In 2019, Webit.Festival Europe will host one more separate event – Climate|Tech, aiming to address climate change related challenges, create dialogue between institutions, academia and enterprise and to pave the way to change.
By 2050, 2/3 of the global population will live in cities. More than 70% of the global demand for infrastructure over the next 15 years is expected to be in urban areas. According to a World Economic Forum survey, air pollution can prematurely kill 400 000 Europeans, not to mention the health costs and the new diseases like allergies in the recent years.
How cities develop is important both for their economic growth and climate security.
The current state of technology provides numerous solutions that can be put into action.
The goal of the Climate|Tech Summit will be to gather the enterprise leaders from different industries together and help them plan how to move away from the current Energy system to a new clean tech world.
In 2018 Webit.Festival Europe doubled its size and moved to a larger venue. The festival broke records with 10 000 attendees from 111 countries.
Sofia is looking forward to welcome many more next year. Webit.Festival Europe 2019 will be held on 13-15 May. Save the date!
Bulgaria gave up its 50th position to rank 59th in World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 ranking. The annual analysis assesses the conditions for business development in countries around the globe, based on the performance of 41 indicators, grouped into 10 sub-indicators: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting access to electricity, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and settlement of business disputes, getting a credit, resolving insolvency and protecting minority investors.
Bulgaria was positioned 59th among a total of 190 economies, showing an improvement in some indicators but a decline in the overall score due to the faster pace of development in other countries around the world. At a maximum assessment value of 100%, our country reached 71.24% (compared to 71.91% last year) with an average assessment of 72.34% for the region of Europe and Central Asia (72.33% a year ago).
Just like in the 2018 ranking, our country performed best in terms of cross-border trade, taking the 21st position. Bulgaria has been keeping this position for the third consecutive year.
In terms of protection of minority owners, our country ranked 33rd, which is a good position in the overall ranking, but is lower compared to the scores for this indicator in the previous two years – 24th place in last year’s edition and 13th two years ago. The performance of the country in respect to enforcing contracts was also relatively good (42nd position this year, compared to 40th in 2017) and construction permits (37th position). A sharp decline was registered in the assessment of access to credit, where Bulgaria dropped from 42nd to 60th place. In terms of getting electricity, our result was higher (54.93 compared to 54.80), but compared to the scores of other Eastern European countries, Bulgaria fell behind – the Czech Republic was positioned 10th, Poland and Greece ranked 58th, while Bulgaria was 147th.
The leader in World Bank’s Doing Business ranking this year again was New Zealand. The other top ten countries with the most favorable business environment were Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong, South Korea, Georgia, Norway, the USA, the UK and Macedonia – the big surprise in the ranking due to its good performance and entering in the top 10.
The full report is
Bulgarian companies from all sectors can join ICAP Trade Exchange – the only data exchange network on inter-company payment behavior and credit discipline in Bulgaria. The program is developed by ICAP Group, one of the largest groups offering business services in Southeast Europe, which also has a subsidiary in Bulgaria for 11 years.
The program provides exchange and management of databases, commercial risk assessment, analyses of timely and untimely payments of companies and thus builds a reliable and dynamic online database with information on the payment discipline of the companies, for which the participants in the Program submit data to the Operator (ICAP). Companies with accounts can receive information about the ‘payment health’ of other organizations. Thus, the ICAP Trade Exchange payment register assists companies in developing their receivables management policies and is a tool for accurate measurement of trade risk when working with other companies, risk assessment for investments, etc.
ICAP Group has similar programs in 55 countries around the world. Each register, including the one for Bulgaria, has been developed in accordance with the specifics of the market to maintain an objective assessment of the payment profile of all registered users. In Bulgaria, the register has been working for over 4 years and maintains data on the payment discipline of 170 000 organizations.
ICAP Bulgaria plans to publish the “300 Companies with the Best Payment Profile in Bulgaria” ranking.
