investment Agency provided Acronis with during the time of setting up our business in Sofia. Meeting all our precise needs, the agency helped us for very fast, smooth and efficient entering to the Bulgarian market.”
The office in Bulgaria is a key R&D center for Acronis in Europe, which is focused on cyber protection, data center operations, and the development of Acronis products and services. The new center will be the latest addition to Acronis’ R&D centers currently operating in Asia, Europe and America. The office will be a part of a globally distributed network of engineering facilities that will sustain the development of cyber protection, artificial intelligence, and blockchain-based technologies 24 hours a day.
The company will also engage in active collaboration with local universities and educational institutions to provide training skill improvement in the IT sector.
“Congratulations to Acronis for deciding to open a new office in Bulgaria. Every new investor and their trust are very important for our country, and new workplaces are a great stimulus to bring qualified personnel back to the country. Bulgaria has proved its potential in developing the high-tech sector. Our priority is the investment in products and services with high value-add component, which take our economic development to a qualitatively new
The international forum ‘Cooperation between Moscow and Bulgaria’ took place on October 2 in the National Palace of Culture as part of the official programme of the Cultural Days of Moscow in Bulgaria. The focus of the event was on the economic cooperation and investment potential of Moscow and Bulgaria.
The forum aimed to support the development of bilateral business and cultural ties between Moscow and Sofia, to encourage the exchange of experience in the fields of education, culture, tourism, urbanization, investment and trade, and to create conditions for the development of direct business contacts with potential partners from Bulgaria and Russia.
The event was organised by Sofia Municipality, the Department for External Economic and International Relations of the City of Moscow, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The forum began with a plenary session dedicated to the development of the trade and economic cooperation between Moscow and Sofia and the investment potential of the two cities. Mr. Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency, presented the business climate and the investment opportunities of Sofia during the official opening of the forum to state and municipal representatives from Moscow and Sofia and to a number of Bulgarian and Russian businesses.
The Moscow delegation was headed by Sergey Cheremin, Minister of the Government of Moscow and Head of the Department for External Economic and International Relations. Mr. Cheremin presented the business climate and the recent urban development projects of Moscow. The delegation was also attended by CEO-s and representatives of Moscow enterprises and organizations.
Anatoliy Makarov, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Bulgaria, Irena Georgieva, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tsvetan Simeonov, President of BCCI, and Inna Svyatenko, Chairman of the Moscow City Duma Commission on Security, also participated in the plenary session, moderated by the Vice-president of the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry Suren Vardanian.
The forum continued with two roundtables: ‘Preservation of the cultural heritage sites and the tourist attractiveness of Sofia and Moscow’ and ‘Development of the road infrastructure and the metropolitan’.
At the invitation of Emídio Sousa, mayor of Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, Sofia Investment Agency will present the investment profile of Sofia and the business opportunities in the capital at the international Fórum Bizfeira in Portugal. The invitation followed a meeting held in Sofia in May, when Sofia Investment Agency presented the opportunities for business in the city to a delegation from Portugal.
The forum will take place on October 11 and the business meetings will be attended by chambers of commerce and industry, branch associations and business organizations from Canada, Sweden, France, Japan, Colombia, Senegal, Cuba, etc. In addition to a conference program, the event traditionally includes an exhibition area, pre-arranged business meetings and networking area, as well as informal discussions on topics previously announced in the program.
Our team will take part in the exhibition area and in the informal discussion on Growing the Future of ICT in Cooperation – Bulgaria, Portugal & Sweden. Anna Dimitrova and Nadia Sultanova from the Investment Analysis Department of Sofia Investment Agency will present Sofia as a technological hub in the Balkans. The other participants in the panel are Erik Behm from Business Region Göteborg, an organization active in the development of the second largest city in Sweden and 13 municipalities from the region, as well as Antonio Teixeira from the Portuguese Information and Communication Technology Companies Association. The discussion will focus on IT and creative industries.
The program of our team during Fórum Bizfeira also includes a meeting with the deputy mayor on creative industries of Santa Maria da Feira.
Forum Bizfeira is an annual initiative of the mayor and the municipality of the city of Santa Maria da Feira – the administrative center of a highly developed industrial area in Portugal, known mainly for the production of cork and articles for the footwear industry. The forum aims to build and maintain a network of business contacts among small and medium-sized entrepreneurs from around the globe. This one and other initiatives of the municipality helped 1889 enterprises worldwide with businesses in 60 different sectors to join the Bizfeira platform.
