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.
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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 and Medium-Sized Enterprises is a dedicated
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
The Digital Transition partnership Programme was presented at SOFIA’s PLACE in the exhibition area of Webit.Festival Europe 2018. The partnership is part of the EU initiative Urban agenda for the EU. Sofia was selected as a co-coordinator of the partnership at the end of 2016 with Estonia and Oulu, Finland.
The project’s coordinators Veronika Manova and Mika Rantakokko presented the objectives of the program – to identify and implement new measures and solutions for improving the legislation in Europe, to finance urban policies and training programs to facilitate digital transition in Europe.
The European administrations, together with society and businesses, should envisage in the action plan of the program activities to provide better public services to citizens, promote innovation and create new business opportunities for growth for the European cities.
The team of Sofia Investment Agency initiated the presentation of the project at Webit 2018 because of the importance of its goals for the future of cities, society and business, as well as its similarities with the goals of Digital Cities Challenge (DCC), another project of the European Commission which Sofia will take part in. The DCC initiative aims to support the 15 European cities in initiatives for digital transformation of the urban environment and society. The implementation of the project is coordinated by a team of Sofia Investment Agency. Joint working meetings with the Digital Transition team are scheduled in July and September, as stakeholders in both projects are the institutions, the academic community and the private business. We believe that their guidelines and cooperation in the initiatives will help to identify specific implementation projects that are beneficial to the goals of both programs.
The development of the action plan for the partnership on Digital Transition is in its final stage. An introduction to the draft action plan is available here and the presentation of the coordinators Veronika Manova and Mika Rantakokko at Webit 2018 – here.
You can read more about the Digital Transition partnership on the EU’s website for the program: https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/digital-transition
Introduction to the Draft Action Plan of the Partnership on Digital Transition is available here.
Locally, the initiative is coordinated by Sofia Development Association – http://www.sofia-da.eu
The Financial Times in partnership with the Bulgarian office of the London-based consulting company Xoomworks is establishing a research and development center in Sofia. The technology team will be responsible for maintaining FT.com’s internal systems – subscription software, data domains, content publishing and distribution, billing and payments, finance and taxation reporting, corporate licensing, and more.
The Financial Times is one of the world’s leading business news and information organizations with more than 900 thousand subscribers across print and digital products. It provides a broad range of services, including news, comments, data, and analyses.
Sofia was selected due to its location and fast access to Financial Times’s head office in London, as well as for its technology talent pool. The company will hire 100 people over the next 12 months in the following directions: software engineers, business analysts and project and product management specialists.
An Entrepreneurship Fostering Procedure with a Total Budget of BGN 67 Mln Has Been Announced
The procedure for submitting project proposals under the “Innovation and Competitiveness” 2014-2020 Operational Program is now open. BG16RFOP002-2.024 “Promotion of Entrepreneurship” grants a total amount of BGN 67 227 768.06 under the procedure. The funds will be used for the establishment and development of new start-up companies and the market realization of their products. The minimum amount of the requested grant is BGN 50 000 and the maximum totals BGN 200 000, with a maximum intensity of the funding of 80%.
The grant procedure is implemented with the financial support of the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund. Applications shall be submitted only electronically with a valid Qualified Electronic Signature (QES) through the E-application module at https://eumis2020.government.bg. All documents related to the terms of application and the implementation of the activities are available on the website of the operational program at www.opic.bg
The procedure has two deadlines for submission of project proposals: by 16:30 on 05.09.2018 and by 16:30 on 07.11.2018. Feel free to ask questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bulgarian company for semantic software Ontotext, part of Sirma Group Holding AD, won funding in the amount of BGN 779 605 under the Innovation and Competitiveness Operational Program. The funding will be used to implement the ‘Іntеllіgеnt Mаtсhіng аnd Lіnkіng оf Orgаnіzаtіоn Dаtа frоm Dіffеrеnt Sоurсеѕ – СІМА’ project for a period of two years.
In order to implement the project, Ontotext will use technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and semantic modelling to link and integrate corporate data from different sources. The end product will be an in-depth tool for integrating heterogeneous data into market and business analyzes that are critical to various business operations such as customer relation management, attracting of new users, marketing campaigns, supply chain management, market analyses, study of competition, mergers and acquisitions, etc.
