The packaging company Multivac opened a new €18.8 million production facility in Sofia. The new manufacturing plant is located in the industrial area of Bozhurishte and has a total surface area of 20,000 square metres. In addition to a factory building for the production of machine parts for packaging equipment, the complex also includes a state-of-the-art warehouse and a logistics centre, a training centre and an administration building. The new building will house the Sales and Service departments, an international shared service centre for IT, the Strategic Purchasing, and Design and Service teams.
150 jobs will be created as a result of the investment. The new plant is Multivac’s first production facility in Eastern Europe and has opened after a construction period of roughly two and a half years. In addition to the new plant in Bulgaria, the German company has eleven additional production sites in Austria, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Finland, the USA, and in Germany, as well as more than 80 sales and service companies worldwide.
The new Southeast Europe Fintech and Innovations 2018 industry report by SeeNews is focusing on the IT sector in Southeast Europe (SEE).
According to the report, Bulgaria is a leader in SEE with the highest number of fintech companies, a total of 70 enterprises, followed by Slovenia and Romania.
Key insights from the Fintech and Innovations 2018 report
Despite the fact that the internet usage in Bulgaria rates below 60% due to the aging population, the country scores much better in the ranking than Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It ranks 3rd right after Slovenia and Croatia, outperforming Serbia, Romania, Moldova, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania. Government support – the other major pillar for the development of national ICT sectors – was assessed as very strong.
The report rates Bulgaria as the country with the biggest development potential, pointing out that its fintech market is still three times narrower than that in Slovenia and Romania, but the unmatched number of fintech companies and the best startup environment in the region can be a basis for a rapid growth.
The market size of the fintech segment in the four EU-member states in the region, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia and Croatia, was estimated at EUR 371 mln in 2017. Although it still represents a very modest part of the IT sector in all countries, fintech is the most dynamic segment and is growing at the highest annual rates, significantly outpacing the IT sector as a whole. Payment transactions and financing are the two largest fintech segments in the SEE region.
SeeNews’s analysis is based on a study by UniCredit Group, The Tenth edition of The Global Innovation Index 2017, and International Telecommunication Union, Measuring the Information Society Report 2017. Detailed data for Bulgaria and the other countries in the SEE region is available here.
Europe’s largest and most influential Business Angel event, The EBAN Annual Congress 2018, took place in Sofia, 25-27 June, at the same time as Europe’s most influential technology event – Webit.Festival Europe 2018. The EBAN conference brought more than 300 elite business angels and investors to Sofia from across Europe, Africa, Asia and the North America.
This was the 18th edition of the annual flagship event by EBAN organized in collaboration with Eleven Ventures and the Bulgarian Association of Business Angels. This year the Congress focused on Digital Transformation, bringing together Business Angels, venture capitalists, corporates, policy-makers and innovators, Seed Funds, Early Stage Market Players and The European Trade Association for Business Angels members. 56 startups pitched their ideas to expert jury members and investors at the EBAN Sofia Startup Competition.
A part of the EBAN Annual Congress, European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot workshop took place on 27 June 2018. EIC presented their SME Instrument that supports top-class innovators with funding opportunities and acceleration services. The Bulgarian Endurosat was presented at the workshop as one of the EIC SME Instrument funded companies, listed amongst Europe’s 200 most promising startups.
EBAN Sofia 2018 booklet is available at http://www.ebansofia2018.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/BOOKLET-FOR-WEBSITE-COMPRESSED.pdf
The first Balkan Hackathon, organized by the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association, the State e-Government Agency, Sofia Tech Park and Webit Foundation, is now over. Thirty teams from 9 Balkan countries took part in the 24-hour challenge, 24 managed to present a working demo to the jury.
Nine teams reached the final round. Team Ethereal from Kosovo developed a “smart family” mobile app – for sharing responsibilities between family members, shopping, paying utilities and family budgeting. Team Swift from Macedonia developed a virtual administrative assistant – a messaging app for communicating with local government authorities: citizens can ask questions and receive answers generated by an AI algorithm. Two teams from ELSYS reached the finals – Infinity+1 and Hushovete. Hushovete developed a voice assistant for the visually impaired using both software and hardware on Raspberry Pi. Infinity+1 prototyped an accessibility AI that can interpret and summarize the content of text files and images. Wakanda Forever from Bulgaria created a model of an online university for peer-to-peer learning. Another Bulgarian finalist – Spoko – developed a working demo of Ana, their Bulgarian-speaking equivalent of Alexa and Google Home, trained for 24 hours to read news articles and turn home appliances on and off.
