A new US-Bulgarian Chamber will launch in January 2020 promoting and enhancing economic relations between the two countries. The newly formed chamber, founded by Eliz Nestorov & Plamen Krastev, will take the lead in providing comprehensive resources for the US-Bulgarian business community, attracting business investors and making each country more visible, popular and recognized in the other country’s business environment.
“Our goal is to collaborate and be a bridge for US companies with interests and business in Bulgaria, Bulgarian companies present on the American market, and individuals having stake in economic relations between the two countries,” said Eliz Nestorov. She also added that “The number one reason people join chambers of commerce is to get business and to do business and we will provide the necessary tools to make that happen”.
The US-Bulgarian Chamber in America is already registered as a membership organization and has spoken with other bilateral business groups.
The US-Bulgarian Chamber in America will unveil on Friday, January 24th, 2020 at the Embassy of Bulgaria, located at 1621 22nd St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008.
For more information, please contact Eliz Nestorov, President/CEO at US-Bulgarian Chamber in America.
M: (212)600-7679 / (202) 600-7679
Over 30,000 professionals are employed in the sector, 35% of them are women
BASSCOM – the Bulgarian Association of Software Companies announced the results of its annual report on the state of the software sector in Bulgaria – Barometer. The analysis, prepared with the assistance of CBN Pannoff, Stoycheff & Co., is based on data gathered from nearly 4,100 companies and covers 2017, 2018, and a forecast for 2019.
According to the study, in 2018 the workplaces have increased by 2,400 or 9%. Compared to 2013 the increase in workplaces has reached 88%. According to the 2019 forecast, the growth will continue and will reach 10%, with an overall number of employees in the sector reaching 33,000.
Meanwhile, the number of companies with 250+ employees has increased by 90% compared to 2011. The number of experts employed in these companies had increased by 300%.
According to the data, in 2018 the revenue in the software sector had a record growth with close to BGN 600 million or 23%, surpassing the BGN 3 billion mark, making the total share of the GDP 2.9%. This is the highest growth in the history of the software industry. The main contributors to this are the companies operating predominantly in foreign markets. Meanwhile, domestic sales continue to see significantly lower growth, with no signs of this trend changing soon.
“In recent years the sector has been on the rise, and the dynamics of this development if becoming more and more evident. If it took 21 years to reach а total revenue of BGN 1 billion, it took only for years to reach BGN 2 billion. Reaching BGN 3 billion barely took 2 years. At the same time, the software industry is the number one employer in terms of employee compensation and offers an average of 3.5 times higher salaries than the national average. Adjusted for the standard of living, the average wage is far above that in the UK, and exceeds that in Germany”, said Dobroslav Dimitrov, Chairman of the Managing Board, BASSCOM.
The Bulgarian software industry is very attractive to foreign investors. Currently, over 50 offices of global software companies are operating in the country. The revenue from export oriented intellectual products has reached BGN 2.5 billion in 2018, a result only the software industry can claim.
According to CBN, in 2018, one workplace in the software sector in Bulgaria generated over BGN
GLOBAL TECH SUMMIT 2019
10-12.12.2019, National Palace of Culture
Global Tech Summit (GTS) provides software engineers, managers and start-ups with the latest trends in the technological world so they can stay ahead of the curve.
The Summit is composed of co-events and workshops including the international software development conferences Java2Days, CodeMonsters and AI & Smart_Tech along with the business forums Technology4Business and BusinessBooster.
GTS 2019 will host the Bulgarian regional competition for Startup World Cup. Startup World Cup is a global conference and competition with the goal of bridging startup ecosystems worldwide. It is organized by Pegasus Tech Ventures, a Silicon Valley-based multinational VC firm. As part of the program, Startup World Cup Bulgaria Regional judges will attend GTS and select a winner from the GTS Top 15, who represents Bulgaria at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale in San Francisco in May.
Startups interested in global exposure, mentorship from global investors, and significant prize money are encouraged to apply for the Bulgarian Startup World Cup regional competitions.
The final pitches will take place in Sofia on December 10 in the National Palace of Culture as a part of Global Tech Summit.
The application form will be open until the end of December 6, 2019. All startups can apply directly on the website Startup World Cup Sofia or by email at email@example.com.