ICAP Trade Exchange specifically aims to add the profiles of more startup companies regardless of the sector in which they operate.
About ICAP Group
ICAP Group has a team of 1 300 employees worldwide and is one of the largest groups offering business services in Southeast Europe. The company has subsidiaries in Bulgaria, Romania, Cyprus and Serbia, and after its acquisition by SEEF of Global Finance in 2007 it has become the provider with the broadest scope of business services in the region. The company offers a wide range of services and products that are grouped into 4 major categories: Credit Risk, Marketing Solutions, Management Consulting and Human Resources.
Bulgarian companies from all sectors may request a one-time consultation free of charge with a mentor from the International Business Alliance.Bulgaria (IBAConnect.com) networking business platform. This is the first of its kind global initiative and networking platform to build an international online business network with a Bulgarian connection. If you need to know more about the business environment and the opportunities to grow in a specific market outside of Bulgaria, experts can answer your specific questions, help you with information and guidance, and support you in the next steps of a possible business positioning in a foreign country.
In order to request an individual business consultation with an expert from International Business Alliance.Bulgaria, you need to sign up on the platform with a personal profile and / or a profile of the company you manage or represent. Once you create an account (s), you need to submit your request for consultation. The request can be submitted through the platform’s internal messenger at IBA.Bulgaria’s official profile or at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your request has to include the “IBAconsult1” code, the country you are interested in, the sector you want to enter, and a brief description of the specific questions you want to learn more about. Thus, the team of the platform will be able to connect you with an expert from the corresponding country with business experience in the specific market and sector.
The deadline for submitting requests under this first mentoring initiative for free individual consultations by experts from International Business Alliance.Bulgaria is December 31, 2018, with the first 10 entries being approved. It is important to know that if you miss the deadline but you are a member of the Alliance, you will have the opportunity to follow up on the next edition of the initiative.
About International Business Alliance.Bulgaria
The International Business Alliance.Bulgaria business platform was created by Bulgarians for Bulgarians and already brings together more than 660 professionals from 4 continents – Bulgarians living abroad as well as their foreign partners. A large number of the members are entrepreneurs with international experience and manage / or are part of / developed businesses in sectors such as information technology, creative industries, construction, tourism, trade, manufacturing, consulting, etc. The network aims to support business development with Bulgarian connection all over the world. The platform brings together active businessmen and companies, and also targets students and young specialists looking
Two Bulgarian companies were awarded among the best startups in Europe at the European Commission’s Startup Europe Awards. These are Enova for its water pollution monitoring system based on a new generation of biosensors and Biomyc for the development of an economical and biodegradable alternative to polystyrene from agricultural waste and mushrooms. The awards ceremony was held in Sofia within the framework of Startup Europe Summit 2018 – the EU policies conference that brings together entrepreneurs, investors, academicians, policy makers and major corporates. The event was held in Sofia for the first time on 14-15 November 2018, and was chaired by the Commissioner Mariya Gabriel .
134 companies from 16 EU and neighboring countries have applied for the StartUp Europe Awards. They were competing in 18 categories and went through an initial selection process and mentorship programmes for the further development of their projects.
Biomyc wins the Green Company category for a technology which reuses agricultural waste to produce an ecological composite material that aims to take over plastic foams. The company Enova won the Water category by offering the latest in specialized mechanical and process equipment, can design, installation, maintenance, and in specific cases, operation of premium wastewater treatment systems.
Among this year’s winners are startups form Spain, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Luxemburg, Poland, Romania, Greece and Macedonia. Along with the other winners, the two Bulgarian companies will receive access to the mentorship programme Accelerator StartUp Europe, organised by the Finnova Foundation. The accelerator will grant them access to European funds to help the startups further develop their project and expand to foreign markets.
This year’s Startup Europe Summit focused on technological leadership, European financing and business growth. The event gathered in Sofia more than 500 leaders from the European startup ecosystem, including investors and entrepreneurs, to generate initiatives that can support the next generation of pioneers achieve success in Europe and beyond.
