The Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency was awarded the “Successful Project Management, Application of Best Practices and Investments” award by K&P Advertising. The award was presented to the CEO of the Agency, Ph.D. Maria Hristova, at an official event dedicated to the release of the “Sofia and Sofia Region – Business, Culture, Tourism” handbook.
The media company K&P Advertising is the publisher of the magazine “Destination Bulgaria”, the handbook “Sofia – Business, Culture, Nature, Tourism” and other publications. Invest Sofia is part of the latest bilingual edition of the book, featuring its mission, activities, and the services we provide to investors, including business analyses, industry-specific opportunities, local legal requirements, and assistance in legislative procedures, among others.
The addition will be distributed both as a print and web version at www.destinationbulgaria.bg and provides information about the history, culture, tourism, and attractions of Sofia and the Sofia Region, making it a detailed tourist guide. The handbook is distributed for free to companies and diplomatic representations, in municipal centers, as well as at international exhibitions and congresses.
During the official presentation of the publication, mayors of municipalities and districts, managers, and partners were also awarded in categories for their successful policies and application of good practices in the areas of business, culture, and tourism.
The University of National and World Economy (UNWE) hosted a student scientific conference on Contemporary Concepts for the Development of Smart Cities. The event was held on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Regional Development Department at UNWE, led by Assoc. Prof. Georgi Nikolov PhD. At the invitation of the University our CEO Maria Hristova Ph.D. took part in the discussions.
Yes, a smart city is one that “uses digital technologies to improve the quality of life of its citizens, enhance sustainability and increase the city’s economic competitiveness”. But as someone who works every day with businesses and people here and for the development of the city, I know how crucial active citizen participation is. We need ongoing discussion, awareness and public support for all the issues important to the city. Particularly important is the role of young people and their involvement in city issues. To be considered sustainable, a city must meet the needs of its current inhabitants without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Only in this way can we create cities that are not only smart and efficient, but also liveable, inclusive and sustainable., Maria Hristova said during the conference.
The scientific conference Contemporary Concepts for the Development of Smart Cities was held under the patronage of the Rector of the UNWE Dr Dimitar Dimitrov MD PhD and brought together students from different majors, university teachers, business experts and organizations whose activities contribute to the development of Sofia as a green and smart European entrepreneurial center.
The Sofia Municipality opened the applications for its annual “Academy for VISIONERS” – an initiative that supports smart solutions for the benefit of the community and innovative ideas for a cause of young people aged 15 to 29. Participants will work with mentors and renowned experts in four thematic areas – Culture and Art, Environmental Protection, Science and Innovation, and Animals at Risk. Part of the academy are training and practical sessions and support from ideation, through implementation, to assessment and reporting of the impact, as well as organizational and logistical support, assistance in promoting the projects, and more. The best ideas to be supported with funding of up to BGN 5,000. For more information and a registration link, please visit the website here.
The international agency S&P Global Ratings confirmed Sofia’s long-term credit rating – ‘BBB with a stable outlook. According to the analysis, the Sofia Municipality demonstrates stable economic indicators, which are better than the average for the country, a diversified local economy, and low unemployment, as well as good financial discipline. The stable long-term credit rating of the city gives the municipality the opportunity to obtain good financial conditions for funding large infrastructure projects necessary for the development of the city.
The sixth edition of the “My Green School, My Green Kindergarten” program has been launched. This year, nearly 50 institutions will take part in the initiative, and more than 600 trees will be planted by the children themselves. In Sofia this year, more than 4,000 trees will be planted on the sidewalks near streets and boulevards, as well as in parks, gardens, and green areas. The “New Forest” initiative is also underway. The forest planted a few years ago near the Suhodol landfill is growing, and last year the planting of a new forest near the village of Negovan with 86,000 saplings began. The Sofia Municipality is planning a third new forest near Novi Iskar.
