Deloitte Bulgaria (Deloitte) is now part of Sofia IS – the city initiative between local Sofia companies and Invest Sofia aimed at free-of-charge integrated services to investors in Sofia. The partnership was agreed upon by signing a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) and Deloitte. The document was signed by Sylvia Peneva – Managing partner of Deloitte Bulgaria during an official meeting.
Deloitte was founded in London in 1845. The international company has been present in Bulgaria since 1992. The company provides audit services, tax and legal advice, technology solutions, risk management services, cyber security consulting, etc.
Under the signed Agreement, Deloitte’s team in Bulgaria will provide entrepreneurs exploring Sofia as a next investment destination with initial advice on Grants and Incentives, Public Procurement, State Aid, Global Mobility Services, Corporate Tax, Indirect Tax, Accounting and Payroll, Legal Services.
Vitosha Venture Partners invested a total of €1 million in nine new companies, five of which are startups in a more advanced stage of development and t4 are part of the Vitosha ACCELERATE accelerator programme. Among the supported Sofia-based companies are the Nakantara platform for selling cars through auctions, which receives 100 thousand euros, the manufacturer of tin-lead and lead-free alloys SN Metals – with 200 thousand euros and the FinqUp fintech platform for individual investors supported with 50 thousand euros. Among the younger companies from Sofia that received funding are Diplom.id – a platform for electronic issuance and verification of educational diplomas and certificates, and the pet care platform PetStay.
Sofia-based EnduroSat raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Luxembourg-based investment firm Ceecat Capital. Existing investors such as German seed fund Freigeist Capital also participated in the round. The investment will enable EnduroSat to expand its operations and work on a wider range of satellite technologies. The company is now headquartered in Luxembourg and has core R&D operations in Sofia, Bulgaria. EnduroSat has new offices in Luxembourg, Berlin, Toulouse, Naples and Delaware, and has opened a new space centre in Sofia with 3,200 square metres of office space and 700 square metres of state-of-the-art space testing and component assembly laboratories. EnduroSat has seen 6 consecutive years of growth of over 200% year on year and now has a solid customer base in the US and EU. Since its launch in 2018, the company has supported over 200 customers and delivered over 2500 satellite modules that fly in orbit on satellites to customers around the world.
Another Sofia-based aerospace technology company, Dronamics, announced the successful completion of the first flight of its Black Swan cargo aircraft from Balchik Airport in Bulgaria. Dronamics is the world’s first drone cargo airline and has made it its mission to make cargo deliveries affordable and possible within a day. The cargo drone was remotely controlled from a Dronamics ground control station. The successful flight test validates the company’s licensed cargo drone technology for commercial flights in Europe, which will begin later this year and serve industries such as e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, spare parts and short shelf-life goods.
The Sofia-based gaming startup Augment, has announced a joint project with Riot Games, the world’s largest game publisher and creator of League of Legends. Augment’s data analytics platform will be used in
Joanna Dragneva, Ph.D. Chief Expert at the Investment Analysis Department of Invest Sofia, took part in the panel discussions on the development of municipal policies that support innovation, digital transition, youth employment, entrepreneurship, and sustainable urban development. The discussion was held under the Horizon 2020-funded Territorial Development through Responsible Science and Innovation Project – RRI-LEADERS. During the discussions, Dragneva, Ph.D. presented the activities of Invest Sofia in support of startup companies and young entrepreneurs, as well as the Agency’s activities that aim to help foreign citizens who want to set up in Sofia. The RRI-LEADERS project aims to support the local governments in four European territories – Sofia, Bulgaria, Talville – Switzerland, Sadabel – Spain, and West Macedonia in Greece. Joanna Dragneva Ph.D took part in the discussion at the invitation of Sofia Development Association which is leading the implementation of the project.
More than 1000 young people visited the largest career forum Bulgaria Wants You: Sofia: Career and Life- Why Bulgaria? to investigate career opportunities in Bulgaria. Invest Sofia was an official institutional partner of the event that was held on June 11 – 12 in the capital.
More than 80 companies from different business sectors took part. Our team also presented the Agency’s activities and success cases of work on various projects in Sofia Municipality, as well as projects of cooperation with other Bulgarian municipalities.
