The application process is now open for INNOWWIDE – the new European programme for seed funding of projects assessing the competitiveness and the potential for entering the USA market of innovations, services and products. At least 120 innovative SMEs and start-ups from the EU will be supported with up to €60,000 of funding per project. The funds will cover the costs of market surveys, fees of consultants in the EU and/or in the USA, expenses for local and American contractors, subcontractors and others. Organisations interested in markets such as Russia, Brazil, Mexico, China, India and other markets outside Europe can also apply for the programme.
The deadline for the applications and the proposals is from April 1 until May 31, 2019. The required documents are available here: Call Text and Guidelines.
Sofia-based companies with projects, new products and commercial ideas can refer for assistance to Mr. Ivo Konstantinov from the Economic and Commercial Section at the Bulgarian Embassy of the United States in Washington, D.C. The applying organisation will receive recommendations and contacts with various potential American partners, part of the INNOWWIDE program. According to the type of their project, the participants can rely on receiving contacts with research laboratories in more than 20 universities, Bulgarians in the US who consult startups in the US, innovation and commerce centres, etc.
For contacts and support:
Tel.+1 202 332 6609
Tel. +1 202 387 5770
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BGEconOfficeUSA/
Commercial Counselor and Trade Attache
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
Sofia Municipal Council has approved the plan for two subway extensions. The third line planned to be 6 km long will link the Military Academy with Arena Armeec Hall and Poligona residential district. Another stretch of 2 km. to the first metro diameter will connect the Business Park with the Simeonovo lift. There will be two stops along the route that aim to provide an underground transport to Sofia Ring Mall and to make a connection between the metro and the lift.
The construction of the new routes is scheduled to start in 2021.
Five metro stations along the stretch from Patriarch Evtimii Blvd. to Krasno Selo district are expected to be put into operation this fall. By the end of the year, three new stations should be operational towards Vladimir Vazov Blvd., and in 2020 another 4 km, stretching from Ovcha Kupel residential district to the ring road near Gorna Bania.
The construction of a new settlement situated 20 km. away from the capital in the region of Plana mountain, between Sofia and Samokov, is planned to start as of this spring. The town, with a capacity to accommodate some 3 000 people, will be named Plana Heights. It is scheduled to be completed within 5 to 7 years.
Kindergartens, elementary school, retail space, sports facilities, etc. are planned to be built on an area of over 2 000 decares. The costs of laying on electricity and water to the area, as well as repairing the surrounding roads, will be at the expense of the landowner.
Residents of Plana Heights will be able to invest both in finished construction and the purchase of land they will be able to build on. According to preliminary estimates, the prices of most houses in the town will be close to those of a three-room apartment in the outskirts of Sofia.
The project for the new settlement is owned by the Israeli businessman Avinoam Kartieli, president of the “Bulgaria – Israel Binational Chamber of Commerce”. You can find additional information about the idea of building the new settlement here.
The municipal initiative Vision Sofia published a survey on Sofia’s morphology with combined databases on the buildings and the demography of the capital. The survey provides information on the construction of individual areas, population density by neighborhood and demography (age, education, etc.), concentration of certain types of buildings (administrative, business,
The Council of Ministers plans major amendments in the model of administrative service. The move aims at reducing the administrative burden and improving the administrative services to citizens and businesses. Public consultations have already been conducted and amendments to a total of 142 different acts are foreseen. These changes are expected to affect the entire Administrative Procedure Code.
The changes are about to considerably reduce the need for citizens and businesses to submit paper documents to different governmental and municipal authorities. The departments will exchange all the necessary data, documents and information available electronically in the public state and municipal registers. Citizens and businesses will only need to submit personal or business information required by administrators to officially request the data.
Тhe documents that will be subject to official check include commercial registration, registration of non-profit legal entities, registration of BULSTAT, documents entered into the Commercial Register such as annual financial statements, announced company acts and articles of association, tax, insurance and customs liabilities, registration of certain education and qualification, data on ownership and established rights entered in the Property Register, data on personnel under labor contracts, available building permits, building use permits, cadastral data, certificates of criminal record, etc.
