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.
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
Our monthly newsletter provides information on upcoming international trade exhibitions and fairs where you can introduce your business to a professional audience and potential partners and customers. Registration for participation in such forums usually takes place weeks and even months before the start of the events. The trade fairs listed below will take place in October, so you have the necessary time to prepare your application.
Arena of Beauty, Bulgaria
05-07 Oct 2018 I Beauty and health fair
The Arena of Beauty is a national fair for hairdressing, cosmetics, manicure, pedicure, SPA & Wellness. It is held twice a year – in spring and in autumn. The event gathers professionals from all branches of the beauty industry – cosmetologists, dermatologists, hair stylists, manicurists and pedicurists, plastic surgeons, salon managers and many more.
Website and organizer: www.arenaofbeauty.bg
Education Beyond Borders Sofia, Bulgaria
22-24 Oct 2018 I The biggest educational exposition in Bulgaria
Education Beyond Borders Sofia is the biggest international education and career oriented fair in Bulgaria. The Exhibition gives an opportunity to the leading experts in the education and training industries, as well as to representatives of top schools, universities, language and educational organizations to share and exchange their new and innovative ideas. Education Beyond Borders is organized in cooperation with Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of Education of Bulgaria.
Stroiko Sofia, Bulgaria
24-28 Oct 2018 I Exhibition for architecture, building and furnishing
Stroiko Sofia will take place between 24-28 October 2018 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia, Bulgaria. The event is the largest trade fair for architecture, construction, and furnishing.
IDC IT Security Roadshow, Bulgaria
30 Oct 2018 I Secure applications, Cloud & Security
IDC IT Security Roadshow is a 1 day event being held on 30th Oct 2018 at the Sofia Hotel Balkan, Bulgaria. This event showcases products and experts in the IT & Technology industry. DC Security Roadshow 2018 will examine the current security landscape and explore the challenges that organizations are likely to encounter as they embark on their digital transformation efforts. It will also explore the issues that organizations will need to address in the digitally transformed era and outline what factors they need to consider in their security road maps for the future.
ISAF 2018, Turkey
11- 14 Oct 2018 I Security and Safety
ISAF 2018, the meeting point of
For the second year in a row Sofia Investment Agency hosted SOFIA’s PLACE in the exhibition area of Webit.Festival Europe 2018. SOFIA’s PLACE welcomed hundreds of guests with a prepared program, presentations and opportunities for business meetings with foreign and Bulgarian partners.
SOFIA’s PLACE agenda has been jointly implemented by Sofia Tourism Administration, Sofia Development Association, the Green Sofia project and the Municipal Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. We are extremely grateful to all participants in the presentations – to our colleagues from Vienna and Gothenburg, who shared their valuable business experience and ideas for management of urban environment, business and investments; to the organizations that presented ideas for working communication between institutions and citizens and practices that turn Sofia and its citizens into a smart city and society; and to all Sofia entrepreneurs who presented the vitality and ambition for growth of the business eco-system in Sofia, by introducing the products and services they develop with their teams in the capital.
You can learn more about the participants in the program of SOFIA’s PLACE, download some of their presentations from the links below and benefit from the ideas and contacts that the participants shared at Webit.Festival Europe 2018.
Vienna Business Agency, Austria
Vienna business agency is part of the general administration of the Austrian capital.
The agency offers a business program to attract investors and supports companies that want to open offices in Vienna. The presentation Vienna: A great place to live and do business is available for download here.
Business Region Göteborg is an organization engaged in the development of the second largest city in Sweden as well as 13 municipalities in the region. The presentation Innovative Growth – Meeting the sustainability challenges with a diversified approach is available here. It also includes a presentation of Connect Sverige, a non-profit organization, funded by local government and industry, which connects growing companies with capital and key skills and contacts. The Connect Sverige network of more than 30 000 highly qualified specialists and over 500 angel investors covers all of Sweden. Connect works hard to develop its investment network at regional, national and international level.
The Municipal Guarantee Fund for Small
Mrs. Sabine Ohler, head of International Business Development, and Mr. Nikolay Rodimov, regional manager of Vienna Business Agency, visited Sofia on June 25-27 at the invitation of Sofia Investment Agency. They took part in Meet Vienna Business Agency: Opportunities for Bulgarian Companies, an open meeting held on June 25 with Sofia entrepreneurs. In addition, they also attended and participated in the presentations on June 26-27 in the exhibition area of Sofia at Webit.Festival Europe 2018. The presentations at the meetings covered topics on Vienna’s business environment, good examples of the city’s management and opportunities that Sofia entrepreneurs can benefit from in case of interest in business start in Vienna and Austria.
The meeting Meet Vienna Business Agency: Opportunities for Bulgarian companies, organized by our team with the support of Eurocomm-PR, gathered more than 60 Sofia-based companies interested in business in Vienna. Mrs. Sabine Ohler presented the city’s policy in support of private business, priority industries and incentives which startups can benefit from in the Austrian capital.
In Vienna, only in 2017 a total of 190 companies started business, thus opening 1000 new jobs and bringing investments of over half million euro in the city. The Austrian capital is attractive to foreign investors not only due to its favorable geographic location in the heart of Europe but also because Vienna is an international center for organizations all over the world, home to 14 international schools and over 1500 research and development organizations. International companies feel good in this environment and have access to numerous talents among more than 200 000 students from all over the world.
Foreign investors within the Information and Telecommunication Technologies sector are interested in Vienna as the city is home to both large international companies and numerous startups with small teams of less than 10 people. Another priority sector with strong traditions is the biotechnology sector and the so-called life sciences. A number of co-working spaces and business incubators offer startup support packages for foreign entrepreneurs willing to set up business in Vienna. In addition to grants, startups in certain sectors also benefit from various tax reliefs.
It was very important to the businesses in Sofia, which show increasing interest in partnerships in Vienna, to find out what incentives the city offers for Sofia companies. A cooperation agreement between the two cities will allow more Austrian businesses to access more easily and with more