The Bulgaria Wants You event was officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Gabriel. A welcome speech was also given by the Chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev.
The idea behind the forum initiated by Ivan Hristov and Andrey Arnaudov is to motivate the attendees to start and develop their career path in Bulgaria by presenting different career opportunities that companies in Bulgaria can offer.
“My answer to the question Career and life – why in Bulgaria? has three aspects. First of all – the key role of talent in innovation in Bulgaria. Second, the type of innovation we should focus on. And third, how to make Bulgaria one of the most dynamic innovation ecosystems in South East Europe. I think it is important to make Bulgaria attractive for talent to choose and develop their careers here. No doubt, the role of education is crucial,” Gabriel said.
During the forum, the discussion Demography Has No Price was held, attended by policy-makers, businesses, state institutions, employers’ organisations, trade chambers, and experts. The participants discussed specific policies aimed at overcoming the negative demographic trends in the country.
“There is a job in Bulgaria for everyone who hesitates whether they will find a job in their homeland after obtaining a diploma abroad,” said the chairman of the Sofia Municipal Council Georgi Georgiev. He told about his personal experience after graduating in London and gave examples of career development opportunities in Sofia-based companies.
The music producer Stanislava Armutlieva, actor Kalin Sirmenov, interior designer Alex Kovachev, Stoyan Minev from Lidl Bulgaria, Nikolay Dragiev from DXC Technology, Diana Kostova from Kaufland Bulgaria, Konstantin Kirov from ProCredit bank and entrepreneur Daniel Bachovsky also attended the event. This year the forum was held under the patronage of the Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliana Iotova.
A record 14,000 attendees from 96 countries visited this year’s VIENNAUP’23 conference in Austria. Europe’s leading event for investment and entrepreneurship took place from 30 May to 7 June and focused on social entrepreneurship, sustainability, creative industries, female business leaders and responsible technology development with over 50 individual thematic events at 27 locations in the Austrian capital.
Part of the event were Invest Sofia’s experts from the Investment Analysis Department, Ioanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin. They took part in the panels and startup pitches during the Mobility in Action event, which took place at the Open Innovation Factory – the newly created space by the Austrian Federal Railways for co-innovation in the field of urban mobility. Ioanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin also participated in Salon Future – the platform for city representatives, startup ecosystem builders and organizations who are dedicated to building and supporting startup ecosystems in their cities. Visitors to the event had the opportunity to participate in panel discussions and networking sessions focused on topics such as building entrepreneurial communities, attracting international startups to their cities, and implementing policies that support the growth of SMEs and newly established companies.
During VIENNAUP’23, the Invest Sofia team met with representatives from the investment agencies from Austria, Poland, Hungary and Germany to talk about similarities and differences in their activities, the difficulties they encounter, and working practices. Joanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin also talked with business representatives from Japan, Italy, Israel, Austria, Hungary and Turkey.
The ViennaUP festival is a key event for the startup community not only in Austria but also for the European ecosystem. The event traditionally hosts a vast variety of thematic individual events organized by partnering companies and organisations. Investors, technology experts, people from the creative industries, policy-makers and city experts work together on latest cases and look for the best solutions. Alongside Austrian and European startups, companies from the US, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, African countries, Australia and Malaysia were part of the festival this year.
Invest Sofia took part in the international forum Sustainable Circular Economy – Best Practices, which took place today at the Balkan Palace Hotel in Sofia. The event brought together experts from Bulgaria and Europe in a conversation about the prerequisites and the situation in Bulgaria for the transition to a circular economy.
The forum was organized by the Bulgarian Recovery and Recycling Association (BORA) and the Federal Association of German Waste Management, Water and Circulation Management, as well as in cooperation with the Sofia Municipality and the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
At the invitation of the organizers, the CEO of Invest Sofia, Ph.D. Maria Hristova, attended the conference and joined the discussions about the challenges that the Bulgarian business faces in reducing waste, better resource efficiency and funding needed.
The international event started with opening speeches by the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, Amb. Mr. Irene Maria Planck, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bulgaria, Mr. Peter Kurth, President of the Federal Association of the German Waste, Water and Raw Materials Management Industry, and Mr. Tim Kurth, President of the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and CEO of Aurubis Bulgaria.
