👉 Women entrepreneurs constitute 30% of entrepreneurs in Bulgaria.
👉Bulgaria is among the EU leaders in proportion of women scientists and engineers, ranking fourth with 49.6%, just behind Lithuania, Portugal and Denmark.
We want more women entrepreneurs in our economy and we strive to motivate their endeavors in every economic field.
Happy Women’s Day, dear ladies! Be satisfied, inspired and successful!
The Sofia-based startup companies need as much help as strategic investors in the city. At Invest Sofia, we strongly believe in this. We pay special attention to our startups and focus our best efforts to help them scale. This couldn’t be possible without the partnership of the Bulgarian Startup Association – BESCO. We are truly grateful for their support in all our initiatives.
Skilled staff, green and friendly city: these are among the main advantages which attract new investors to Sofia.
Despite the decrease in investments in the domestic industry that we saw in 2021, we managed to attract the second largest Indian company. It has already set the start of its activities in Sofia and plans to create 300 new jobs in the automotive sector industry in the next twelve months, Dr. Maria Hristova, CEO at Invest Sofia, said in an interview for BTA. The city attracts investors mostly with its talent pool. For the successful implementation of its activities, the company was looking for experts in engineering, fluent in foreign languages but also liked the good connectivity of Sofia, the green urban areas, the lively cultural life in the city, and decided to set up here, in Sofia, Hristova added.
Find out more in the interview for BTA here:
Until March 22 public and private organizations can apply in the first set of calls for proposals under the Connecting Europe Facility Digital program. The planned budget is € 258 million in grants that aim to improve Europe’s digital connectivity infrastructures, in particular, Gigabit and 5G networks that contribute to Europe’s digital transformation.
There are 11 thematic axes open for legal entities, public or private organizations, including joint ventures established in EU countries. Participation is subject to certain security restrictions, as defined in each call text. More information can be found on the special pages here and here.
Startups and SMEs can submit applications for the European Commission’s EIC Accelerator. The accelerator will provide more than € 1 billion and will aim to help scale up European companies with the potential to make a big impact. More than half of the funding goes to innovation in every area leading to a breakthrough, and € 495 million are dedicated to supporting innovations related to the European Green Deal, as well as digital and health technologies.
Companies are required to provide a video presentation, pitch deck and complete a short questionnaire on their project and the team. Feedback on applications is received within four weeks after the submission, and companies that meet the basic criteria will receive an invitation and assistance in preparing the full set of documents for inclusion in the periodic admissions to the Accelerator Open and Accelerator Challenge programs. More information can be found here.
The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) is ready to support Bulgarian companies interested in participating in the fifth edition of the China International Import Expo / CIIE /, which will be held from 5 to 10 November 2022 in Shanghai. CIIE is among China’s main initiatives to expand market opportunities and promote global economic recovery. The advantages of participation are B2B meetings, the opportunity to present new products and services, access to various additional events throughout the year and more. Exhibitors from the following sectors are invited to participate: food and agriculture; automotive industry, information technology, consumer goods, medical equipment and health products, services. For more information and participation you can contact the BCCI at the contacts listed here.
Lifescience and health companies now have the opportunity to participate in bilateral business meetings during the BIONNALE 2022 hybrid event, which will be held on May
At Sofia Tech Park, the University of National and World Economy (UNWE), Bulgaria’s largest economics university, and the Petascale Supercomputer Bulgaria Consortium have signed an Agreement on Fundamental Research. The joint research aims to integrate the “Big Data System with Business Analysis and Artificial Intelligence – Hadoop” (HPDA), developed at UNWE, with the petascale computer in the technology park. Under the signed agreement of cooperation, the Consortium and UNWE plan to collaborate in projects related to smart agriculture and smart cities and buildings. Learn more at the university website here.
Sofia has marked a 44% increase in the number of tourists in 2021. According to the Unified Tourist Information System (UTIS) of the Ministry of Tourism, tourists spend an average of 2 days in the city, and there is a 50% increase in overnight stays. Travel has not recovered to its pre-crisis levels, but the ongoing trend is positive. Tourists in Sofia are mostly in the 30-44 age group. For a second consecutive year, Bulgarian visitors have a larger share than foreign ones – 52% and 48%, respectively, while the trend in overnight stays is the opposite – 45% vs. 55%. In 2021, Sofia was the preferred destination for tourists from Romania (90% more than in 2020). The number of tourists from Germany, Italy, France, Turkey, Israel, and the United States has also increased. According to a study by Sofia Municipality, over 70% of foreigners have visited Sofia for the first time, the rest did so more than twice and 74% of all respondents would return to Sofia, which indicates the tourists’ overall satisfaction after their stay in the city.
The Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (NAG) of Sofia Municipality has been awarded by the Institute of Public Administration for good practices and innovations in public services. NAG won the category “Technological solutions for open management and administrative services”. It was awarded for the mobile application NAG.Mobile, which provides tools for visualization of data from regulatory plans, cadastral maps, areas of construction boundaries, aerial photography, administrative maps, enacted administrative acts, and GPS location tools.
The first Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals has been operating in Sofia for a third consecutive month. The project is being run by experts from the Sofia Municipality, the Sofia Development Association, the Bulgarian Red Cross, and others. The bureau offers services in at least
On February 24, Innovation Explorer 2022 gathered over 600 guests from 12 countries. The annual innovation forum took place at Sofia Event Center. The event was hosted by Innovation Starter Agency in partnership with Capital.bg. At the invitation of the organizers, Invest Sofia was part of the event with the participation of the Chief Executive Officer Dr. Maria Hristova during the opening session. “The team of Invest Sofia aims to support local and foreign companies and help them set up and grow, here in Sofia. One of our missions is to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the city. We know that every startup team needs not only funding, although it is very important, but also expert assistance, project management support, and perhaps most of all it needs personal attitude”, Dr. Hristova said.
Innovation Explorer 2022 was held under the “Think Further!” motto that refers to John M. Keynes’s essay titled “Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren”. Keynotes and discussions this year focused on the different perspectives on the consequences and results that today’s societies bequeath to future generations. The forum addressed the advanced knowledge on innovation and the latest breakthroughs in technology. As part of the agenda of the event, early-stage companies in the field of climate action presented their innovative developments.
The technology sector has tripled growth in recent years and currently is the most rapidly developing sector in Sofia. The country shows promising signs to become leader in SEE due to several local strengths, including strong institutional support toward access to funding mechanisms and know-how. For example, in Bulgaria there are 17 private equity and venture capital funds, as well as incubator / accelerator programmes, covering all stages of the business life-cycle.
These are some of the key findings of a study by the global entrepreneurial network Endeavor, which examines the Sofia’s tech sector and snapshots the main challenges and opportunities for its development.
The study was funded by Invest Sofia, the Fund of Funds, the Bulgarian Development Bank and was supported by BESCO.
Tech entrepreneurs give an extremely positive assessment of the development of the sector in Sofia. Nearly 96% of them state that they have positive expectations for the future of the sector in the capital. Along with established fintech and outsourcing companies, Sofia has been chosen by companies that develop cloud and blockchain technologies. At the presentation of the study, Minister of Innovation and Growth Daniel Lorer said that there is no doubt that innovation is the most powerful engine for growth in the country. He stressed the importance of active and useful dialogue between institutions and business representatives.
“As a city with a strong focus in the tech industry, we are working to further help, support and maintain a friendly business environment. That is why we established the municipal investment agency Invest Sofia. Together with the team of the Agency, we have developed several instruments aimed to support both large companies and smaller start-up companies”, Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said.
“Recently, the Invest Sofia Agency presented its new service called “Green Card for administrative services”. Soon, we plan to launch yet another initiative for start-up companies, that aims to challenge them to find smart solutions related to urban issues. The results from such direct assignments will be useful not only for Sofia Municipality and the municipal companies but also for the young companies”, Invest Sofia CEO Dr. Maria Christova said.
According to Endeavor’s study, Bulgaria has a chance to position itself as a pillar of innovation in Southeast Europe. Its good positioning is due to several local strengths, including a strong ecosystem, well-functioning structures, and strong founder-to-founder connectivity. “A very important factor is the consistent policy of
The Bulgarian IoT company for remote consumption monitoring of water, gas, and electricity ThingsLog raised close to €1M in a seed round led by our fund manager Morningside Hill. The round was joined by the US-based ReconArt. The investment will be used for further product & technology development and marketing activities. ThingsLog service now has a mobile application in several languages - Bulgarian, English, Russian, Greek, German and Spanish. The company works with major local partners, including Sofiyska Voda AD and Telenor Telecom.