CO-CHRISTMAS PARTY BY PUZL COWORKING & PARTNERS
18.12.2019, Club ЕХЕ
A Christmas party not to be missed!
The 4th edition of the CoChristmas party by Puzl CowOrKing & Partners invites friends and the good bunch of Sofia IT ecosystem on Wednesday, 18th of December to a next-gen office Christmas jamboree.
You can expect some 600+ like minded people. The CoChristmass event is coorganised by Association of the Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs – ABLE, BESCO – The Bulgarian Startup Association, BVCA – Bulgarian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, Bulgarian Fintech Association and Hobo.
The entrance is free, but pre-registration is mandatory. Follow the link to register.
The Enterprise Europe Network at BCCI invite you to participate in a B2B brokerage event within the largest mobile industry exhibition.
The MWC Brokerage Event 2020 is the best way to offer or find products, services or technologies and meet potential business partners from around the world. The meetings will take place on February 25, 26 and 27.
Why attend the bilateral business meetings within MWC 2020?
– an opportunity to find international partners and new clients;
– get familiar with the latest trends in the ICT sector;
– personalised appointments schedule;
– new international business contacts with investors, corporations, clusters, startups and research centres.
In addition, for the second year in a row, the organisers offer an opportunity for a FREE 4-day pass available at a first-come first-served basis. Registration is open until 10.12.2019 at https://mwc2020.b2match.io/
The regular price of the pass is €799, but the organisers will provide 25 passes for ICT companies, with a maximum of five participants per country (maximum of one representative per company).
How to get involved:
There is also a special program for corporations investing in new technologies.
Companies that participate in the brokerage event will receive special support through the program CORPORATES BUYING OR INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY to select startups/ SMEs to meet, as well as a free 4-day pass.
In 2019, 27 corporations were involved, including: IBM, L’Oréal, Zurich Insurance, Xiaomi, Nissan and others. You can view their profiles here. You can also look at the profiles of the startup companies to find out which businesses you may encounter during the event.
For startups, the organisers offer participation in the 4YFN Startup event
The event helps connect startup companies, investors and entrepreneurs. The 4YFN Startup event pass is priced at €239 (excluding VAT), and the ticket is valid for free entry on the last day of Mobile World Congress and participation in the b2b meetings on February 27th.
For questions, registration assistance, or need for additional information, please contact:
Enterprise Europe Network
Bulgarian Chamber of
The fifth afforestation season of the New Forest of Sofia campaign has ended. In this afforestation campaign, the forest grew by another 50 acres with the help of nearly 1 000 volunteers.
The New Forest of Sofia is part of the Think Clean initiative.
In just four afforestation seasons, nearly 60 000 trees were planted in the New Forest of Sofia with the participation of 6 500 volunteers and 50 companies. The trees, as well as the trees and supplies, were provided by Sofia Municipality. A special bus provided access to the location.
The Green Filter of Sofia is located in Suhodol neighbourhood, close to the reclaimed landfill. The goal is to plant 225 acres of broad-leaved forest with 125 000 trees within the next several years.
Seven well-known architectural studios from Italy, France, Russia and Bulgaria entered the second stage of the international competition of Sofia Municipality for the reconstruction of St. Nedelya Square along with an exhibit of the archaeological site discovered.
The jury for the final selection of the contractor includes the chief architects of Moscow and Warsaw, architects from Rotterdam, Athens, Tirana, as well as representatives of the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria, the Union of Architects, the Regional Museum of History – Sofia, the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy Construction, and others.
Sofia Municipality will commission the author of the winning project with the development of projects for the renovation of St. Nedelya Square.
KvARTal, the area between Dondukov, Maria Louisa, Levski and Slivnitsa boulevards, will host a series of Christmas exhibitions, bazaars, workshops, concerts and food tastings in the period between December 13 and 15. Check out the event page for more information.
Polish GTC Group celebrated the opening of the first building of its new investment in Sofia – the business complex Advance Business Center. The center is located at the entrance of Business Park Sofia in the Mladost neighbourhood.
The investment totals €60 million. The newly opened office building has an area of 33 500 sq m with nine floors of office space, a ground floor and three underground levels with 284 parking spaces. The building has a capacity of 5 000 working places and already houses two companies in the IT sector – global provider of outsourcing services Соnсеntrіх, and Modis – global leader in advanced IT, engineering, and healthcare solutions.
