The first 20 electric buses and 82 natural gas buses that are expected to arrive in Sofia by the end of the year have already been produced. In 2019, another 60 new articulated natural gas buses will be purchased. Thus, in 2019, 90% of city transport buses will be renewed and the average age of the fleet will be 6-7 years. By contrast, in 2012, when Sofia Municipality launched its public transport modernization program, the average age of the buses was over 20 years.
The delivery of the new metro trains for the third line of Sofia metro has been launched. The new trains are manufactured by Siemens and are equipped with all modern conveniences for the passengers, as well as with automatic control – automatic starting, automatic braking with an accuracy of up to 20 cm, automatic speed control and road profile. In addition, the stations of the third line will have partition walls for additional passenger safety.
A new system of 22 measuring devices will monitor the air pollution levels in Sofia. The devices will cover the entire territory of the capital and are planned to be operational in 2019. Currently, a public procurement procedure for the implementation of the project is underway with funds from “Effective Use of New AIRTHINGS Technologies for Clean Ambient Air” financed by the Balkan – Mediterranean Program (2014-2020) of the EU.
At present, air quality control is monitored by the national control system, managed by the Executive Environment Agency (EEA), as well as two other networks created by civic initiatives, such as airtube.info and airbg.info, which bring together data from many independent stations to measure fine particulate levels. The desire of Sofia Municipality to have its own system is driven by the fact that the sensors of the EEA do not fully cover the territory of the city and the private networks operate with data from different sensors and the results cannot be considered official.
In addition to the sensors, an Open Data System will also be developed and maintained under the project, to visualize and store all data on ambient air quality. They will be provided to external developers to create different types of applications and services.
Sofia is a leading partner in the AIRTHINGS project as of the end of 2017. Other partners are administrations, educational institutions and NGOs from the cities
Bulgarian American Credit Bank (BACB) and Sofia Municipality announced the launch of a joint program to finance innovative start-ups. The special guarantee scheme of the Municipal Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises is already open for application.
The priority areas of the program are innovations in the field of information and communication technologies, as well as new technologies in the creative and reactive industries.
Start-up companies willing to participate in the program, established no more than 3 years ago and based on the territory of Sofia Municipality, are eligible to apply.
Female entrepreneurs with a Bachelor’s degree in one of the fields of the project, businesses with social and environmental impact, as well as businesses that create new jobs, will be given priority in the program. Guarantees of up to 50% will be secured by the program, as the maximum guarantee amount of the Municipal Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises is BGN 30 000. The guarantee commitment lasts for a period of up to 60 months.
The State Fund of Funds chose the managers of the first two funds to finance start-ups with public resources. A total of BGN 64.7 million of startup capital is provided to the Bulgarian-Italian joint venture AD – Ventures, where Cleantech Bulgaria is a leading partner, and to Next Tech Ventures. The funds are to be used for equity investment in start-ups and for boosting the growth of already established innovative companies.
The new funds were created as a result of the partnership between a public financial instrument – the Seed/Acceleration and Start-up Fund (SASF) co-financed under the ‘Innovation and Competitiveness’ Operational Program on one hand, and the selected private sector partners on the other. Under the terms of the SASF, fund managers will need to add their own funds, as well as to attract private co-investors to the deals.
AD – Ventures joint venture will manage a fund with an initial capital of EUR 14 million and has proposed a total of 215 enterprises for initial investment. Next Tech Ventures will work with already established startups at an acceleration stage and will invest a total of EUR 19.1 million in them. It has proposed a list of 45 enterprises that can be supported under this scheme.
Some 200 startups are expected to be supported within the initial 5-year period for which the funds are created.
SECOND WORKSHOP UNDER THE DIGITAL CITIES CHALLENGE PROJECT / PHASE 2
September 10, 2018
In September, Sofia Investment Agency will organize the Paths of Digital Transformation Workshop as part of the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge project. The workshop is part of Sofia’s participation in the Digital Cities Challenge project /Phase 2: Formulation of a Strategy for the Digital Transformation and Industrial Modernization of Sofia.
The discussion is open for new participants and will be devoted to the roadmap development and the identification of preliminary investment priorities for Sofia’s digital transformation.
If you want to learn more about the project and to book your attendance, please contact Nadia Soultanova, Head of ‘Investment and Business Development’ at Sofia Investment Agency by email: email@example.com.
NEXT BLOCK CONFERENCE: EVOLUTION OF MONEY
September 14, 2018
After a hugely successful first edition in Kyiv, Ukraine, NEXT BLOCK is now coming to Sofia, Bulgaria, on September 14, 2018.