The main prize of 5000 euro, provided by A1, and an invitation to Europe Code Week in Brussels from the European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel was awarded to the Bulgarian team BookvAR and their education app for augmented reality textbooks. The team was also awarded the special prize of 500 euro from the Ministry of Education and Science.
Second place went to another Bulgarian team – XPNCTO – who presented a gamified app for monetizing good citizenship: donating blood, planting trees, volunteering, and other deeds with a positive social impact reward citizens with a virtual currency that can be used to access public services like parking, tickets to museums and concerts. The second place award is 2500 euro.
Third place went to a team from Serbia – Balkan Reconnect – who created an online marketplace for products made by Balkan artisans and won 1500 euro. The cash prizes for the third and second place were provided by Sofia Municipality (Sofia Development Association).
In addition, several other special prizes were announced. Green Sofia awarded 500 euro to team Waste Heat Map from Macedonia for their app on reporting
A meeting of the heads of the investment agencies of EU countries took place in Sofia on June 20th. The “Investment Promotion Agencies: Empowering Innovative Europe” meeting was held within the program of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The event was organized by Invest Bulgaria Agency (IBA) and was also attended by Sofia Investment Agency. The conference was devoted to the future of the European investment policy aimed to further develop innovation as part of the common objectives and key priorities for the new EU’s industrial strategy.
The forum was attended by representatives of the member states of the European Union, the Western Balkans, Turkey and the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA). The participants shared their previous experience and planned actions to implement more innovations within manufacturing, the introduction of sustainable innovations as well as industry digitization in order to secure the future benefits of the European industry in an increasingly competitive global economic environment.
During the first session, Prof. Stefan Skeppers, Secretary General of the High Level Group on Innovation Policy Management, presented the topic ‘Recognizing the Union’s Strategic Goals in the Field of Innovation’.
The second session focused on ‘European Practices and Models for Funding and Promoting Innovation’. The topic was presented by Prof. Nicola Reddy, managing partner of Venture Factory. The participants discussed the capabilities of national agencies to look for new practices to attract investment aimed at rapid development and implementation of innovations in practice.
The discussion panel “Innovators and Their Perspectives on European and International Level” had its main focus on the human factor in the development of innovations. The participants discussed issues related to the provision of a good educational process, the challenges young people have to face and their opportunities to take leadership positions in the development of technologies and the implementation of their achievements in the economy. Priority was given to the integration of the Western Balkans and the need to link the financial, social, technical and commercial infrastructures in a move to attract high-tech investments and ensure the development of the region.
On May 14, Google launched its Digital Garage project /learndigital.withgoogle.com/digitalengarazh/ in cooperation with SoftUni Digital /digital.softuni.bg/ and in partnership with the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 12 consultants specially trained by Google, will hold free seminars and individual trainings in more than 37 cities in Bulgaria. The trainers will focus on the opportunities provided by the digital world and will train representatives and owners of small and medium-sized companies as well as anyone willing to expand their digital skills, in using online growth tools.
Google plans to train 15 000 people from small and medium-sized companies by the end of the year. Detailed information on the tour schedule and how to sign up for the program is published on the website.
What is Digital Garage?
Digital garage is a free of charge program that helps people to improve their digital skills. The program offers online and offline training created by Google that help the business to grow online at its own pace and through flexible and personalized training. The campaign in Bulgaria started in May 2018 and will continue until the end of 2018.
Why is online presence so important to small and medium-sized enterprises?
70% of people in Bulgaria use the Internet for personal purposes
55% of people in Bulgaria use smartphones
48% of people in Bulgaria using the Internet shop online
56% of people in Bulgaria using the Internet compare services and products online before buying
In order to reach the goal of the project, our digital consultants will hold a number of free seminars and individual consultations. You can also sign up for an individual consultation here. You can register on the official website of Digital Garage.
Hotel & Tourism Investment Forum I 6-7 June 2018
The Hotel & Tourism Investment Forum (HTIF) is a unique gathering of industry influencers and practitioners as well as key experts in tourism and hospitality investments, active or interested in the Southeastern European markets.
This dynamic networking and deal-making conference is an opportunity to gain insights on major industry trends from the top minds in hospitality and to network with peers and prospects. Attendees include hospitality investors, developers, operators, management companies, lenders, hotel owners, hotel buyers, construction companies, architects and leading suppliers.