The new requirements for official obtaining of information in the provision of services will apply not only to state and municipal administrations but also to private organizations providing public services in such spheres as education, health, water and sewerage, heat supply, electric power transmission, electric power supply, electric power distribution, gas supply, telecommunication, post, transport, banking, insurance, pension, social organizations, etc. Official checks will also be carried out by the so called “persons performing public functions”, such as notaries, bailiffs, registration organizations, etc. They all will be able to check the tax, legal, insurance and other statuses by themselves, and their customers won’t be required to provide paper copies.
The planned amendments will be made in a move to digitalise a large number of services to citizens and companies and their to transform them into internal administrative inquiries.
All views and opinions expressed on the proposed legal amendments are published on the Public Consultation Portal.
Ten Bulgarian startups will receive preferential access to the Next Web Conference (TNW Conference 2019) – the technology festival in Amsterdam, considered as the heart of the startup environment in Europe, which this year will take place on May 9-10.
Thanks to the team of Sofia Tech Park, more Bulgarian startups will be able to attend TNW, as they have negotiated with the organizers a 50% discount from the standard price of the pass for the first ten registered Bulgarian companies (EUR 149 instead of EUR 299) and 20% for all the other startups. Furthermore, an opportunity to present business ideas to potential investors will also be available.
In order to apply for registration with a discount, please follow the link to the registration form.
For questions and additional information, please contact the team of Sofia Tech Park: Mrs. Tanya Tsigularova, Business Development department, phone: (+359) 889 900 609, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The passes enable full access to all the events in the two-day conference programme, including lectures, panel discussions, workshops, meetings with investors and mentors, parties and other social events. Festival participants will have access to an online platform at TNW’s website, where they will be able to organize in advance their programme by selecting from a variety of initiatives and appointing attendance or B2B meetings.
The Next Web Conference is the largest conference dedicated to innovation, startups and technologies in Europe. The event brings together 17 500 visitors a day, 7 000 companies from over 100 countries, 72% of the visitors are the decision makers in the organisation they represent.
This is the 14th edition of the festival and this year it will take place at a new, bigger venue – a former shipyard in the Amsterdam Noord residential district, which today is a creative center for artists and entrepreneurs. There is a convenient free of charge ferry to the festival area.
Applications are now open for Strategy+Business Lab prEXCELerator 2019. This year the pre-accelerator will cover fifteen different industries and provide access to more than a hundred experts in different areas.
What distinguishes the prEXCELerator is that participation is not mandatorily linked to the establishment of a legal entity during or following the validation stage. Participation in the prEXCELerator and the access to the resources provided is not connected to a requirement for equity in the newly-established entities in exchange for the service. The participants will have access not only to mentors but also to the expertise and professional network of more than a hundred experts in fifteen Advisory boards, categorised by industries. The start-ups that will be approved at the end of the prEXCELerator by the Advisory boards as successfully validated or pivoted will have access to not just one but various sources of funding, both local or external with direct access to markets outside Bulgaria.
There are no age restrictions for individual candidates, or specific requirements for the companies. However, projects for products or services will be accepted if they provide industry solution applying at least one of the thirteen digital technologies in the focus of the prEXCELerator. Hybrid ideas could be in a stage of validation or looking for funding, new markets expansion, or shifting to a new strategy (pivoting). The programme in 2019 aims to attract not only IT engineers but also specialists from the entire engineer sphere and all industries.
Projects are required to fulfil two eligible criteria in order to apply as ideas with a hybrid application:
The applicants will go through two selection stages. The first one is an interview and the successful candidates will be admitted to the three-week preparatory phase of the prEXCELerator. The teams will be prepared for the first event when they will be allowed to present their ideas in front of the expert Advisory boards. After this second stage, ten startups from
Sustainable Cities Fund, a company incorporated under the Obligations and Contracts Act, announces a funding procedure for projects that contribute to sustainable regional, economic and social development on the territory of Sofia and southern Bulgaria. The loans are long-term and with low interests. They are part of the Urban Development Fund financial instrument, funded under the Operational Program “Regions in Growth” 2014-2020.