After two years of negotiations between the Sofia Municipality and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the Sofia Zoo was approved to be the home of two black jaguars. The animals are part of the Association’s special program for priority species breeding in zoo settings and come from a national park in France. In 2018, the Sofia zoo expanded the cages of the big cats and created conditions for the
Five Sofia-based companies raised investments from the VC fund Vitosha Venture Partners. The startups are developing projects in areas such as sporting goods, food tech, agritech, marketing, and SaaS. The e-commerce software startup Dynamic pricing attracted 400,000 euros. The company will develop new functionalities in its platform. The vegan brand Brain Foods was supported with 250 thousand euros. The company plans to develop new products and expand to new markets. The digital marketplace for grain buyers and sellers Agriniser has been backed up with €200,000 to grow its team, improve the product, and enter new markets. The last two companies – Fly the Earth for professional sports goods and the content marketing platform youBhappy received an investment of 50,000 euros each.
The German company Festo is to invest new BGN 30 million in its unit in Sofia. The funds will be used for the reconstruction and expansion of the production areas. The company will invest another BGN 20 million in new equipment. Thus, Festo will expand its electronics production capacity and start the production of new, more complex products. In Bulgaria, the company produces over 1000 items and continuously invests in expanding its activities in the country. Currently, Festo has a team of over 1,300 people and, in addition to the enterprise in Sofia, it has a unit in the city of Smolyan.
The Sofia-based company Ampeco, which develops a cloud-based software platform for managing charging stations for electric cars, has attracted $16 million in funding. The investment comes from US-based fund BMW I Ventures, as well as from Launchub Ventures, Cavalry Ventures, and angel investors. Ampeco will expand its engineering and product solutions team and plans to open offices in North America, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. The company has gained market positions in Europe and has taken its first steps in North America. It operates in over 40 markets with 62,000 charging points that are used by operators, energy companies, gas stations, telecoms, businesses with large electric car fleets, and more.
The American company AI company LіvePerson announced that it is opening an office in Sofia with a plan to form a team of 130 people by the end of the year. LіvеРеrѕоn was founded in 1995 in the USA and today is a billion-dollar company with offices in Japan, Tokyo, London, and Singapore. The launch of a 24-hour product support center in Sofia
Between March 27 and April 1, Sofia hosted the pilot edition of the Accelerator Program for Startups in the Field of Agriculture between China and the CEE Countries. Invest Sofia was an institutional partner of the event and at the invitation of the organizers from the Center for the Promotion of Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture between China and the CEE Countries the Chief Executive Director, Ph.D. Maria Hristova joined as a member of the jury that voted for the winners of the accelerator.
42 companies from 11 countries applied for the program, and 20 startups hit the final competition on April 1 to present their innovative solutions in agriculture in Sofia Tech Park to the jury members, investors, representatives of academia and business, experts, media, and diplomats from CEE and China. The projects covered areas such as beekeeping, food waste reduction, farmer-to-end-user chain solutions, soil enrichment for vineyards, biodegradable packaging, air quality control and energy efficiency of buildings, plant protection technologies, and controlled release of bioactive components, smart irrigation systems, AI and IoT application in agriculture and much more.
For the accelerator program, Sofia welcomed startup founders from China, Hungary, Greece, and other CEE countries. At the finals in Sofia Tech Park, the Hungarian startup bioreaction.net won third place and €10,000 in funding. Second place and a €15,000 prize went to the Greek startup farm-b.com and their smart platform for visualization and analyses of agro-data for production flow, crop status, machinery routine, meteo data, and many more. We are glad that the big winner of 1st place and a prize of 25,000 euros went to a company based in Sofia. This is the biodegradable laminate packaging startup LAM’ON. A few days ago, the company received yet another prestigious award – for the most innovative startup during the Innovation Awards by the French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“We appreciate the exceptional and timely assistance regarding the pilot edition of the “Accelerator Program for Agricultural Startups between China and Central and Eastern European Countries”. Thank you for your support in this event, and we will be happy to continue our partnership in the future”, the Managing Director of the Center for the Promotion of Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture between China and the CEE Countries, Ph.D. Momchil Stanishev wrote in an official letter to Invest Sofia.
The final competition was broadcast live on YouTube. We invite everyone who
The CEO of Invest Sofia, Maria Hristova, Ph.D. took part in the opening ceremony of the 22nd edition of the largest career event in the country. The National Career Days started in Sofia on April 1 and will take place in 6 cities in the country up until April 11.