During the conference, a Joint Declaration Reinforcing the Central and Eastern European and Western Balkans Technological Entrepreneurship Ecosystem was signed by organizations representing startups from 14 European countries.
The new Joint Declaration outlines concrete commitments to help entrepreneurs in accessing funding opportunities and best practices, to release legislative burdens across markets and to promote the region as an attractive entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The first Health & Life Sciences Cluster in Bulgaria has recently been established. Just a few months after the commencement of the initiative to consolidate companies from the sector, the newly created Cluster successfully launched a number of projects and already enjoys wide representations and potential for development of large partnership network with local and international clusters and organizations.
Officially, the Health & Life Sciences Cluster’s activities were announced for the first time during the European BioTech Week. Among its founders are a number of experts, scientists, practitioners, research and academic institutes, startups, as well as established international businesses, incubators, technology transfer companies, journalists, marketing and PR experts, and more. Leading the initiative are businesses such as Micar Innovation – a recipient of the European CIDIC Award in 2018, as well as the award for Best Biotech Startup for 2017, Nutrigen, Fidelis Research, Printivo, Bulbera, CleanTech Bulgaria, Revitalabs, Franz & Partners, the law firm Savov & Partners, and the Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO) to name a few.
“Our mission is to endorse Bulgaria as a global bio-tech, health and life science center thus facilitating the growth of this industrial sector. Our role as an organization goes beyond promoting existing excellence; we aim to accompany, support, encourage, and further innovations by creating a favourable economic environment for the development of the businesses in the field”, shared Dimitar Dimitrov, a founder and Co-Chairman if the new Cluster.
“Life science sector heavily relies on presenting sometimes very complex topics to the general public in a comprehensive and accessible manner. As we highly appreciate the work of Bulgarian journalists we decided to create a Media Center within the Cluster. The goal of the Center is to give those working in the media access to accurate information directly from the source, to help them to find their interesting story, and to refer them to relevant experts, who in turn will provide them with detailed information on a given topic”, explained Kristina Eskenazi, Co-Chairman of the Cluster.
The main activities of the Health & Life Sciences Cluster fall in the following categories:
• Cooperation and Innovations: initiation of projects for cooperation between the business and research and development organizations, as well as academic institutions; support of innovative projects for cooperation and networking.
• Marketing and PR: discovery of the identity and the unique advantages of the region; improvement of the local and international image of
New Buses to Serve the Lines to Vitosha Mountain
Ten buses for the lines to Vitosha Mountain will be replaced by semi-touring buses “Mercedes” with eco-standard EURO5. The new vehicles are equipped with manual gearboxes because of the mountain terrain, as well as luggage carriers, which will allow for easier transportation of ski, sledge and other equipment. For the city lines, 60 new single-deck buses running on natural gas and 20 electric buses have already arrived, for which charging stations are currently being built.
Furthermore, Sofia Municipality expects 60 new MAN Lion’s City G articulated buses running on natural gas to be delivered at the start of 2019. They will be part of the fleet of city lines. Buses are low-floor, accessible for mothers with prams and people with mobility difficulties, equipped with air conditioners and with the highest eco-standard EURO6.
Thus, in 2019, it is expected that 90% of the buses in Sofia’s public transport will be new.
Development Plan for a Lift from Ring Mall and IKEA to Vitosha is Underway
A detailed site development plan of the investment company of Ring Mall and IKEA and the properties south of them is in progress, to provide a corridor for the construction of a lift to Vitosha. Currently, there is no specific investment interest, but the possibility will be provided in the Master Plan of Sofia in the transport-communication part and more precisely for the development of the metropolitan.
The plan is part of the general plan for the future expansion of the Sofia metro towards IKEA and the zone from the way metro station – the one after Business Park Sofia westwards IKEA and Decathlon, to Vitosha. The general intention is that the residents and guests of Sofia will be able to reach the mountain by metro after the construction of the way station and another one after it.