The total financial resource of the Fund amounts to BGN 342,37 million. BGN 134,3 million of them are allocated for Sofia. Support will be provided to projects in the fields of urban environment, sports and cultural infrastructure, energy efficiency in single-family residential buildings and student dormitories, areas with economic development potential, integrated urban transport, as well as cultural and religious heritage sites of national and global importance.
Own contribution should be at least 15% of the project cost, with 15-20 year repayment term and a grace period of 18 to 36 months.
The criteria and application procedure are described in details here.
Individuals and organizations providing solutions for climate change can now apply for Climate-KIC’s expert exchange program called Pioneers into Practice. Bulgaria is part of the program for second year in a row. Locally, the initiative is managed by the non-governmental organization Cleantech Bulgaria.
Pioneers into Practice is open for professionals, companies, NGOs, research institutes and organizations in the fields of water, soil and waste management, production processes, climate change, sustainable practices, energy and green business. Both hosts and guests of the exchange program are eligible to apply.
The program is divided in two stages. From April to June, participants will be trained on innovations and sustainable solutions, and at the expert exchange in September and October, the specialists will be assigned to different organizations in one of the other 21 EU member states included in the program. Companies and organizations will be able to work with an external expert on a preliminary set project.
The application deadline is April 11 on the website of the initiative.
In February 2019, the EU signed the long awaited Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan. Businesses and consumers across Europe and in Japan can now take advantage of the largest open trade zone in the world.
This article aims to help Bulgarian companies interested in market opportunities in Japan by providing key facts on the agreement and useful links to more detailed information about the regulations in the different sectors.
EU-Japan trade relationship – facts and figures
– Japan is the EU’s 2nd biggest trading partner in Asia after China with EU firms exporting over €58bn in goods and €28bn in services to Japan every year
– Japan is the EU’s 6th most important trading partner worldwide
– Almost 74,000 EU companies are exporting to Japan, 78% of those are smaller firms
– 600,000 jobs are tied to EU exports to Japan
The agreement is also expected to increase the exports of processed foods by up to 180%, chemical exports from the EU to Japan by 22% and mechanical engineering shipments by 16%.
Bulgaria – Japan trade relationship – facts and figures
Benefits under the EU-Japan Agreement
The Economic Partnership Agreement removes the vast majority of the €1 billion of duties paid annually by EU companies exporting to Japan. Once the agreement is fully implemented, Japan will have scrapped customs duties on 97% of goods imported from the EU. The agreement also removes a number of long-standing non-tariff barriers, for example by endorsing international standards on cars. It will also break down barriers for key EU food and drink exporters to 127 million Japanese consumers and will increase export opportunities in a range of other sectors. Annual trade between the EU and Japan could increase by nearly €36 billion once the agreement is implemented in full.
The EU and Japan have agreed to set ambitious standards on sustainable development, and the text includes for the first time a specific commitment to the Paris climate agreement.
With regards to agricultural exports from the EU, the agreement will, in particular:
On behalf of the Management Board of the Association of Business Clusters in Bulgaria (ABC), we invite you to join the National Cluster Conference on 26-27 March 2019 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event is under the patronage of the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy and is organised in a partnership with BSMEPA (Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency) and ARK Consulting to Enterprise Europe Network-Bulgaria, within the European cluster weeks 2018 – 2019.
The event aims to create new opportunities for Bulgarian clusters and business, but also to start the tradition of holding an annual cluster conference, similar to good practices known in countries such as Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Norway and Denmark. The organising team strongly believes that National Cluster Conference 2019 will contribute to promoting and supporting European regions and businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation development, as well as uniting startups and business representatives into clusters for more successful internationalization and competitiveness.
The host venue for the conference is Sofia Tech Park, which is not only partnering in the organisation of the event but will also hold a discussion panel on technology parks, covering – their meaning, the place in the country’s economy, challenges and successful models of work and interaction with the state.