Ontotext was founded in 2000 as a technology lab at the Bulgarian software group Sirma Group Holding. In 2008, it spun off in an independent company and attracted funding from the venture capital fund NEVEQ. At the start of this year, the company announced a key partnership with the Canadian DrugBank, one of the leading databases in the field of pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. In April, it was announced that NEVEQ had sold its 26.06% stake in Ontotext to Sirma Group Holding, the majority owner of Ontotext, for EUR 4.2 million.
Under the funded project, Ontotext plans to use its long-term expertise and experience in the field of cognitive data analysis, on which the Ontotext Platform had been created. The platform facilitates the analysis of data from heterogeneous sources and the integration of structured information and texts in knowledge graphs, which include information on billions of concepts and on the relations between them.
You can find more details on the specifics of the developed product in the official press release of the company here.
Another Bulgarian company, still in its start-up phase, will gain an opportunity to grow and develop in the field of artificial intelligence, machine self-learning and processing of natural language and algorithms. The newly established Connecto.ai was acquired by Leanplum, a company for mobile marketing, co-founded by the Bulgarian entrepreneur Momchil Kyurkchiev. Connecto.ai has a team of 10 employees in Sofia and offers automated online customer service through chat boards. By being part of Leanplum, Connecto.ai will expand its portfolio of online marketing solutions
We are happy to announce that Sofia Investment Agency has been invited and will participate in the presentation of Bulgaria at EXPO REAL 2018 – Munich, the biggest real estate and investment fair in Europe. Our country will take part at the exhibition and will be presented as a real estate investment destination at the initiative of the Association of Commercial Building Owners in Bulgaria (ACBO).
EXPO REAL is the most prestigious real estate exhibition in Europe and this will be our country’s first major participation at the forum. This year, the exhibition in Munich will take place between October 8-10, and Bulgaria will present projects of six leading companies with diverse portfolios, including office buildings, commercial and logistic parks, hotels and residential buildings. Bulgaria’s exhibition area will be of 100 sq. m. The ACBO initiators aim to present the experience of the companies operating in Bulgaria, as well as their most innovative achievements in order to make the country more visible and attractive for international investors.
Our team will be involved in the presentation of Bulgaria at EXPO REAL as an institutional partner together with the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
‘It is very important for foreign investors to have institutional support. By preparing and implementing this participation, we will start a sustainable model of cooperation between institutions and business in the real estate sector and will send a positive message to the European market’, Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency, said on the occasion of the Agency’s participation in the presentation of the country in Munich.
Top 100 of Technology Companies in Bulgaria – Awarding Ceremony
July 9, 2018
For the third year in a row, ICT Media will award the winners of the “Top 100 Technology Companies in Bulgaria” specialized edition. This year’s ranking is based again on objective financial criteria, such as the profits and activity gross income for 2017 of Bulgarian and international companies from the telecommunication, IT and outsourcing sectors operating on the Bulgarian market. The awards are divided into 8 main categories by sectors. In addition, two major awards will be given to telecommunication service providers and to companies that are developing, providing and introducing solutions and services in the field of information and communication technologies.
The event will include representatives of the largest IT companies in the country, IT managers, business development managers, as well as representatives of the public administration.
Learn more about the event here – https://events.ictmedia.bg/event/85
A to JazZ Returning to Sofia for the Eighth Consecutive Year
July 6, 7 and 8, 2018
The international A to JazZ Festival will be held for the eighth consecutive time in Sofia. One of the most anticipated musical events in the capital this year will take place on July 6-8 at its usual location – the vast meadow of South Park II. The festival is held with the exclusive support of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, Sofia Municipality and the Ministry of Culture.
The program of the A to JazZ Festival 2018 includes again some of the biggest names on the global, Bulgarian and European jazz scene. The festival has free access and the program for the three days of the event is available on the Facebook page of the fest: https://www.facebook.com/events/611384229213478/
July 11, 2018
‘The Digital Knowledge and Innovation Conference – DigiThink 2030’ mainly aims to provide information on the ‘Erasmus + Design of Digital Innovation’ project and to present new concepts, themes, teaching methodologies, training programs, best practices and teaching materials, which the program offers in the field of lifelong learning, the building of key competences in a world of digitization and economies that are transformed into ‘knowledge economies’.