During the event companies from the Federal Republic of Germany presented their best practices and sustainable business models, as well as examples of innovative approaches in the circular economy.
The Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with M2C – the largest Czech company with international activities in integrated building management and building technologies. Under the signed agreement, M2C will become part of our city initiative for integrated assistance to investors in the city – Sofia IS.
The signing took place at an official meeting between Invest Sofia’s CEO Ph.D. Maria Hristova and Daniel Tonkov, Bulgaria Country Manager of the Czech company.
M2C operates in 12 Central and Eastern European countries and started operations in Bulgaria in 2011. The company is constantly expanding its portfolio of services on our market and is currently a partner for comprehensive property management of buildings and production sites, including integrated facilities management services for security, cleaning, technical maintenance, green space maintenance, technology solutions for cost, time and energy savings, etc. The company works with shopping malls, office buildings, logistics and industrial complexes, automotive plants, etc.
M2C’s technology division helps companies optimize costs and increase efficiency through automation and technology innovation in building management. Remote monitoring, data processing, advanced analytics and AI are used to maximize savings and optimization.
As part of Sofia IS – Invest Sofia’s joint initiative with the city’s local businesses for the provision of a full range of free-of-charge consultancy to new investors in the capital, the Czech company’s team is committed to providing one of the following pro bono services upon request:
The Sofia Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Bullsoft Ltd. The Sofia-based company will assist the Agency with the provision of free services for inquiries from investors about business opportunities in the city.
The Memorandum for Cooperation was signed at a meeting between Invest Sofia’s CEO Ph.D. Maria Hristova and Ivelina Borisova, CEO at Bullsoft Ltd.
The company provides innovative and reliable outsourced IT services in response to the rapidly evolving digital world. Bullsoft Ltd. is a member of the British-Bulgarian Business Association and the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The entreprise’ expertise includes data recovery and backup of information systems, documents and files, digitisation of document archives protected by Evrotrust CEP, information security and meeting the requirements of GDPR and the new NIS2 directive for cyber and network security, business analysis for European project applications, etc.
The company will assist us with investment inquiries by providing the following pro-bono services:
– GAP analysis and assessment of the organization’s current level of compliance with regulatory requirements in the areas of data protection, information and cyber security such as GDPR, NIS2 and ISO2 7001:2013;
– Initial consultation on European grant funding and an assessment of the capacity.
Flanders Investment & Trade – the trade office of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium in Bulgaria, is organizing a trade mission to Bulgaria for multi-sectoral bilateral business meetings with Belgian companies from the Flanders region of the Kingdom of Belgium. The event will be hosted by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and will take place between May 31 and June 1, 2023, at the “Da Vinci 1&2” hall, “Grand Hotel Millennium” in Sofia.
On behalf of the organizers, we kindly invite companies based in Sofia to participate in the meetings as an opportunity for new partnerships and international business expansion.
On both days of the event, individual meetings between Flemish and Bulgarian companies are planned, with plenty of opportunities for networking and creating contacts. The profiles of registered companies that will be present from the Belgian side are published on the Flanders Investment & Trade website here.
Companies from Sofia and Bulgaria that wish to participate in the meetings should register no later than May 10, 2023, via the registration form here.
On the initiative of the Center for Sustainable Communities Development and the Bulgarian School of Politics, the team of Invest Sofia presented the Jobs in Sofia platform to the newly formed Refugee Advocacy Board. Our Senior Experts from the Investment Analysis Department, Joanna Dragneva and Georgi Brezin, met with refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Kuwait and gave guidance on the opportunities the website offers to people who have sought asylum in our country.
On Jobs in Sofia, any foreign national who wants to establish their daily life in Sofia and Bulgaria can search for a job by creating a professional profile and apply for vacancies that Invest Sofia’s business partners publish on the platform. The website allows candidates to have their own profile, which is accessible to employers at any time. The website is available in Ukrainian, Russian, English and Bulgarian and was created by the Sofia Municipality and Invest Sofia in the first days after the war in Ukraine to help the refugees. To update the platform, Invest Sofia not only worked with companies in Sofia, but also collaborated with other major municipalities in Bulgaria.