The forum gathers leading employers, their open positions, and career opportunities. Nearly 100 companies have registered for this year’s edition. In partnership with BESCO and AIBEST, the forum also sets up a Startup zone with a focus on the startup ecosystem in the country and the opportunities for developing and attracting young entrepreneurs. In a dedicated area, visitors will meet representatives of some of the most interesting and fast-growing young companies. The organizer of the event is the HR services company JobTiger. To date, more than 53,000 people have started their career path from the National Career Days.
Find out more information about the event here: https://careerdays.bg/bg/national-careerdays
The Bulgarian Investment Agency (BIA) presented the seventeenth Investor of the Year awards. At the invitation of BIA, Maria Hristova Ph.D., CEO at Invest Sofia, and Viktor Gusev, Head of the Investment Analysis Department, joined the official award ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Sofia.
The competition once again featured the most significant investment projects implemented in Bulgaria in 2022. The applications were assessed according to a number of criteria, such as the volume of the investment, the number of new jobs created, the region where a new production unit was created or an existing enterprise was expanded, etc. The nominations of over 50 Bulgarian companies from all sectors of the economy were considered.
Three Sofia-based companies grabbed Investor of the Year 2022 awards. Robert Bosch got the award for Investment in Human Capital. The Green Investment prize went to the Sofia-based company for the production of armored vehicles International Armored Group. In the Best Startup category, the award was presented to Ampeco – the Sofia software company that develops a platform for charging stations for e-vehicles.
Ruse-based Vitte Automotive Bulgaria received the award for Investment in Business Expansion. In the category Investment in Innovative Business won Intuitive Surgical Bulgaria – the Bulgarian entity of the Swiss company for medical equipment Intuitive Surgical Sarl. Three companies were awarded in the Sustainable Business category – Carlsberg Bulgaria, Libher Hausgerete Maritsa, and Teclas Bulgaria. This year the Burgas Municipality won the award in the category “Municipality in Bulgaria with the most investments for 2022.
For the first time in the annual BIA awards, awards for Awakener and National Cause were presented. In the Awakener category, the prize received Prof. Martin Vechev from the INSAIT Institute – the first institute in Eastern Europe for computer science, artificial intelligence, and technology, structured as a special unit at SU “St. Kliment Ohridski” in partnership with the two largest tech universities of Switzerland – ETH Zurich and EPFL. In the National Cause category, the award went to Andrey Arnaudov, co-founder of Bulgaria Wants You initiative.
Alcomet – Shumen became Investor of the Year for 2022. The award was presented by President Rumen Radev.
The Sofia Municipal Privatization & Investment Agency (Invest Sofia) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the investment consulting and management company Intrac Ltd. Our new partners will assist us in providing services to investors in the city, including free initial consultations on various topics from their portfolio of services.
Intrac is involved in the development of projects under EU and other international grant programmes, private investment project preparation and management, business planning, financial and investment consulting, privatization of state companies, valuation, M&A, development of marketing plans, strategic advice, investors support, joint ventures, development of financial institutions, support to export-oriented businesses.
Intrac Ltd. is a member of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and BCCI Investment Council.
The Agreement was signed at a meeting between Vladimir Tomov, Managing Director at Intrac and Maria Hristova CEO of Invest Sofia.
The Central Mineral Bath in Bankya got recognition from the Annual Construction Awards 2022. The building was awarded in the category “Investor in Recreation and Sports Facility 2022” and was presented during a Forum REAL – the largest event for construction, real estate, and investments in the sector. The public bath in Bamkya opened its doors to visitors in September 2022 after several years of restoration activities. It was built in 1911 during the reign of King Ferdinand and designed by the Bavarian architect professor Karl Hoheder, a leading specialist in the design of public SPAs throughout Europe at that time. Currently, the building is temporarily managed by the municipal enterprise “Sofiyski imoti” AD and welcomes visitors to the renewed relaxation areas, thermal zones, a kids pool with mineral water, steam, and salt baths.