Interactive Information Maps to Show Bicycle Network and Play Areas of Sofia Municipality
In early November, the team of OP Sofproect OGP presented the two newly created interactive maps – one with data on the available bicycle infrastructure and the other with the playgrounds in Sofia.
The bicycle lane map aims at evaluating the city’s bicycle network and building a methodology on how to improve it. It covers the bicycle network, bicycle parking stations, bicycle stands, as well as the extensions included in the Master plan
All announced tour dates were booked in a matter of hours, but new tickets will be released for Sofia!
The end of 2018 surprised the fans of the Golden Apple – the first animated series based on Bulgarian legends and folklore – with a long-awaited news. At the beginning of November the creators of the series, Studio Zmei animation, officially announced they are ready to show the pilot episode and organized the Golden Apple Tour, which has already visited Sofia, Burgas, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, and more cities are to come – Veliko Tarnovo, Varna and again Sofia – on 21 December!
The interest is instant and enormous – all places for the announced screenings were booked within a few hours! Studio Zmei estimates that for this part of the tour there are over 2000 tickets sold all over Bulgaria.
What actually stands behind this rarely observed hype?
“The Golden Apple” is a project for the first animated series based on Bulgarian legends and folklore. The idea was born 4 years ago, after its creator – Dimitar Petrov – left Cartoon Network and came to Bulgaria to form a team of experienced animators and designers who are in love with Bulgarian folklore and are determined to bring it into the 21st-century media. This is how Studio Zmei was born.
After two successful crowdfunding campaigns and a worldwide recognition at the biggest animation market in Europe, The Golden Apple won thousands of fans in Bulgaria and abroad, as well as the support of the Bulgarian National Television.
After the success of the short film and the book of the same universe – The Legend of the First Kuker Warrior – Studio Zmei proudly presents the pilot episode of The Golden Apple.
It’s a 21-minute animation, suitable for both children and adults. It follows the story of the courageous Vihra, who is torn between her human nature and her magical spirit powers, and her best friend, the cheeky water nymph Tina.
Particularly important for the project are the voice actors who build the main characters in the series – the singer Polly Genova gives her voice to Vihra, Milica Gladnishka singles the self-confessed Tina, Momchil Stepanov takes on the role of the mummer Vlad, and Zhivko Dzhuranov is his brother Bran.
What are the next steps for the project and its creators form Studio Zmei? The first is to attend the media
At the invitation of the Portugal-Senegal Chamber of Commerce and Industry, construction and real estate companies from Sofia and Bulgaria can join the Bulgarian delegation within the framework of the SENCON Dakar – International Building, Building Materials And Construction Machinery Fair to be held in April 2019, in Senegal. The exhibition is held for the fourth consecutive year at the Centre International du Commerce Extérieur du Sénegal in Dakar.
The invitation follows Sofia Investment Agency’s participation in the international Fórum Bizfeira in Portugal, where our team presented the investment profile of Sofia and the business opportunities in the capital.
If you are interested, please check the information available in the registration form and contact our team for more information by sending an email with subject Senegal Partnership – Trade Mission SENCON at email@example.com.
More about SENCON Dakar
International Building, Building Materials And Construction Machinery Fair
Sencon, the international exhibition on the subject of construction, building materials and construction equipment takes place at the Centre International du Commerce Extérieur du Sénegal in Dakar. Based on economic growth now in the African market the forum aims to introduce African professionals with international producers. West African countries are inheriting low capacity of production in every sector and a very curious market looking for new suppliers every year. Visitors are offered various informative presentations and stage demonstrations. Visitors and exhibitors connect with decision makers, buyers, professionals with businesses running in the market. SENCON will be held in CICES Fairground. Parking, restaurants, snacks, meeting and relax areas are open for all exhibitors and visitors.