The second building
Innovation Accelerator Bulgaria is collecting ideas to support with an investment. Startups in the early stages of development will be supported with between € 25 000 and € 50 000 and the more advanced – with € 50 000 to € 1 million.
This it the second fund, part of the Fund of Funds’ program aiming to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria. He Fund is looking for ideas in the healthcare, light industry, transportation and logistics sectors, digital projects, as well as developments in the media and corporate sectors.
All requirements and a link to the application form can be found on the fund’s website here.
The Executive Agency for Promotion of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises is organising the participation of Bulgarian companies in the International Exhibition for Innovation and Technology in Education BETT 2020, which will take place on January 22-25, 2020 in London.
The agency covers the bulk of costs for rent of exhibition space, equipment and furniture, registration, fees, services, supplies and more.
For more information, documents and contacts for assistance, see the information here.
In 2019, over 800 exhibitors and 300 presenters participated in the exhibition, and more than 34,000 specialists from 146 countries with experience and interest in technology in education visited the event. Many representatives of ministries and government organisations around the world also join in BETT.
The European Commission’s Digital Innovation Challenge initiative invites small and medium-sized enterprises and start-ups to submit ideas on a concept level for services or solutions that could be integrated into their company’s business. The approved proposals will be further developed with experts of the program and will be presented at a special ceremony with the opportunity to win a € 50,000 award.
There is a condition for the concepts to be based on the EC Portfolio for open and reusable solutions.
The application period is open until February 28, 2020.
You can find all about the Digital Innovation Challenge and how to apply on the initiative’s website here.
BrightCap Ventures partners with Rolls-Royce’s R2 Data Labs in identifying Bulgarian teams for a 6-month mentoring programme that will help them finalize their MVPs and potentially pilot with Rolls-Royce. The selected companies will receive funding up to €200K as part of BrightCap Ventures’ accelerator programme.
Until December 18, you may apply in the open call for partners from
The collaboration aims to provide new opportunities for startup companies
LAUNCHub Ventures has joined Campus X’s ecosystem of tech startups, established companies and investors. For the first time ever, the two leading Bulgarian VC funds – LAUNCHub Ventures and Eleven – will be based under one roof – at Campus X. The collaboration between the three organizations aims to further support and grow the local startup ecosystem.
“We’re excited to welcome LAUNCHub Ventures at Campus X. By joining forces with them and Eleven, who are among our first members, we’ll augment the positive impact of our efforts. Thus, shifting the venture of launching companies – that turn into global leaders in their industries – from being a lucky coincidence to a tested, sustainable, and replicable process,” comments Boyko Iaramov, co-founder and CEO of Campus X.
Benefits to the startup ecosystem
The main goal of this collaboration is to create additional opportunities and benefits for the local tech startups, including:
– A longer financing path – by focusing on different company growth stages, Eleven and LAUNCHub Ventures may foster startups’ long-term development.
– Access to leading experts – even when working with just one of the organizations (LAUNCHub Ventures, Eleven, or Campus X), startups will have access to their combined network of seasoned entrepreneurs and experts, including the VCs’ partners and Campus X’s founders.
– Shared know-how – specially curated events, which are open to the entire ecosystem will help accelerate the companies’ growth.
– Bridge to international funds – all companies based at Campus X will have access to a wide network of international investment funds and business angels.
Strategy for long-term development
The three organizations not only share a common vision for the future of the local tech ecosystem but also have complementing business strategies.
Eleven invests in early-stage startups with validated products and real customers. Their initial investments vary between 100,000 and 300,000 еuro (pre-seed). The VC fund has so far invested in more than 115 startups from Southeast Europe, including the Campus X members Payhawk, Gtmhub, Dronamix, CourseDot, Havelock and Rebellious Software.
“The close proximity between Campus X, Eleven and LAUNCHub Ventures will leverage a platform for greater collaboration and know-how sharing, taking our efforts to grow the local startup ecosystem to the next level,” commented Vasil Terziev, co-founder of Campus X and a partner at Eleven.
LAUNCHub Ventures funds
Sofia is in eighth place in the ranking of the best European cities for young graduates to move to. According to one of the six criteria evaluated – rental housing, the capital ranks first among all 32 cities in the survey.