The formation of the Refugee Board in Bulgaria is part of the project “Partnership for Sustainable Refugee Inclusion”, implemented by the Center for Sustainable Community Development and the Bulgarian School of Politics with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund in Bulgaria. Its members have already been trained in three modules and are currently implementing meetings with representatives of different institutions to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to enable their integration, social participation and be able to provide assistance to other refugees in Bulgaria.
The feedback we received during the meeting was that the platform is both interesting and useful and although it was launched in connection with the refugee flow from Ukraine, it can be further developed and adapted to provide opportunities for asylum seekers from other countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Kuwait, etc.
The Speed Match International Networking Event 2023 to be held on 24-25 May 2023. The event will focus on the aviation, rail and automotive sectors and all services and suppliers in the field. Large, small and medium-sized enterprises, chambers, clusters, investors, public institutions and associations will join the B2B event – a great platform to establish business and technological partnerships with pre-scheduled 1-1 meetings. Companies from nearly 30 countries have already registered. The event is free to participate. You can publish information about your products and services and schedule one-on-one meetings with partners on the event site here: https://speedmatch2023.b2match.io/
The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a co-organizer of the Forward Green (FG Expo) circular economy event. The forum will take place between June 8-10 in Thessaloniki and is aimed at companies, agencies, organizations active in adopting modern practices in the use of raw materials, construction materials, technology, energy, recycling and packaging and innovative solutions with a positive impact on the environment and increasing resilience. To register for participation, see the BCCI’s announcement here.
The European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) has announced an open call to RE-CENTRE for financial support to small cross-sectoral partnerships that create or adopt new collaboration models incorporating digital and/or environmental innovations and/or technologies.
The project will support SMEs from the following three sectors: Traditional furniture and living sector, IT, and Green/Circular Economy. The vouchers for the projects that will be selected for support are worth 52,000 euros. Detailed information about the call is available on the ECCP website here. The deadline for submission of proposals is 27 June 2023.
Applications are now open for the 6-month EIT Food-funded TeamUp program at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The program aims to connect leading technologists with entrepreneurs, providing them with tools and support for joint projects in the food industry. The call is looking for experts in the food industry, as well as people with entrepreneurial skills to build a successful startup in the sector. TeamUp includes team-matching process between industry professionals and entrepreneurs, training sessions and expert support, €2000 per team to develop their idea and business model. The best projects will have the chance to raise an investment from EIT Food of up to €40,000. Check out how to apply on the initiative’s website here.
On May 17 and 18, the twelfth edition of Sarajevo Business Forum – an annual economic and business conference organized by Bosna Bank International (BBI) and partners – was held in Bosta and Herzegovina. Again, the event brings together business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and other stakeholders from the Balkans, Europe, the Middle East and beyond. The forum is a prestigious and recognizable platform for business networking, researching investment destinations and business opportunities in the countries of South-Eastern Europe.
This year, part of the Agenda were four large discussion panels. The CEO of Invest Sofia, Ph.D. Maria Hristova joined the panel Successful Investment Stories of the Region to share real case studies for companies in Sofia and Bulgaria, their expansion over the years and subsequent investments that show their long-term intentions for business in our capital. Maria Hristova also presented instruments and incentives that Sofia Municipality and Invest Sofia use to attract investments in priority sectors.
The session started with an introductory speech by Martin Vickers MP, Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to the Western Balkans, UK Government, Department for Business and Trade. The discussion was moderated by Ms. Nina Pobrić, Head of the Investment Promotion Department, Foreign Investment Promotion Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FIPA). Along with Maria Hristova, in the panel took part Mr. Branimir Muidža – General Director/ President, Foreign Investor Council (FIC), Mr. Paul Cronin – Managing Director & CEO at Adriatic Metals PLC, Mr. Anastasios Spanidis – President & CEO at G.P.A. ecosystem of companies, Mr. Mattias Sjoborg – Chairman and CEO at Plena Group.
The Sarajevo Business Forum focused also on the future of the financial industry, regional business cooperation, sustainable development and sustainability, innovation and boosting investment and growth in tourism. Over 1,500 local, regional and global institutions, ministries, investors and representatives of business communities from nearly 50 countries around the world participated in the forum this year. Part of the forum were also presentations of over 200 investment projects and business opportunities, more than 400 G2G organizations, and over 200 media representatives from BiH, countries of the region and the world.