– Startup companies – innovation, financing, barriers and challenges, successful stories
– BASE” – Business Achievements for social entrepreneurs
– How successfully we poisoned clusters in strategic topics as industry 4.0
– Digitization – digital and innovative hubs
– External markets with third countries outside the EU (China, Central Asian Republics)
– Innovative and cluster management
– Cluster and innovation policies
– Innovation through cooperation, Innovation through competences
– Models of Networking – European Network of Cluster Associations Initiated by the ABC
– Attracting and retaining talents
– Financial instruments
The event will focus on industries such us:
o Mechatronics and clean technologies
o New technologies in creative and recreational industries
o Automotive Industry
If you are interested in joining any of these directions and/or would like to propose other topics, please send a brief proposal to email@example.com by 8th March 2019.
Participation in the conference is free of charge, pre-registration is required.
The official language of the event is English. For questions or further information, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Teodora Jilkova, email@example.com, tel: + 359 8888
SECURITY EXPO 2019
The 26th International Specialized Exhibition SECURITY EXPO 2019 will be held from 6th to 9th March at the Inter Expo Center in Sofia. The exhibition is organized in partnership between the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and the Inter Expo Center and is traditionally held under the patronage of the Ministry of Interior.
SECURITY EXPO covers all aspects of security: fire alarm, fire- extinguishing and CCTV, as well as CLOUD engineering topics: IP and networking, IT and communications, access control, biometrics, counterterrorism means, perimeter defence, critical infrastructure protection, alarm systems, data protection, Big Data, M2M services, “smart buildings” equipment, physical security, specialized vehicles and equipment.
BUILDING WEEK is an international trade fair for building and interior building. It attracts producers and distributors of the construction industry along the whole chain – from machinery, technologies and materials to elements for interior and exterior finishing works, repairs and decoration. Hundreds of companies will get the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations, establish business contacts and seek foreign markets.
The 18th edition of the exhibition will take place on 4 days from Wednesday, 06 March to Saturday, 09 March 2019 in Sofia.
SMART LIFE EXPO
SMART LIFE EXPO is one of the newest themes in the Inter Expo Center programme.
The event will focus on intelligent solutions for infrastructure, public and office buildings, and homes – one of the most dynamic sectors and the main drivers of economic growth in recent years.
SMART LIFE EXPO will be held in parallel with the international exhibitions BUILDING WEEK, WATER TECH EXPO and SECURITY EXPO. For more information, please visit buildingweek.bg
WATER TECH EXPO
WATER TECH EXPO is the only B2B exhibition for industrial and public water management in Bulgaria. The 13th edition of the event will be held from 6th to 8th March 2019.
The event is the meeting place of Bulgarian and international specialists involved in various industrial and infrastructure projects in the water industry of the country. The focus of the 2019 edition will be the industrial use of water.
Water Tech Expo will display products used in water procurement, waters and wastewaters purifying
Bulgaria ranks 46th among 161 countries across the world in the Forbes Best Countries for Business 2018 list. In the Bulgarian profile, it is indicated that the strong internal demand and the low international price of the energy sources are amongst the reasons for the good economic growth of Bulgaria. The proper investment regime and low corporate taxes are also mentioned. Amongst the factors hindering the investment climate are the slow public administration, the weak judiciary, the low productivity, the lack of transparency in public procurement and the presence of organised crime. Bulgaria is better ranked than Croatia, Turkey and Serbia that are behind the 50th position but is worse ranked than Romania and Greece that are sitting respectively at 41st and 42nd places. The ranking of the best countries for business is topped by Great Britain, followed by Sweden, Hongkong, The Netherlands and New Zealand.
Bulgaria is ranked 41st among the most innovative economies in the world according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index 2019. Bulgaria keeps its position from last year – the entire grade is slightly increased (up to 56,36 points) and the country is still in the Top 50. Bulgaria is best performing in the productivity (49 points) and the patent activity (48 points) but its worst performance is in the category of the productivity added value (32 points).