✔ 400+ attendees
✔ 25+ top speakers
✔ Exceptional networking
✔ 20mln+ media reach
✔ 500k+ social media reach
✔ Live online streaming
The event will include engaging panel discussions, fireside chats and presentations; ICO pitch session; exhibition zone where Blockchain ventures, ICOs, and other exhibitors will present latest products, and side events and parties: VIP pre-party dinner with speakers and investors only, followed up with an after-party and more.
For more information please visit the website of the event.
ANIVENTURE COMIC CON 2018
September 15-16, 2018
Aniventure is an annual two-day festival for traditional and modern Japanese culture. It brings together fans of Japanese animation – anime, manga comics, console and computer games, martial arts, cosplay and provides a platform for young talents in the field of art, the production of costumes and accessories, theater, video editing and effects.
This year Aniventure Comic Con will be held on September 15-16, 2018 at Inter Expo Center.
September 15-16, 2018
HackConf is Bulgaria’s premier “by developers, for developers“ motivational and knowledge sharing event. Topics include all walks of software development, regardless of technology stack.
HackConf 2018 lectures will be held in English. The conference will include 2 days fully packed with high-class software development talks and 1 day of interesting and hands on workshops.
Join the event on September 15-16th in the Sofia Tech Park | Innovation Forum John Atanasoff. Special workshops start Friday, September 14.
More about the vent is available
Sofia ranks 94th with an average score of 3.78 / 10 among the 100 smartest and best future prepared cities in the Smart Cities 2017 index. The index measures the extent of implementation of technologies for smart urban management – systems for pollution control, traffic, energy use, etc. The ranking analyzes and evaluates a total of 500 cities around the world. Sofia is the only Bulgarian city in TOP 100.
Smart Cities 2017 was developed by the IT company Easy Park Group, which offers digital parking services in Europe and is engaged in tracking urban parking data. The ambition of the company is to support the development of better, safer, healthier, more efficient and smarter cities of the future.
Easy Park Group has analyzed 500 cities around the world and ranked them in 7 major categories and 19 subcategories, which, according to the study, best define the concept of a “smart city”. Furthermore, an expert assessment of the development of the cities has been provided by over 20 000 journalists in the field of technology and urban planning.
Here are the scores of Sofia by categories:
The top ten cities are Copenhagen, Singapore, Stockholm, Zurich, Boston, Tokyo, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Melbourne. London is positioned 17th (with 7.18), Vienna 32nd (with 6.84), and neighbors Bucharest and Athens – 87th (4.00) and 91st (3.90) respectively.
Another ranking also places Sofia among the smartest cities – the fifth edition of the Cities in Motion Index 2018 of IESE Business School in Barcelona. The ranking positions Sofia on the 101st place among a total of 165 cities in 80 countries. The score is made up of 9 indicators: human capital, social equality, economy, environment, governance, urban planning, international cooperation and transport connectivity.
The leaders in the IESE ranking are again New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Seoul. Geographically, Europe performs best with 12 cities ranked in the top 25 positions, followed by North America with 6 cities, Asia – with 4 (all in the top 10), and Oceania – with 3.
Acronis Enters the Bulgarian Market after the Acquisition of T-Soft
The Singapore-based Acronis, an international leader in cyber security and hybrid cloud solutions, has established its presence in Sofia following the acquisition of the Bulgarian company T-Soft. The two companies have been successfully collaborating since 2012, which motivated Acronis to further explore the investment opportunities for the establishment of its own unit of the company in Sofia.
Acronis has the ambition to gradually create one of the largest engineering offices in the technology sector in Bulgaria. The company starts operations with T-Soft’s team of 25 specialists and plans to expand its staff to 300 people in the next three years. The planned investment in the amount of EUR 43 million aims to develop a key R&D center in Europe with activities that are fully focused on cyber security. The company has already announced 20 job openings for qualified personnel in Sofia.
The establishment of an R&D center in Sofia is part of Acronis’ plans to gain stable positions in Europe. After exploring a number of countries in the region for three years, including Poland, Romania, Serbia, etc., the team of Acronis chose Bulgaria due to the firm’s successful long-term partnership with T-Soft, the presence of qualified experts and the country’s membership in the European Union.
We are happy that the team of the Investment Analysis Department of Sofia Investment Agency was a partner in the process of establishing the Acronis Development Center in Sofia. The Sofia-based T-Soft contacted us for assistance in the process of negotiating the acquisition of the company. By the end of the establishment of Acronis we have provided the following services:
‘Acronis needs more engineers to develop innovative technologies to meet the growing need for cyber security. We are increasing
As many local companies have expressed an interest in the Nordic markets, we are sharing an invitation to join the INNOTECH SUMMIT | DESTINATION NORDICS.
