Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency opened its new office on 12 Gurko Str. We hope that this will improve our cooperation with our colleges from Sofia municipality and prosperous business partners doing business in our city.
For 2017, 5 reports were prepared upon request of Sofia Investment Agency, presenting current data on the environment in Sofia – an economic profile of the city, its labor force, the outsourcing industry, the IT sector and the development of tourism, Vladimir Danailov, Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, announced at the opening. He added that Sofia continues to be the largest regional economy in the country, providing the highest standard of living. It is characterized by good absorption of European funds, which is a major source of public investment. A total of BGN 3.5 billion was absorbed by the end of September this year and the IT sector’s share rose from 3.8% to 5.7% of the total output and to almost 50% of the wider branch of information technology.
The agency was established in the summer of 1992 and for its 25-year history it has the highest number of deals concluded by a privatization body in the country – nearly 2900, Dr. Verginia Stoyanova, Executive Director of Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency said. As a result, the cash receipts total some BGN 500 million. The funds from privatization enabled Sofia Municipality to implement its own investment program. A number of projects have been implemented in the last few years, including the construction of new schools and kindergartens, reconstruction and renovation of healthcare facilities, construction of new playgrounds and sports facilities. At the same time, the concluded deals, controlled directly by the Agency and accounting for only 9% of all sales, brought additional investment in the amount of BGN 160 million and created more than 18 000 jobs. Nikolay Stoynev, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency and Deputy Chairman of Sofia Municipal Council, thanked the Agency’s team for their efforts. Sofia enables more and more successful business partnerships that bring even more added value to the economy of the city, he said.
London will offer temporary free offices for Sofia entrepreneurs willing to work in the British capital. This was agreed by Vladimir Danailov, Executive Director of Sofia Investment Agency, and his colleague Tony Margiotta from British agency “London and partners”. They held a meeting within the program of the delegation, led by Mayor Yordanka Fandakova in London. Following the meeting, a draft agreement for collaboration was drawn up which is to be discussed at an expert level and executed.
The document will engage London to provide full support for Sofia business by offering support for setting up a company, finding staff, contacting and introducing to local businesses.
In turn, Sofia Investment Agency will offer the same specific support to London entrepreneurs willing to invest in Sofia, Danailov said.
He, together with Nikolay Stoynev, deputy chairman of Sofia Municipal Council and chairman of the Supervisory Board of Sofia Investment Agency, introduced the opportunities for business development in the capital to their colleagues from “London and partners”. London has similar agreements with cities like Lisbon, Paris, Tel Aviv and Los Angeles.
The London agency is 50% funded by the British capital’s municipality, and 50% by the business. It employs about 150 people who develop projects in the field of promoting and attracting foreign entrepreneurs, education and tourism.
Business delegates from Wiener Neustadt, Lower Austria, explored investment opportunities in the metallurgical, financial, movie and construction industries in Sofia. Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency (SIA), met the Austrian executives led by Martin Weber, representative of the city council.
How to establish companies and joint projects with Bulgarian partners were the main topics during the meeting between the business delegates from Wiener Neustadt and SIA representatives. Vladimir Danailov presented the priority industries in Sofia Municipality, the development of the city, as well as the opportunities of the capital as a historical, social and cultural city.
The business representatives from Austria showed greatest interest in the municipality’s policies focused on R&D and innovation development, high-tech industries and high-tech manufacturing, Danailov said. The Austrian delegates announced their intention to return to Sofia for scheduled face-to-face meetings with local business partners.
On September 20, 2017, at 10.00 am in Sofia Tech Park’s John Atanasov building, Bulgarian companies interested in business contacts with Polish companies can take part in a Bulgarian-Polish Business Forum organized by the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA). The bilateral meetings within the forum have a free access and are funded under Action 3 of project BG16RFOP002-2.003-0002 “Organization of trade missions and forums for Bulgarian producers and foreign buyers”, where the BSMEPA is an institutional beneficiary under Operational Program “Innovation and competitiveness” 2014-2020. The Polish delegation includes a group of 17 Polish businessmen who are interested in establishing business relationships with Bulgarian companies. The following activities of the companies and organizations will be present from Poland:
|Production of electric and diesel trains, locomotives and trams|
|SOLARIS Bus & Coach S.A.