South Korea retains the global crown (87,38 points), but the development of Germany makes the largest European economy almost equal to the Asian country according to the data of the Bloomberg Innovation Index of 2019.
Bulgaria ranks 54th out of 125 countries in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2019 (GTCI) of Adecco Group – the annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.
The index ranks the countries according to six major indicators: technical skills, global knowledge skills, ability to attract talents from other countries, ability to develop talented specialists, standard of living and workforce qualification level.
At European level, our country ranks 30th, compared to 27th last year. Among the countries in the region – Greece ranks 44th, Romania is 69th, and Turkey – 74th.
The top ten of the best countries for creating and attracting staff are Switzerland, Singapore, the United States, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Luxembourg.
In the same index but in the city ranking, Sofia occupies the 78th
On behalf of the organising team, we would like to invite companies from Sofia, working in the creative and cultural sector to take part in the forthcoming China (Ningbo) Cultural Industries Fair to be held on 12 – 14 April 2019 in Ningbo, China.
The forum is suitable for creative or cultural companies, including the ICT sector – animation, games, smart cities, smart homes, architectural and interior design, robots, culture and tourism software; creativity in digital advertising; products for virtual and added reality, and more.
For additional information and support for the participation process, you can contact the Chinese Cultural Center in Sofia. The deadline for applications is until the end of March.
Participating companies should cover the costs of airline tickets to and from China. The transfer to and from Ningbo, as well as the accommodation in the city will be covered by the organisers. The arrangement of the exhibition space and the construction of related elements (stands, decoration, etc.) will be provided as well. The organisers will also be fully involved in the customs procedures for the import of the exhibition items as well as the materials and products that can be offered for sale during the fair.
You can also contact the Chinese Cultural Center in Sofia to help you pre-arrange B2B meetings with Chinese partners who are interested in external collaborations.
Applications and requests for further information must be directed to Gina Balаreva, phone: 0887080861, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About China (Ningbo) Cultural Industries Fair
Ningbo is an important port city on the southeastern coast of China, the economic center on the south side of the Yangtze River Delta. Ningbo is at the leading edge of social reforms in modern China and integrates Chinese and western culture.
Recently, Ningbo cultural industry has been rapidly developed. Added value of Ningbo cultural and creative industries exceeded 70 billion yuan in 2017, accounting for 7% of GDP. China (Ningbo) Cultural Industries Fair has always been dedicated to promoting industry transformation and upgrading, accelerating to drive integrative development of “culture plus”, expanding economic and trade cooperation and exchange based on regional advantages in the “Belt and Road Initiative”, and creating important platform for display and transaction of domestic and foreign cultural industries since it was established.
China (Ningbo) Cultural Industries Fair has been gradually become one of the largest cultural fair platforms in Zhejiang province and even in Eastern China after
The first aquapark in Sofia is planned to open doors by this year’s end. It will be built as an extension of the new Vazrazhdane Park in Zona B-5 residential area. Part of the funds are provided by the municipal property management and the remainder comes from a loan from the Urban Development Fund under the ‘Regions in Growth’ Operational Program.
The park is part of Sofia’s strategy for developing the city’s green system and providing mass sport opportunities. The municipality invests just over BGN 9 million in the construction of the facility.
The aquapark will have an open area with 3 water slides and 5 different mineral water pools, including a pool for kids and babies. The indoor part of the facility will offer a swimming pool and a SPA center, which will be open all year round.
A preview of the project can be seen in the following video.
Sofia’s public transport routes will be provided with additional vehicles in order to reduce waiting time. It is expected to decrease by an average of 1 to 5 minutes, the Urban Mobility Center reports. A total of BGN 240 million from Sofia Municipality’s budget for 2019 is allocated for investment in public transport. Moreover, the renewal of the vehicle fleet will continue and at the end of the year 90% of it will be composed of new and environmentally friendly vehicles. 83 new buses, 14 electric buses and 13 trams will be purchased, construction of the metro line will continue too.