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: email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and/or Teodora Jilkova, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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: email@example.com
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
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.
Germany is Bulgaria’s most wanted business partner, according to a survey by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. More than 43% of the companies prefer the country when it comes to business partnerships.
Among the other top wanted business partnership countries are Turkey, Switzerland, Russia and the United Arab Emirates. China is lagging behind in this year’s list due to the trade disputes with the United States, the language barrier and geographical distance. The big leap of Switzerland is worth mentioning. The federal country, which was 20th last year, is the third most preferred business destination for business relationships this year.
In addition, more than 77% of Bulgarian companies are looking for cooperation with foreign partners in order to increase exports; 28% of companies are looking for a partner for import of goods; 44% are looking for a co-investment partner in Bulgaria, and 14% for investments abroad.
The business in the country is mostly looking to establish contacts with companies in the fields of machinery and equipment (43%), services (26%), food and beverage (24%) and construction (19%).
Nearly two-thirds of the companies admit that they do not know well the business and trading conditions in the countries they want to have business relationships with. The opportunities offered by the EU-third country free trade agreements are among the main topics of interest to the business.
The survey by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is available here.
Sofia Development Association just published Sofia City Integration Agenda developed in the framework of the INTEGRA project, funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. The City Integration Agenda document contains an audit report for the presence and participation of third-country nationals (TCN) in the life of Sofia. It also outlines the three most likely scenarios for the upcoming 3 to 5 years regarding TCN in Sofia: their presence, economic and social activity and integration, the capacity of the local community to accept them and the actions and measures of the local governance.
INTEGRA seeks to improve the process of long-term integration of third country nationals through urban partnership. The project includes 6 partner cities: Sofia, Bulgaria, Prague, Czech Republic, Kosice, Slovakia, Osijek, Croatia, and Rubano, Italy – all of them participating through city-to-city knowledge and experience sharing.
The survey covers the areas of employment and qualification, services for TCN (access to health care, housing, education and training, etc.), security and safety and civic participation. It also aims at identifying recommendations for city/municipal policies and measures to prepare for and respond adequately to these scenarios.
Four thematic posters are published as part of the report, outlining the main highlights in four areas – “The Labor Market and the Migrants in Sofia“, “Attitudes towards Migrants“, “Education and Migrants” and “Safety in Sofia and the Migrants“.
The infographics present data, trends, opportunities and shortcomings of the integration of TCN in Sofia in a comprehensible and attractive way.
All infographics, including those of the other partner cities in the program, are available on the project website – https://integra-eu.net/campaign/infographics.html.
The full Sofia City Integration Agenda document can be found here.
14TH NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON E-HEALTH
The general vision of the National Healthcare Information System (NCBI), good European and national practices for the digitization of the healthcare sector, the implementation of solutions for automation of the working process in the hospital administration are some of the highlights of the 14th National Conference on e-Healthcare 2019 to be held on February 14.
The event will gather representatives of public and private healthcare organizations, including hospitals, clinics, sanatoriums, laboratories and medical centers – CEOs, GMs, IT managers and CIOs, Medical Managers, Administrative Managers; representatives of health-insurance companies and funds, clinical laboratories, as well as representatives of state structures – political decision-makers, heads of ministry directorates, heads and CEOs of health-insurance funds, social security institutes, MPs.
For more information, please check the event website: events.ictmedia.bg/en/event/111
HOLIDAY AND SPA EXPO 2019
Holiday and Spa Expo is an international trade exhibition for the travel and tourism industry. The event provides the unique opportunity for establishing new contacts, expanding the client and partnership network, participating in business meetings with professionals from all over the world in all sectors of the tourism industry.
Holiday and Spa Expo will be held on February 14-16 and will host 380 exhibitors from 22 countries worldwide, over 20 000 professionals and visitors from over 60 destinations and tourist regions, and will include more than 50 supporting events.
For more information, please check the event website: holidayfair-sofia.com
SOFIA CYBERSEC 2019
Supported by the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel, Sofia CyberSec 2019 will cast a light over the contemporary security threats in the context of the upcoming EP general elections and the new EU regulatory provisions. The conference aims at focused and inclusive dialogue between all those with a stake in the internet – governments, civil society, industry and end-users.
The event is organized by the Digital National Alliance and Economic.bg and will gather international speakers, policymakers, leading industry experts, think tanks, etc. to discuss the EU regulatory challenges, elections security, threats and business strategies for improvements.
The main stage will be accompanied by parallel sessions of hands-on training labs delivered by event partners and industry experts and available for limited number of participants upon registration.
Sofia CyberSec 2019 will be held on 14th February 2019 in Sofia Tech Park.
INNOVATION EXPLORER 2019
Innovation Explorer 2019 is the fifth edition of the Forum, organized by Kapital and