|The company is a European leader in the production of modern public transport vehicles: buses, trolleybuses and trams|
|TRAKCJA PRKiI S.A.||Construction and modernization of railway infrastructure|
|CONTRACTUS sp. z o.o.
|Export of dairy products and trade with agricultural machinery|
|Grupa Energotherm sp. z o.o.||The company provides services improving the quality and parameters of energy devices|
|3CARGO||Transport and logistics|
|Igoria Trade S.A. –
|The company offers payment services in the EU, serves currency transactions|
|Grupa ZUE||Construction and modernization of railway infrastructure|
|PPH „EWA-BIS” sp. z o.o. –
|Wholesale of fruits and vegetables, importer of fruits and vegetables|
|Fabryka Cukiernicza KopernikS.A.||Manufacturer of confectionery|
|Supply and trade of medical equipment and spare parts, diagnostic tests and reagents, medical devices and consumables|
|Makarony Polskie S.A.||The company is a leading macaroni maker in Poland and the region|
|The group is a leading manufacturer of ticketing systems (ticket vending machines – stationary and mobile, parking meters and ticketing management systems) in Europe|
|Woodwaste Sp. z o.o.||The company offers specialized, bulky feedingstuff (mainly for ruminants)|
|Mayor of Lomza||Regional cooperation|
|Representative of the Polish Entrepreneurship and Trade Development Agency||https://www.paih.gov.pl/en?lang_id=17|
The forum is part of the program of an official Polish delegation, led by Polish Prime Minister Ms. Beata Shidlo, who will visit Bulgaria at the invitation of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. The business forum aims to promote bilateral trade and economic relations between Poland and Bulgaria, as well
Sofia Investment Agency received a Certificate of appreciation from Business Club Magazine. The media company is the organizer of “Strong Regions for a Strong Economy” – a series of events dedicated to regional development policies.
Supporting the business on the territory of Sofia Municipality is a top priority for the Agency, CEO Vladimir Danailov said. He presented major entrepreneurial and business development opportunities: manufacturing facilities terrains, Certificate Class C plots, as well as SIA’s facilitating and support services for expanding into foreign markets.
Sofia won the Best IT Partner Award in the second edition of Innovations, Technology & Sourcing Awards organized by the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (BOА) and Bulgarian association of software companies (BASSCOM) on June 16. The award is given for providing favorable conditions for the development of the IT sector. Mr. Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Privatization and Investment Agency received the award at the official ceremony in Grand Hotel Primoretz, Burgas. Innovation, Technology & Sourcing Awards 2017 marked the achievements of Bulgarian outsourcing and software companies, as well as start-ups, investors and local authorities in 10 categories, four of which in the technology sector and two recognizing the efforts of affiliated businesses, local authorities and universities.
“Bringing BOA and BASSCOM together to the awards is a positive precedent which proves that when you work in synergy you achieve sustainable results. Our joint efforts have contributed and will continue to contribute for building Bulgaria as a leading outsourcing and technology destination. This year’s awards in Burgas are a bright example of a good partnership between the BOA and the municipality for the development of the outsourcing sector in Bulgaria”, said Stanimir Nikolov, chairman of BOA.
The International jury of Innovation, Technology & Sourcing Awards has awarded Bulpros with Outsourcing Service Provider of the Year. Second place in the prestigious category grabbed Sutherland, and the third – Telus International.
The award Software Company of the Year was given to Programista. Second place was conquered by SoftServe. After a contested race, third place is for EPAM and Accedia.
An interesting fact is that a number of outsourcing companies have submitted applications at prima facie in IT categories such as IT Project of the Year and IT Product of the Year. The winners in the respective categories are Lirex and coBuilder. Second place for an IT project was given to Bulpros, a third to Upnetix and Code Runners. The second prize in the IT product of the year was awarded to Experian, and Code Runners stands behind it.
Technology Employer of the Year is Scale Focus, second and third respectively are Programista and Experian.
The most innovative technology company for 2016 is Bulpros. Sutherland was awarded second and SoftServe third.