For more information, please visit http://htif.eu/
SHARE Sofia 2018 I 7 June 2018
SHARE Sofia 2018 brings together principal and senior architects from leading practices to discuss various topics and gain inspiration from each other.
Architects from 11 countries will present their international and awarded projects: Bulgaria, Belgium, UK, Iran, Romania, Turkey, Poland, The Netherlands, France, Italy and the USA.
The lectures are concentrated on the present and future, innovations in architecture and engineering, on explorations of new materials and technologies for designing a smart and sustainable built environment.
For more information, please visit the web page of the event.
Eastern Europe Tech Tour in Sofia I 12-13 June 2018
The first edition of the Eastern Europe Tech Tour in Sofia will take place on June 12-13, 2018.
The Tech Tour initiative aims to discover local heroes in high-tech entrepreneurship. The region of Eastern Europe is realizing one of the highest economic growth and is also a hotspot for thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems that have generated $5 billion in liquidity back to investors in the past few years. That’s why this year Sofia is also on the radar of the initiative.
Entrepreneurial companies will present their business to an invited delegation of 40 international investors active in the region, as well as to 40 local investors and regional key players.
The objectives of the Tech Tour are to identify the next wave of top privately held companies from the Eastern European countries, as well as to promote investment and partnering by introducing a delegation of international investors and top European entrepreneurs to the key players in this region.
Innovative Enterprise Week Sofia 2018 I 14-15 June 2018
The Innovative Enterprise Week Sofia 2018 aims at raising awareness of
Impactful and futuristic – that’s how Webit – the influential Forum for Innovation, Policies, Investments, Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship in Europe for 2018 can be described!
This year the festival doubled its size and moves to a new venue – Arena Armeec!
A new special Lounge has been announced – Webit Fountain Networking Lounge!
The New Fountain Lounge adds to the number of other special lounges that people may join and have 1:1 or group business meetings while at Webit.
The Dancing Webit Fountain and the water mirror around which people can network will be built for Webit attendees only and it will last only 3 days within the festival!
As it grows, Webit is taking on new initiatives with which to continue its mission – creating density of opportunities towards a better future.
Webit is giving 5000 free tickets to the most talented and successful students in Bulgaria
On June 27th at 19:00 in Arena Armeec, the smartest and most hard working young people aged between 16 and 23 will get the chance to see the future within the special Webit.X and get access to things that the majority their peers in Europe and the world would only see on TV or online.
They will not only see, but will have close contact with some of the greatest modern technological inventions, such as the humanoid robot with citizenship – Sophia, the personal flight system of the Future – Iron Man, cyborg – a symbiosis between man and machine, “people of the future” and many others.
The Webit.X project is organized and funded by Webit, with the help of the Ministry of Education, which will select and award the most talented and successful students of Bulgaria, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, which supports the project logistically, the National Council of Rectors and the National Students Councils that will select the best and most successful students in the country. Patron of the project is the Mayor of Sofia.
Webit also provides 1000 free* tickets for women in politics, technology and academia.
* 10 EUR handling and transaction fee applies per ticket
The occasion for this initiative is EU Commissioner and Webit’s chair of the Plenary session, Mrs. Maria Gabriel’s mission to empower women in business and politics.
“On a personal level as investor – I
Programmers from all Balkan countries will meet in Sofia, at the science and technology park Sofia Tech Park on June 27-28, to encode the digital future of Europe.
‘Balkan Hackathon 2018 – Breaking the Digital Borders’ will gather the best programmers, start-ups and established IT companies from all Balkan countries to find prototype solutions to the challenges related to Europe’s digital future and the digital connectivity in the Balkans. The projects should aim at improving online government tools, as well as protecting privacy and citizens’ security in a connected world, making technologies more accessible to all citizens, regardless of their location, age, sex and occupation.
The participants will compete for cash prizes provided by Mtel, Sofia Municipality and the EC Representation in Bulgaria. Furthermore, the winning team will attend the events during ‘Europe Code Week 2018 ‘ in Brussels at the invitation by the EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
The working language of the Balkan Hackathon is English, and participants should register by June 1 on the website of the Hackathon: www.balkanhackathon.eu
The Balkan Hackathon ‘Breaking the Digital Borders’ is under the patronage of the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel, the Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU Council Lilyana Pavlova and the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova. It is organized by the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality, the State E-Government Agency, Sofia Development Association, the Webit Foundation and Sofia Tech Park.