The financial instruments unit fi-compass at the European Investment Bank featured the story behind the Sofia-based company Nasekomo as a good example for the successful deployment of innovation and circular economy. The Bulgarian agrotech utilizes the incredible biological abilities of the larvae of black flies (the so-called Black Soldier fly) to turn organic waste into protein animal food. Two venture capital fund managers of the Fund of Funds – Morningside Hill and New Vision 3 have supported Nasekomo with resources under Operational Programme “Innovation and Competitiveness” 2014-2020. The investment supported Nasekomo to deploy its proprietary robotized insect rearing technology and move from a pilot- to a semi-industrial production line. Don’t miss out on the video!
The outsourcing sector in Sofia is expecting yet another global player – the Indian Tata Consultancy Service, which will open a shared services center in the city through its subsidiary Tata Consulting Company Bulgaria EOOD. The investor is part of the multinational conglomerate Tata Group, owner of Jaguar and Land Rover. The company plans to open 300 new IT jobs in the next three years, commented Invest Sofia’s CEO Dr. Maria Hristova for Economic.bg. The shared services unit in Sofia will cover a wide range of activities in the field of IT, including services and software development.
Evelix Bulgaria, the local subsidiary of the Swedish Ewellix, will continue to increase its production in Bulgaria. After production lines from Sweden, Switzerland and Germany were relocated to its plant in Sofia, Ewellix now plans to transfer products from its production unit in France, Capital newspaper reports. The company started operations in 2019 and already has a team of 160 people. Evelix Bulgaria manufactures electromechanical drives, lifting columns and linear drive systems for components in various industries. See more about the expanding production capacity of the plant near “Iliensko Shosse” in the publication here.
The Sofia-based company
The largest IT community in Bulgaria DEV.BG has launched a new project – a survey called “The Voice of IT”, that aims to hear the insights and ideas of at least 5,000 IT professionals and to outline the latest local trends that are shaping the industry. We invite all Sofia-based companies, IT professionals and active participants in the technology community to get involved and share their vision.
The initiative aims to bring out latest data and key trends for the benefit of all professionals, companies and organizations that are part of this industry of key importance for Sofia and the country. In order to gain as much insight from the active ecosystem players, DEV.BG has chosen to conduct the survey not by filling out a questionnaire, but by conducting short live online face-to-face meetings with anyone who is actively involved in the development of the IT sector in our country. Thus, the organizers want to map out the best route for the industry by hearing the voice of the people who participate on a daily basis in its life and development and to get vision and useful ideas that will support its future directly from the ecosystem representatives.
Participants can have their say on where is the Bulgarian IT sector going, is there a vision for the industry and what is it, what is needed to continue and strengthen the growth from outsourcing to high added-value products and services and Rn’D activities.
If you have at least one year of experience in the sector as a developer, QA, DevOps, SysAdmin, Architect, Team Lead, Project manager, Data Scientist or another role closely related to technology, spare some time and have your say in the study. The DEV.BG team has opened a calendar to allow anyone to schedule an online meeting at a convenient day and time. The meetings take place in Google Meet.
The DEV.BG platform is the largest IT community in Bulgaria. During the six years since its launch, more than 800 events have been held, completely free, from specialists to specialists in the sector, with nearly 55,000 attendees so far. DEV.BG has established itself as a major data source with information for the companies in the sector by maintaining detailed profiles for over 900 IT enterprises in Bulgaria. Part of the platform is also a job board section for open positions with over 5,500 job offers from companies, as
Sofia ranks sixth in the world in the 2021 City Water Optimization Index, developed by Economist Impact, part of The Economist Group. The news was announced by Sofiyska Voda AD. The Index examines how successfully today’s cities apply the necessary policies, what is the state of water infrastructure and whether measures are implemented to optimize the use of water resources so that each end-user has access to safe, affordable and reliable water.
The Index compares 51 cities around the world and covers 47 quantitative and qualitative indicators divided into three categories – reliability, accessibility and sustainability. The study reveals interesting insights on water usage, public mindset towards recycled water consumption, the correlation between wellbeing and water quality, and more.
Being 6th in the overall ranking, Sofia stands ahead of London, Copenhagen, and Calgary. The leader in the overall ranking is Los Angeles. In the subcategories, Sofia ranks 4th in the Reliability category and 7th in the Accessibility category. The city lags behind its peers in the Top 10 in the Sustainability category.
In the rankings by region, the capital of Bulgaria stands 2nd in Western and Eastern Europe and ahead of London, Copenhagen and Madrid. Lisbon hits the top position.