Museiko Children’s Museum was donated by America for Bulgaria Foundation to the Sofia Municipality. Thus, the science museum becomes a municipal property. “Muzeiko” is the largest science center for children in Eastern Europe with over 130 interactive games, science studios, and art workshops on an area of 2,000 square meters. Every month, the museum welcomes hundreds of children eager to enjoy the museum’s interactive exhibitions. Sofia municipality is planning to launch Robotics classes for children from 1st to 4th grades. The classes will start in September this year.
Sofia Tech Park and the Regional History Museum in Sofia announced a joint project for the renovation of the “Triangular Tower of Serdika”. The Virtual Reality Laboratory in the Technology Park is working on creating a 3D image and interactive virtual reality for VR Headset, which will demonstrate the defense facility, the fortress wall, and the northern gate of the ancient city. To implement the project, the hall was equipped with VR Headset, TV screens, laser multimedia projector, photo frames, etc. The VR project will be implemented and made available for visitors to the museum by the end of the year.
This year, the extension of the third line of the Sofia metro to Slatina, the Arena Sofia hall, Sofia Tech Park and the St. Anna Hospital will begin. Thus, 9 new kilometers of the subway will be gradually built. Three kilometers passing through the Poduyane area are currently under construction. A project for the expansion of the western part of Line 1 – from the Lyulin metro station to Sofia Ring Road is in
Three companies based in Sofia won statuettes from the annual BAIT Awards 2022. These are Foodobox – the app that reduces food waste from restaurants and shops, MYX and its platform solutions for advanced 3D visualizations, analytics, and digital twins, and the producer of decorative plants Pro Plants for the GRAS system that automates greenhouses according to real-time weather conditions. The companies have been awarded in the categories as follows: StartUp company, Successful Bulgarian ICT product/service, and Successful ICT project for the benefit of the Bulgarian economy.
The Sofia Higher School of Telecommunications and Posts received the Education Award for its interdisciplinary undergraduate programs in Telemedicine, Software Design in Medicine, and Communication Systems for the Organization of Air Transport.
The Special Award, which is traditionally presented by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, went to Prof. Martin Vechev, conceptual architect at the Institute for Computer Sciences, Artificial Intelligence and Technologies in Sofia (INSAIT). The award is given for outstanding contributions to the development of ICT in Bulgaria. The Institute was established at the beginning of 2022 in partnership with two of the leading tech universities in the world – the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the Polytechnic University of Lausanne ( EPFL). The organization is part of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and is the first institute in Eastern Europe for computer sciences, artificial intelligence, and technologies, established as a joint investment project of the state government and the local IT business. A year after its inauguration, INSAIT continues to pursue its ambition to become one of the leading research and educational centers in the world and to turn Bulgaria into a world destination for R&D and innovation.
Find out more about BAIT 2022 winners, including those in the categories Youth Award, Journalism Award and Public Administration from the Association’s website here.
At the invitation of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), our team took part in a B2B online event with companies from Pakistan. Victor Gusev, Head of the “Investment Analysis” department, presented the investment profile, priority industries, and the business environment in Sofia during the meetings organized by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the city of Sialkot, Pakistan and the Embassy of Bulgaria in Pakistan.
During the event, the latest information on the economic relations between the two countries was presented. The organisers presented the areas with the greatest potential for trade and investment between our countries.
The city of Sialkot is known as the export hub of Pakistan. It focuses on the production of globally distributed sports goods (including the soccer balls for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar), sports accessories, leather goods, medical equipment (surgical, dental), and clothing (including protective, military uniforms, and more). The main export markets for Sialkot are the USA and many European countries, with local companies looking for opportunities to expand destinations.
Bulgarian companies and entrepreneurs exploring the Pakistani market joined the event to discuss business opportunities with local institutions, companies, and future partners.
If you are interested in cooperation with companies from Sialkot and Pakistan or you are exploring opportunities in the South Asian country, you can contact our team for assistance or reach out to the Directorate of International Cooperation and International Organizations at BCCI by phone on 02 8117 489 or by email at email@example.com.