The main topic of the lectures and the discussions will be “What are the new roles and skills of the people in the organizations”. The forum is suitable for IT specialists, managers, R&D experts, entrepreneurs, students, startups, management consultants,
On June 23, a new type of children’s interactive technology center opened in Sofia. It is a place where children of different ages can learn about different fields of science through play and experiments. The center called TechnoMagicLand is located in Sofia Tech Park, in the Experimentarium building. The facility covers an area of 1 300 sq m and offers nearly 40 interactive and cognitive experiments in the fields of natural sciences, mathematics and information technology – the so-called STEM fields. Furthermore, TechnoMagicLand has a demonstration space and laboratories for workshops and events in the field of science and technology. The place is suitable for individual and group visits, as most of the exhibits are accessible for people with disabilities, and the explanations for the facilities are both in Bulgarian and English.
TechnoMagicLand is suitable for children over the age of 7 and is open every day, excluding Mondays. Find more at www.TechnoMagicLand.com
A plan for 15 new metro stations in the capital is in a stage of public consultation before becoming a subject of a voting procedure by the City Council. The new stations are in line with the expansion of the third ray of the Sofia metro and will be in the following neighborhoods: Lyulin – between the second and the third micro-district, Mladost – in the direction of Simeonovski lift, Studentski grad – to the National Sports Academy and in ‘Slatina’ district.
A new mobile application, serving as a virtual guide for cultural events, historical sites and tourist routes in Sofia, was created. The application, funded under the “Culture” Program of Sofia Municipality, provides information on the nearest tourist sites depending on the current location and offers visits to museums, galleries, churches, hiking trails, traditional cuisine restaurants, events (including theater, ballet, opera and concerts). The application called Sofia CulTour was developed by Baise Systems Ltd., the creators of the Listen Up platform that provides real time sign language and speech-to-text translation for deaf people.
The “Green zone” for parking in Sofia is planned to be extended this autumn. It is envisaged that the zone for paid parking will also cover the upper part of Lozenets residential district, part of Krasno selo, between “I. Geshov “,”P. Slaveykov”,” Totleben” and “G.Sofiyski” boulevards, part of “Vazrazhdane” district – between “K. Velichkov”, “Slivnitsa”, “Al. Stamboliyski” boulevards and “D. Petkov” and “Opalchenska”, and Oborishte district
The International Business Alliance.Bulgaria, a London-based company created by two Bulgarians, launched the one of a kind online business network of international business and culture with a Bulgarian connection. The alliance aims to bring together representatives of the entrepreneurship, investment and finance sphere, cultural industries, education, philanthropy on a global level.
The networking platform www.ibaconnect.com already has more than 220 members from over 15 countries and 4 continents. The first members include institutions, business associations, professionals from different business sectors, entrepreneurs, experts, journalists, etc.
The founders and the team of the International Business Alliance.Bulgaria are developing the new network in order to provide a direct contact between the users to cooperate with ideas and partnerships to develop and expand the business in new markets and in new directions.
‘Effective, successful and a must in this global business world – that’s how I see the opportunity for Bulgarians with businesses around the world, as well as their foreign partners, to communicate directly. Everyone knows the conditions of the particular market where they work best, and can help with experience and knowledge’, Miroslav Bogdantsaliev, one of the founders of the platform, entrepreneur and investor, says.
The platform offers a number of attractive business opportunities. Users can share business projects in a move to attract partners and investments, offer and seek employment, consult international experts, or contact the official Ambassadors of the Alliance on local market and regulatory issues. The online network allows users to create and participate in professional groups and events, share articles and news from their business activities, benefit from different advertising and communication options.
Currently, the team is also working on the IBA Institute, an educational section, where platform members will be able to take part in video trainings, webinars, online and offline events, etc. with the participation of international experts and consultants in various business and cultural fields.
The International Business Alliance.Bulgaria project also includes the creation of an official print media – the bilingual business magazine Elysium. The magazine targets the Bulgarian embassies, the members of the platform, Bulgarian and foreign business and cultural organizations around the globe, investors, entrepreneurs, etc.
The first of its kind online business network dedicated to international business with a Bulgarian connection aims to provide interactive, fast and reliable communication between Bulgarian entrepreneurs and their foreign partners. Paola Minekova, co-founder of the