Sirma Medical Systems was named Startup Company of the Year. The second
Stable growth in the number of employed in outsourcing and ICT – part of the wider sectors “Information and communication” and “Professional, scientific and technical activities” with a number exceeding 200,000
Representatives of the business, Sofia Municipality and academic structures discussed the development of Sofia as a digital and green capital. The meeting was part of the project Road Show 2017 “Competitive economy through stimulating partnership between local government and business”, organized by the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (BAO), Association of the Commercial Buildings Owners in Bulgaria (ACBO) and ICT Media, and participants united around the conclusion that Sofia should be positioned as a good place for investment and high tech development, offering education tailored to business needs, high class business properties and attractive living conditions.
“I see the development of the city as a digital capital, partnering with business and academic circles. The rapid expansion of the whole city, coupled with the digital transformation of the world and the growing global competition, poses challenges that we need to tackle together,” said Ms Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia Municipality.
One of the most important steps in this direction is the creation of a Cooperation Forum of BAO and ACBO with Sofia Municipality through the Sofia Investment Agency (SIA). By the end of June, the Forum will have a working plan prepared on the basis of the long-term vision for turning Sofia into a digital and green capital. The plan is to hold Forum meetings at least twice a year, and partnerships with both associations will provide professional consultations with specialists on important topics and projects for the development of a smart city.
“IT and outsourcing companies have experience in areas like smart cities and other technologies; they have faced these problems and can share their experience. Direct communication with the municipality will contribute to a faster and more creative solution of current problems with less financial resources,” commented Stanimir Nikolov, Chairman of the Board of BAO.
“Those who invest in both ICT and outsourcing services, and in business buildings also work and live in Sofia. Creating the Forum will help us to work more actively with the municipality and the state to make it a better place to live. The two sectors are drivers of job creation,” added Tanya Kosseva-Boshova, Chairman of the Board of ACBO.
During the lunch, Ms. Fandakova added that Sofia occupies the top
Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) presented its work, team and activities, as well as the priority industries for the development of Sofia аt a working information meeting with members of the Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT). We are happy with the effective discussion on Smart city solutions and the development of the city in this direction. We also discussed the challenges that companies face with and how our team could help.
The shared expertise, information and suggestions have been extremely useful to our team and will help to plan effectively future activities related to the business environment support in the capital and the overall development of the city.
The specific topics that we discussed and set as potential joint projects also included the organization and conducting of a second “Business and Education” forum, for which the BAIT organizations will prepare suggestions and discussion topics on improving the quality of labor force in the capital.
Another opportunity we discussed was the launch of a project for Sofia’s image building as a regional development center. The project will be aimed at providing infrastructure for testing of Smart City solutions in a real environment. In order to do this, a working group has to be formed, which will involve experts from the ICT sector, as well as representatives of Sofia municipality.
We hope that the held meeting is the first step towards the development of a more favorable business environment in Sofia, as well as to shaping the city’s vision as a hub for highly qualified young talents that attracts sustainable investments by local and international entrepreneurs.
The second phase of the initiative “Sofia Meets Oslo – Oslo meets Sofia” took place on May 2-5, organized jointly by the team of Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) and Norwegian state agency Innovation Norway, which supports financially companies focusing on innovative business, and United Partners. The initiative aimed at providing opportunities for bilateral business contacts and getting to know the conditions for development within specific industries in both countries in connection with the forthcoming opening of the new grant period 2017-2021. Under this program, the Norwegian financial facility Norway Grants will allocate € 28.5 million to support Bulgarian projects. The Norwegian participation is part of Norway’s policy to award grants to EU member states for projects that are in line with its strategy of linking its economy to investment and development in new sectors, in order to reduce its dependence on the oil industry.
— EEA & Norway Grants (@EEANorwayGrants) May 2, 2017
Norwegian companies and organizations showed strong interest in our ICT sector and actively sought partnerships among the Bulgarian delegation. On the Bulgarian side, 12 companies and 2
branch organizations presented their business and the conditions for doing business in Sofia and Bulgaria. BASCOM and BAIT, and the companies Cleantech Bulgaria, Code Runners, Accedia, Atlantic Way, Nexpur, Stemo, Predistic, Melon, ICB – InterConsult, and D Consult joined the phase “Oslo meets Sofia”. For three consecutive days in two Norwegian cities – Oslo and Skien, Telemark region, companies and organizations from both countries presented projects, potential opportunities for development and ideas.