The Water Optimization Index aims to help local city governments that face various challenges but make progress by implementing smart local solutions and policies, and exchange good practices. The full text of the Index is available here –
Despite the crisis in 2020, Sofia’s economy maintains its competitive advantages. The transformation of the city’s economy will continue to be led by the development of digital services, as information and communication technologies have the prospect of becoming Sofia’s largest economic sector. The three leading sectors in terms of output of non-financial corporations in Sofia in 2021 are trade (21%), construction (19%), and information and communication technologies (15%). The data are from the Institute for Market Economics and are part of our annual report “Sofia Municipality: economic and investment profile”, prepared by the IME on behalf of Invest Sofia. The report is available on our website here.
A pilot project of Sofia Municipality’s “Sandbox for Innovation” initiative was allowed implementation beyond its initial scope. The Kanari air quality monitoring system, piloted in the 76th Kindergarten “Sarnichka”, has attracted the attention of Tryavna Municipality and has already been submitted for testing. Discussions are underway for implementing the system in the building fund for public services managed by Tryavna Municipality. In addition, Bulgaria’s largest mobile operator has expressed its interest in including the Kanari system in its ICT / IoT portfolio. Thus the project will be able to join other municipalities in the country. Requests for testing and implementation of the system have also been made from public and private hospitals. Find out more about the project.
Medical University – Sofia ranks first among Bulgarian universities in the 13th edition of the Spanish research organization SCImago’s International Institutions Ranking. The 2021 ranking includes a total of 4126 universities, assessed by indicators such as active research, innovation, impact on society, and others. Medical University-Sofia ranks 513rd in the world in the overall ranking and is the best represented among Bulgarian universities. It is followed by Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, which is in 524th place. The list includes a total of 13 Bulgarian universities, five of which are in Sofia. Higher education institutions from Varna, Veliko Tarnovo, Ruse, Blagoevgrad, and Plovdiv are also included.
Sofia is 6th in the world and second in Europe in the 2021 City Water Optimization Index, Sofiiska Voda AD have announced in an official statement. The Index is developed by Economist Impact, part of The Economist Group, and covers 47 quantitative and qualitative indicators divided into three categories – reliability, accessibility and sustainability. In the overall ranking, Sofia comes 6th out of
With public resource, contributed by the Fund of Funds, and additional private capital, Vitosha Venture Partners Fund to invest in eight new companies. Seven of them are Sofia-based startups. The supported local projects are: Elka.Bg and its software that compares electricity suppliers, Dexicon and the platform for fast and cheap creation of mobile applications with no professional experience needed from the users, Noviotic and its probiotic products, Info Smart and the platform for subscription for content by experts in health, beauty and personal development and self improvment, Opto Smart Solutions – the mobile app for ophthalmologists, Softmedline and the platform connecting healthcare specialists with patients, and Black Sea Film – an innovative media production company for home entertainment and series. The investments range from BGN 176,000 to over BGN 1 million, which the startup companies will use for prototyping, laboratory activities, product development and marketing. The total value of the investments amounts to BGN 3.1 million, of which BGN3 million are public funds from the Fund of Funds under the Operational Program “Innovation and Competitiveness” 2014-2020. find here.
The Bulgaria and U.K. based online casino game developer Silverback Gaming becomes part of the American GAN Limited – a leading provider of SaaS solutions for online gaming and betting. Silverback Gaming develops casino games. It is headquartered in Sofia and has a second office in London. Among the studio’s proven titles are Aztec LuckTM and Mystery StacksTM, currently distributed across European regulated markets to more than 100 B2C operators of iGaming. Silverback is soon to launch four new titles. With the acquisition of the Sofia-based company, GAN aims to increase the number and variety of interactive slot games in its portfolio and reach more customers in the US and Europe.
LatticeFlow announced its plan to open an office in Sofia. The Zurich-based startup plans to hire a team of 50 experts in the next two years. LatticeFlow is a spin-off of ETH Zürich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), founded by two Bulgarian researchers. The company focuses on safe and secure artificial intelligence systems. LatticeFlow was founded in 2020 and has raised $ 2.8 million in fundingin 2021. LatticeFlow recently became one of the Top 3 AI startups in Switzerland. “We are excited to expand our engineering team to Sofia, a home of top tech talent offering an incredible opportunity for faster team growth,” the company said in a