The ranking is by the website Digitalinformationworld.com and uses data about the cities from Numbeo, Eurostat and Eurobarometer. The final evaluation is based on the scores in six different indicators: Rent, Cost of Living, Economy, Presence of other international graduates, Sports & fitness opportunities and Entertainment & culture.
The ranking places Sofia among other attractive cities for young people such as Manchester, Berlin, Stockholm, Vienna and others. Glasgow, Prague and Munich ranked top three.
For another year, Sofia’s Vitosha Blvd. has climbed in the ranking of the most expensive shopping streets in the world. In the 31st annual survey, Sofia’s shopping street climbed to 47th place out of a total of 65 markets in the final ranking. This is one position higher than in last year’s edition.
For the last year, the lease prices in the Sofia boulevard have increased by 12% and the monthly rent currently amounts to an average of €56 per square meter.
Main Streets across the World by consultancy Cushman & Wakefield, with Forton as a partner in Bulgaria, explores a total of 448 commercial destinations worldwide. Again, the main shopping streets in Hong Kong, New York and London are the most expensive. Paris, Milan, Barcelona and Vienna occupy the top positions among European cities. Among the eastern European capitals, the highest prices for retail space are paid in Prague, at €235 /m2 in monthly rent and 18th position in the ranking.
Sofia is the number one fintech destination in terms of price performance in the fDi Fintech Locations of the Future 2019/20 ranking.
The survey included 52 locations ranked in five categories: Economic Potential, Foreign Direct Investment, Innovation and Attractiveness, Connectivity and Cost Effectiveness.
The top three fintech destinations in the overall ranking are London, Singapore and Belfast.
Bulgaria is down two positions – to 61st from 59th in the World Bank’s ranking Doing Business 2020.
The report of the financial institution assesses the economies of the countries according to business environment reforms, poverty levels, regulatory efficiency, entrepreneurship promotion, start-up and entrepreneurial environment, innovation, access to credit and investment.
New Zealand again tops the charts, followed by Singapore
This year’s PropTech StartUp & Scaleup Europe Awards, is the 2nd edition of the European initiative that gives visibility and support to the most promising start-ups and scale-ups in the field of innovation and disruptive transformation in the real estate sector.
PropTech Startup & Scale-up Europe Awards 2019 were officially launched on October 10th, 2019 at the Committee of the Regions (EU) in Brussels and are supported and promoted by the European Commission & Finnova Foundation, by the President of the European Parliament, the President of the Committee of the Regions, the Vice-President of the Economic and Social Committee and members from the European Parliament.
This second edition of the PropTech Startups and Scale-ups Europe will be composed of 2 main divisions: Startups and Scale-ups.
Definition of ‘scale-up’ for this purpose: if you meet at least 2 of these 3 conditions: (1) created 5 years ago, or more, (2) turnover of more than 2 million, (3) are active in 3 geographical markets.
October 10th, 2019
Launching and grand opening of the applications:
January 1st, 2020
Closing of the applications
February 1st to March 30th, 2020
Judging by Jury Members
May 4th, 2020
Semi-finals: the best 25 PropTech Startups and best 25 PropTech Scale-ups of Europe come and pitch in live in Brussels during 1 day
The best 5 PropTech Startups and the best 5 PropTech Scale-Ups do a live pitch event at MIPIM PropTech
Finance & Invest, Design & Build, Market & Transact, Manage & Operate, Live & Work
50 judges (captains of industry: C-level, board members, Head of Innovation) will rate the startups and scale-ups.
The Jury members representing Bulgaria in the Competition are as follows:
Value of €10,000 of facilitation services
European Exposure and recognition
Access to funding and investors through the European commission
50 best startups will be invited to Brussels On May 4th for a live-pitch session.
Now open until January 1st
The HiReach Startup Lab is an Accelerator Program for innovative transportation solutions that address transport poverty in Europe. HiReach supports startups that improve the accessibility of urban and rural areas and are adapted to the needs of vulnerable citizens.
Good accessibility helps the European economy to thrive, promotes inclusion and fosters wellbeing. Transport poverty is not only a social problem, but also a market opportunity for new mobility solutions to reduce time and cost, or even trigger new mobility needs.