Microsoft Global AI BootCamp
The Global AI BootCamp is a free one-day event organized by local communities all over the world that are passionate about Artificial Intelligence on the Microsoft stack.
The event takes place on the 15th of December on venues all over the world centrally organized by our HQ in the Netherlands, supported by Microsoft. The event is the perfect balance between quality content, awesome lectures, practical workshops and learn & share with other community members.
Learn how to implement intelligence into your solutions with the Microsoft AI platform, including pre-trained AI services like Cognitive Services and Bot Framework, as well as deep learning tools like Azure Machine Learning, Visual Studio Code Tools for AI, and Cognitive Toolkit.
During this AI BootCamp attendees will get inspired through sessions and get involved in various workshops. By the end of the day all participants will be able to infuse AI into their applications.
In Sofia, Bulgaria, the event will be held at Puzl CowOrKing on Saturday, December 15, 2018, from 12:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EET). The organiser for Bulgaria is Mihail Mateev on behalf of the Bulgarian Software Community.
The event is free. Registration is required.
Sofia International Book Fair
The 46th edition of the Sofia International Book Fair will start on December 11th. The book fair represents a major asset in the panel of Bulgarian cultural events. National publishing houses, as well as foreign exhibitors display their literary production and exchange views during the 6- days event, which takes place in the National Palace of Culture – the home of the book fair since 1993.
More than 200 publishers and 50 000+ visitors will take part in the fair and various authors and new books will be presented. Through its diverse programme of readings, discussions, poetry-and-music, cinema screenings, live music performances, exhibitions and other activities the festival became one of the most creative and well attended cultural events in Bulgaria.
Sofia International Book Fair will take place from December 11, 2018, until December 16, 2018, at the National Palace of Culture, Sofia.
BCCI’s SEEWBAN Project for Female Entrepreneurs
Female entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to present their business ideas to business angels at the upcoming meetings under the SEEWBAN project of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI). Events will take place under the so-called ‘pitch’ format and will aim to enable female entrepreneurs to present their projects and to establish contact with potential investors to negotiate funding or other assistance.
The first meeting under the project was held on November 21 and the second one this year is scheduled for December 12. The deadline for submitting presentations is December 10. Ideas from all business fields, as well as at different stages of development are eligible.
Participation is free of charge. You can find the program, presentation requirements and link for participation here.
Vienna Business Agency Starts a Program to Support Companies in the Creative Industries
Since the beginning of January, Vienna Business Agency has started accepting applications for funding under its Vienna Calling Creatives program, targeting companies in the creative industries. In order to participate in the program, organizations have to seek market expansion to Vienna and Austria, independently or in partnership with a local Viennese company.
The program will support the development of new products and services, search for new sales channels, activities and events located in Vienna. Newly established or well-developed companies in architecture, design, fashion, multimedia, music and film, and publishing are welcome to apply.
More information about the terms, grants, and eligible costs can be found here.
Spark, the first electric car sharing company in Bulgaria, announced its plans to enter the market in Romania. Spark launched its business a year ago in cooperation with the Bulgarian company Eldrive, active in building infrastructure for charging stations for electric cars, and with the Lithuanian e-car sharing company Rideshare.
In September 2017, Spark started its activities with 25 cars in Sofia, but increased its fleet to 100 cars this year. The company plans to expand its fleet in the capital to 400 cars in 2019. Spark grew in Sofia with an investment from the NEVEQ EU Venture Capital Fund. The service quickly found clients in Sofia and is now looking for further expansion to other European capitals. Bucharest is chosen to be the next destination.
In Sofia, the service has over 20.000 users registered in the Spark mobile application allowing them to find and rent cars. Eldrive has more than 60 charging stations in the capital. Users are mostly people with modern urban lifestyle in the 25-40 age group. The service is mostly used as an alternative to private cars, with an average driving time of about 20 minutes or between 8 and 12 kilometers per rental.
You can learn more about Spark and Eldrive from the Bulgarian section of the online media trendingtopics.at