— OREEC (@OREECnorge) May 3, 2017
That’s what the program was in the three-day event:
Oslo, May 2
Mr Knut Ringstad of Innovation Norway presented the program and objectives of the new programming period for funding under the EEA grants and Norway Grants. Mrs Nadya Soultanova, head of Investment Department at SIA, gave a presentation about Bulgaria’s capital, data on priority industries and the rapidly growing ICT sector, as well as specific opportunities for investment in the city. BASCOM also presented detailed data on the development of the ICT sector in Bulgaria. There were presentations of a number of Norwegian companies, among
“Sofia Green & Tech City” –that’s the name of the new video business card, shot and produced by B2Y Productions especially for the opening of this year’s edition of Webit.Festival Europe 2017 which took place on April 25 and 26, in Sofia. Traditionally, the welcome words in the opening ceremony are accompanied by video moments from previous editions of the prestigious forum, but this year Sofia Municipality, as a host, initiated a bit different greeting of the guests at the festival. The result – a 68-second video portraying the city as a place where dynamics and tranquillity, the traditional and the new, the different people and styles combine into a common shape of a lively and attractive place to live and do business.
The video footage was filmed in early April, days before the opening of Webit, at some of the key locations in the city – Vitosha Metro Station, the National Theatre, Sofia City Gallery, Sofia City Library, Moskovska Street, Sofia Tech Park and others. The video was broadcast for the first time as part of the welcome speech of the Mayor of Sofia, Mrs Yordanka Fandakova, when opening the two-day festival.
Watch the “Sofia Green & Tech City” video on Sofia Investment Agency’s YouTube channel here.
On May 18, 2017, Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) presented opportunities for investment to companies from Poland at the business seminar “Investment Opportunities and Economic Cooperation between Poland and Bulgaria”. The initiative was carried out with the assistance of the Polish Institute in Sofia and the Department for Promotion of Trade and Investment at the Embassy of the Republic of Poland.
We present you a short profile of the Polish companies who participated in the seminar and the B2B meetings as well as the areas in which they are looking for a partnership in Bulgaria.
Famor S.A. – http://famor.pl – offers electrical equipment, lighting and signaling systems for rail transport and sea navigation, as well as for various industries including mining.
PPH „EWA-BIS” sp . z o.o. http://www.ewabis.com.pl/pl-PL/ – specialises in the growing and supply of fruit and vegetables and expects partnerships with distributors, wholesale importers, fruit and vegetable processing plants.
RENOVA http://www.renova.waw.pl/ seeks contact with institutions and organizations engaged in preservation of the cultural and historical heritage. The company is restorating historical monuments, buildings and sites.
Ciech Sarzyna S.A. http://www.ciechgroup.com/ is a leading plastics producer in Poland. Their products are used in the transport sector, motor vehicles, construction, mining, paint and varnish industries, etc. They await contacts with industry representatives.
Trade and service company Przedsiębiorstwo Handlowo Usługowe “GEO” sp. z o.o. O http://www.phugeo.eu/ has extensive experience as a consultant in the field of construction and equipment for agriculture and livestock farming. The company develops new livestock breeding technologies and is looking for potential customers and partners.
The seminar was attended by representatives of the Polish Chamber of Commerce – Mrs Anna Derbin, Project Manager at the Department for External Economic Relations in the Chamber, as well as Mr Witold Karczewski – Vice President of the Chamber.
On May 15 and 16, 2017, Тhe Trade Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Sofia organized a multisectoral economic mission in Sofia and Bourgas with Belgian companies interested in the Bulgarian market.
As part of the delegation’s program on May 16, a meeting was held between representatives of some of the companies participating in the mission, the Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) and the InvestBulgaria Agency (IBA). The representatives of the Belgian companies were accompanied by H.E. Mr François Bontemps, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Bulgaria and Mrs Anne Defourny, Economic & Commercial Counsellor in the Embassy’s Trade Office.
SIA presented its activities to the Belgian delegation as well as the investment opportunities in Sofia.
The meeting took place at the initiative of the Trade Office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Sofia in the hall of IBA and with the assistance of Sofia Investment Agency.