The program offers start-ups who create mobility solutions for vulnerable groups a unique opportunity to prototype their solution with the support of a dedicated host/mentor company, professional business coaching and visibility/pitch opportunities, and financial support up to 20.000 Euro. The top 5-10 startups will showcase at the ITS European Conference in Lisbon in May 2020m and pitch at the final showcase event in Brussels in September 2020.
You can apply for HiReach until January 8th 2020 here.
This info package provides you with everything you need to know about the program. If you have further questions, please contact Sylvia Pavlova, PrEXCELerator Bulgaria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PrEXCELerator Bulgaria is Communication Partner of Impact Hub Vienna for Bulgaria on the HiReach program.
HiReach supports innovative transportation startups that can improve mobility in urban, peripheral, rural, remote and deprived areas, while addressing the needs of vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, women, people with reduced mobility, migrants, minorities, as well as people with low income and the unemployed.
HiReach support projects that are in concept stage or with a product prototype or MVP, incorporated or not yet incorporated, tackling a mobility-related problem through an innovative solution including but not limited to: informal ride-sharing and vanpooling services, community transport services, innovative ride-hailing mobility services, on-demand flexible public transport, smart vehicles, smart cities, open-source software, parking, logistics, customized mobility, accessibility, navigation information, data & IoT, smart infrastructures, service design, passenger experience, environment, safety and security in mobility.
Bulgaria ranks 45th among 140 countries as a destination for tourism and travel according to the World Economic Forum. The country is third in the CEE region after Poland and Slovenia.
Bulgaria performs very well in Health and Hygiene, ICT Readiness, Environmental Sustainability and Tourism Infrastructure and lags behind in Security, Air Transport Infrastructure and Land and Port Infrastructure.
Three European countries – Spain, France and Germany – are at the top of the ranking.
Bulgaria climbs two places in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) of the World Economic Forum. Thus, the country ranks 49th among 141 economies in the world.
The Global Index is based on the scores in 103 indicators organised in 12 categories. Bulgaria’s performance in most indicators has improved, and there is a decrease only in healthcare and product markets among the 12 main categories.
Bulgaria also climbed in another ranking – the Enabling Digitalization Index of the Euler Hermès commercial credit insurance company. The country advanced 11 positions compared to the previous year and now ranks 47th among 115 countries.
The Index focuses on the conditions for business development through digitalization or, respectively, on the risks of possible delays.
Bulgaria has good scores in the Regulation and Connectivity categories and is ahead of Serbia, Romania, Turkey, Croatia and Montenegro in the region, and behind the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Hungary. The 2019 leader is again the United States, followed by Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. For the first time, China is in the Top 10 in the Index.
A survey among the members of the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed that 46% of the French companies in Bulgaria are planning to invest in buildings, machinery, equipment and facilities in 2019. Regarding new hires, about 70% said they have plans for employing more people, but also that human capital is the biggest challenge for the French business in Bulgaria. In view of the difficulties in finding skilled personnel, 65% of the companies stated plans to invest in staff training.
According to the survey, 61% of French entrepreneurs expect the economic situation to remain unchanged next year, 28% expect improvement, and 9% expect a deterioration.
More than 75% of the participants in the survey find our country a very attractive or a rather attractive destination for investment, and half rate the economic situation as good or very good.
According to French entrepreneurs, access to skilled workers can be improved by reducing regional disparities – for example, by increasing labour mobility between smaller cities with a high unemployment rate and larger cities, where the rate is around 2-3%.
According to the data of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), French investments in Bulgaria amounted to EUR 1.16 billion at the end of 2018 and France is ranked 13th in terms of capital investment in Bulgaria.
The Chamber added that two French companies have submitted bid papers for Sofia Airport, stating they are ready to invest nearly EUR 1 billion. This would double the total amount of French investment in the country since 1990.
Other French investments in Bulgaria include the establishment and expansion of the plant of the aircraft company Latécoère; the expansion of the Soufflet malt plant; the acquisition of Unify by Atos, which tripled the number of employees in Sofia, and the Sofia office was named the best workplace among all Atos offices worldwide. The automotive sector is represented by Monea and Montupet; the aircraft industry by Latécoère, Technofy, Dassault Systèmes; energy and renewable energy sources – by Akuo energie.
For more details on the study, check out the interview with Stéphane Delahaye, president of the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Vesela Todorova-Mosettig, director of the Franco-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, on Bloomberg TV Bulgaria.