If you want to join the business network with your profile and offers and look for suitable partners, visit the website of the platform here.
Sofia Investment Agency joined the international start-up and entrepreneurship platform SCALE. Our team worked on the development of Sofia’s profile at SCALE, which aims to show the city’s potential as an entrepreneurial and start-up destination and the opportunities it could offer to entrepreneurs from Europe and all around the world.
SCALE (The Startup City Alliance Europe) is an online portal/platform, aiming to create a connected and transparent European city-to-city startup ecosystem. SCALE supports European startups wanting to scale not only within Europe but also to foreign markets from all around the world.
SCALE connects and fortifies the supportive structures that are already in place, bringing together European municipal governments, universities, corporates and fast growing startups (scale-ups). Currently SCALE unites 19 European startup organisations from 10 European cities: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Helsinki, Milan, Munich, Paris, Porto, Rome and Vilnius. Sofia is the 11-th city to join the platform.
Each of the 11 cities has its own profile, providing detailed information on the development of the start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem in each of the cities, including information about the different stakeholders, events, news, supporting organisations, etc., as well as valuable insights on how to access the market, establish and develop a startup, soft landing packages, etc.
In addition to an overview of the developing start-up ecosystem in the city, Sofia’s profile provides detailed information on the:
You can learn more about the SCALE platform and check Sofia’s profile here.
On September 28-29 Sofia Event Center hosted the first Soft Unit Conference – an initiative of SoftUni, one of the largest and most respected educational institutions in Bulgaria, in partnership with FlyEvents. The event aimed to bring together people looking for personal and professional development in Bulgaria and the business and its needs.
The Conference was officially opened by the Mayor of Sofia Mrs.Yordanka Fandakova. “The investments in infrastructure are the investment for today, while the investments in education and innovations are the investment for the future. I believe that the professionals and the innovative young people are Sofia’s greatest capital” – said Mrs. Fandakova.
At the invitation of the organizers, Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency, was moderator of “Destination Bulgaria” – the first panel of the conference program. The discussion was focused on the technological environment in Bulgaria, the future of the sector and why young people have good opportunities here.
The event was part of a campaign under the slogan “Stay Here Where Your Story Matters!”, targeting both young talents and experts looking for professional development in the field of software development, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, blockchain technology.
Participants in the panel discussions included Peter Lozanov from Symbol Media Group,
Viktor Shiller, president of R Cubed Group and entrepreneur in Bulgaria, who has lived in Sofia for the last 2 years, Andrey Arnaudov, chairman of the Movement for National Cause, and Andrey Bachvarov, managing director of BICA Services.
“Our role is to attract quality people and successful business in Sofia together with the business, and to improve the overall business climate in the capital”, Vladimir Danailov said at the opening of the discussion.
During the panel, Viktor Shiller shared that one of the first things he learned from his stay in Bulgaria was that people speak foreign languages and have a high technological culture.
“I am in the Silicon Valley of Europe. You outpace your rivals in an ‘unfair’ manner because you are well-prepared and have great skills, and the price at which you provide your skills is much lower”, said the president of R Cubed Group .
The Soft Unit Conference brought more than 1 400 young talents and professionals. More than 70 Bulgarian and international top speakers, entrepreneurs and experts shared their experience, advice and ideas in three different halls. The conference has the ambition of becoming an annual event
For another year, Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) will take part in the “Manager for a Day” initiative, organized for the 17th consecutive year by Junior Achievement Bulgaria. You may submit applications for the following senior management positions: Head of Investment Analysis Department and Chief Executive Officer. We will be happy to welcome you at our office in the center of Sofia (just a minute away from ‘Ivan Vazov’ National Theater) on October 30 and make you part of our dynamic daily program.
As a manager for a day you may expect:
In order to become a member of our team on October 30, you need to fill out the registration form on the website of the initiative, including information on your education, experience, interests and strengths. After signing up, the platform will send you a password to access your account. Once you sign in, you can choose your preferred position and apply for the Head of Investment Analysis Department or the Chief Executive Officer position.
In 2017, SIA welcomed Peter Hristakiev, a 12th grade student at the Secondary School of Economics and Management “Elias Canetti” – Ruse, and Gergana Daskalova, a fourth-year student at UNWE, to spend a business day with us. Check out the interview of economy.bg, where Peter and Gergana shared their experience and Vladimir Danailov commented on the day they spent with the team of the Agency.