The Summit, which will be held 23-24 October in Stockholm, has been developed to create partnerships between emerging European regions, partners and vendors with Nordic IT leaders.
With over 40 speakers/thought leaders and over 200 decision-makers representing leading Nordic corporations, Emerging Europe experts, service providers, location representatives and associations, the Summit is targeted at Nordic CEOs, CIOs, CDOs, CTOs, CPOs, Heads of Strategic Sourcing & other IT-enabled business services.
The Nordic IT Association boasts 2,700 members, 98% of them end users/buyers, and together with the Alliance is gathering the very best stakeholders from their respective regions.
Amongst the confirmed speakers from the Nordic region are Peter Mikkelsen – VP & Founder of the Nordic Blockchain Association, Alexander Reay – President, Nordic IT Sourcing Association, Anders Lagerqvist – Digital Strategist, Swedish Land Registry, Mika Hakosalo – from the Grow Smarter Project, City of Stockholm and Hans Christian Boos – Managing Director, Arago.
Contributors from Emerging Europe include organisations and businesses such as HfS Research, Bulgarian Outsourcing Association, Deloitte, Hungarian Outsourcing Association, German Outsourcing Association, Pro Progressio, BW Business Bridge, NIX Solutions, Invest Lithuania and the City of Poznan.
Bulgarian stakeholders joining the Summit include Sofia Investment Agency, Musala Soft, ICB and Droxic.
With two specific time slots and dedicated matchmakers, delegates will also benefit from high value network opportunities.
Leading Transformation in the Face of Globalisation/ A New Era of IT Sourcing
Technology continues to enable and drive innovation within industries as Enterprises strive for new capabilities in this hyper competitive marketplace. In response, IT outsourcing continues to grow, with major organisations becoming completely dependent on the effective and predictable service delivery of third party partners and vendors. As this shift continues, from cost to value, companies are finding huge benefit from nearshore destinations, offering a wealth of expertise in areas such as IT & engineering, with the added benefits of a close cultural connectivity.
Nordic InnoTech 2018 has been developed to create partnerships between emerging European regions, partners and vendors with Nordic IT leaders. The Summit has an exciting interactive agenda focused on learning, in-depth knowledge of the latest trends, opportunities and threats facing the business world and its leaders during this exciting phase of transformation.
You can find out more about the
Bulgaria was ranked 29th in terms of number of foreign direct investments attracted in 2017 according to Ernst & Young’s European attractiveness survey. Bulgaria secured 33 FDI projects in 2017 – a slight decrease compared to 2016 when they totaled 36. The new jobs created as a result of FDI were only 2 739 – decrease of 30% on 2016, when the new jobs were 3 959.
The largest investors in Bulgaria were:
The newly created jobs through FDI in Bulgaria were mainly in the field of business services, finance, information technology, transport and logistics.
The countries with the highest FDI growth in 2017 were:
The countries from Central and Eastern European (CEE) continued to attract more FDI than their Western European partners under the auspices of their membership in the European Union (EU), ranking third in attracting investors.
Attractiveness of regions for investors:
The full ranking and analysis of the consulting company are available here.
Two years ago, when Sofia Investment Agency started work, we identified 9 priority sectors for the city. Tourism was naturally one of them.
Our team is glad to present the new Sofia Tourism and Air Transport Report 2018 we’ve been working on for the past two months. In short, for another year in a row, we are in the midst of an unprecedented tourism boom that shows no signs of slowing down. It is visible on the streets and in coffee shops and it did not finish with summer’s end.
The new report has 50 pages and covers a wide range of topics such as the number of tourists by country of origin and reason for visit, the accommodation capacity, traffic at Sofia Airport, opportunities for development of Congress and MICE tourism in the city and trends in the industry.
Here are some of the key points from the report:
As many of you have expressed an interest in the Nordic markets we are sharing an invitation to join the InnoTech Summit | Destination Nordics.
The event is taking place on 23-24 October in Stockholm and is co-organised by The Emerging Europe Alliance for Business Services, Innovation and Technology and the Nordic IT Sourcing Association (2,700 members, 98% of which buyers/end-users).
In this partnership-focused environment, BPO, IT and other services providers from CEE will create meaningful relationships and directly connect with decision-makers (Sourcing Directors, CIOs, CTOs, CEOs) from leading Nordic and global companies such as Ericsson, ICA, Ikea, Nordea, Teliasonera, Electrolux, CISCO, Sony Mobile and Maersk.
The Alliance offers money-back guarantees that ensure a minimum number of local delegates and 1:1 meetings, so you know exactly what you will get.
All sponsorship options come with a full year-long membership of the Alliance.
Companies recommended by the Sofia Investment Agency benefit from a 10% discount in all sponsorship and passes by August 31.
If enough Sofia-based companies are interested we will work to have a special session dedicated to Sofia and Bulgaria during the event.
Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in joining a delegation from Bulgaria.
For more information, please visit www.ee-alliance.com/innotech-stockholm-2018/ or contact directly Emiliano Ramos, Chief Client Officer at Emerging Europe Alliance – email@example.com.
Enterprise Europe Network is the main tool of the European Commission that aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises benefit to the full from the opportunities of the European and global market. The experts from the network provide integrated services and consultations on commercialization of innovations, development of international business and project partnerships, European funding, European standards, CE marking and other issues relevant to the growth of your business.
The network is present in 67 countries and consists of more than 600 specialized business organizations that provide global reach and contacts all over the globe. This year the network celebrates its 10th anniversary since its creation.
How can the network help you?
The Enterprise Europe Network provides the following specialized services and tools to support SMEs:
In Bulgaria, the network is made up of 12 organizations, covering the entire territory of the country, including chambers of commerce and other organizations supporting the business, innovation and technology transfer. Contact the Enterprise Europe Network with the BCCI or another contact point on the EEN Bulgaria website: www.een.bg
For more information:
Enterprise Europe Network
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Tel: +359 2 8117 505/515/525/417
The Enterprise Europe Network at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports innovative Bulgarian enterprises by providing the “Assessment of the Innovation Capacity of SMEs” service using the IMP³rove method.
IMP³rove is a method that thoroughly studies the innovation strategy and vision of the company, the innovation culture, the innovation life cycle and the main factors concerning their better management. The method was developed by A.T. Kearney and the European Commission in order to boost the innovation potential of enterprises in the EU. The assessment is in compliance with the European Innovation Management Standards CEN/TS 16 555-1 and CWA 15899.
Over the last three years, over 100 leading Bulgarian companies from different sectors have benefited from the tool and have received recommendations in the form of an action plan that is fully in line with the client’s needs and sets the necessary steps for creating an innovation strategy, finding new markets and customers, stimulating employee creativity, retaining quality staff, etc. Companies also receive a certificate of a successful assisted IMP³rove assessment, which is in line with the European Innovation Management Standards CEN/TS 16 555-1 and CWA 15899. The assessment is useful for applications under the SME Instrument of the Horizon 2020 program.
BCCI offers free assessment vouchers to companies that meet the following criteria:
Benefits for the companies include:
The assessment process:
Within two hours a certified expert arrives at the company’s office and assists you in answering a series of questions on the management of all processes in the company related to innovation. After the assessment, you receive a report that contains an assessment of your organization’s performance compared to other companies in your sector, a certificate for completed assessment and recommendations for improvement and good practices that you can implement. The submission of information by the applicants is voluntary and is not accompanied by a proof or verification procedure. The information received during the assessment remains strictly confidential.
The submission of the assessment to selected innovative companies is funded under the European Horizon 2020 Program. Companies that are interested
The potential of the most important unit in every economy – the person, is the focus of the first edition of Soft Unit Conference, which will be held on September 28 and 29, 2018, in Sofia Event Center. The event is organized by SoftUni, one of the largest and most respected educational institutions in Bulgaria, in partnership with FlyEvents, and aims to meet people looking for personal and professional development in Bulgaria with the local business and its needs.
Soft Unit Conference targets young talents as well as experts looking for professional development in the field of software development, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, blockchain technology. The main focus of the event is the practical cases and tasks set by some of the most advanced companies on the Bulgarian market, which will enable everyone to challenge themselves and show their knowledge and skills.
More than 25 Bulgarian and international top speakers, entrepreneurs and experts will share their experience, advice and ideas during the conference. In parallel, innovative workshops will be held, and the final will feature a special after party with DJ Doncho and Tita, which will enable people with similar interests and mindset to meet informal, exchange contacts, find answers to some of their issues and gain experience of good practice in their field of activity.
Soft Unit Conference also initiates a campaign with the slogan: Stay here where your story matters! The purpose of the campaign is to include and recognize companies that realize the need for a new perspective and a different approach to young people so they would have a reason to stay in Bulgaria and be the driving force in the technological change that is happening here.
For the country to continue to grow as an innovation and technology center of Eastern Europe, the training, recruitment and development of new staff must be up to date with the latest global trends. Talented and quality professionals need to be aware of the many opportunities that exist in the technology sector in our country and know that they will be able to grow, develop and not only follow but also participate in the creation of global innovations.
Follow the news about the speakers and the Soft Unit Conference program on http://softunit.bg/ and the conference Facebook page: fb.com/SoftUnit.bg. The event is supported by Sofia Municipality, Paradise Center, Visteon Bulgaria and Aeturnity Ventures.
More about SoftUni