This October Sofia will be able to boast with its own forum and expo dedicated to the automotive industry and the automotive parts and components market. AUTOMOTIVE FORUM & EXPO 2018, SOFIA will be the first of its kind for Bulgaria. The first edition of the Forum will be held from 18 to 21 October 2018. The event will be supported by AUTOMECHANIKA – the largest international exhibition in the automotive industry and will take place a few days after the end of the German exhibition in Frankfurt am Main.
At a special press conference the organizers – Inter Expo Center and Automotive Cluster Bulgaria – announced that AUTOMOTIVE FORUM & EXPO 2018, SOFIA aims to cover all types of new technologies, electric vehicles, auto parts and components, garage and service equipment, accessories and consumables for light and commercial vehicles. The exhibition agenda will include an international conference with proven global automotive managers who will present the most successful automotive projects in Eastern Europe and Bulgaria. A B2B platform for international meetings and a career days event for automotive and IT professionals will also be part of the EXPO agenda. Special attention will be paid to the future development of the automotive industry over the next decade through future technology demonstrations: Industry 4.0, EVs, fast charging, hybrid cars and autonomous technologies.
In an interview for SeeNews, Lyubomir Stanislavov, the CEO of Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, announced the nascency of another ambitious project – the set up of an automotive R&D centre in Sofia Tech Park. The implementation of the Centre will create some 4,000 jobs, Lyubomir Stanislavov says in the interview. The R&D facility in Sofia will cover an area of over 50,000 sq. m and will include a lab, a training and an education centre.
Automotive Cluster Bulgaria is a non-profit organisation representing the interests of automotive manufacturers, suppliers and organisations providing services for the automotive industry. The cluster was established in 2012 and currently has more than 130 members. The industry hires about 40,000 employees in Bulgaria.
The EBAN Annual Congress is one of Europe’s largest and most international Business Angel events. The event also hosts the EBAN General Assembly, held annually by EBAN, members and partners. This year’s event is the 18th in a raw and will be held in Sofia on 25-27 June 2018.
The European Trade Association for Business Angels, Seed Funds and Early Stage Market Players – EBAN, is the pan-European representative for the early stage investor gathering over 150 member organizations from more than 50 countries today. Established in 1999 by a group of pioneer angel networks in Europe with the collaboration of the European Commission, EBAN invests 7.5 billion euros a year and plays a vital role in the funding of SMEs across Europe. EBAN fuels Europe’s growth through the creation of wealth and jobs.
Among the members of the Association are business angels, venture capitals and accelerators, electronic funding platforms, associate and other early stage market players. In its 18 years of presence, EBAN is setting professional standards, provides training and certification, benchmarking, research, networking and lobbying, as well as cross-border syndication and co-investment support.
Please follow the link for videos from EBAN’s past events across Europe and coming soon updates on the venue and the programme of the Congress.
Bulgaria’s first ever Biotech Atelier will be held on September 25, 2018, at the John Atanasoff Innovation Centre in Sofia Tech Park (https://biotech-atelier.com/).
The aim of the initiative is to gather leading Bulgarian and international experts in the fields of value-based healthcare, intellectual property, real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE), health technology assessment (HTA), entrepreneurship in the field of biotechnology, and many more.
Among the main goals of the high-profile event is to trigger the Bulgarian biotech ecosystem, which, according to the organizers, has a good potential to grow and develop in the right direction. In addition to that, by organizing sessions focused on the financial instruments for developing projects and ideas in this field, the event aims to support innovation, creativity, the entrepreneurial spirit and the skills of the young Bulgarian specialists in the field of biotechnology.
Organizers of the event are Prescriptia, the Bulgarian Association for Personalised Medicine (BAPEMED) and the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLF). The Atelier is already supported by the British Council, the Bulgarian Association of Clinical Research (BACR), and the Medical University of Plovdiv.
The list of speakers has grown significantly during the last few weeks and now includes: Mr. Bogi Eliasen (Associated Partner at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, Denmark), Prof. Dr. Annemieke J.M. Roobeek (Chair for Strategy, Nyenrode Business University, the Netherlands); Dr. Stoyan Radkov (Director & Founder of Priority IP Ltd., UK), Dr. Rossen Koytchev (CEO of CCDRD AG, Germany), Edward Abrahams, PhD (President of Personalized Medicine Coalition, USA), and Daniel Granfeldt, PhD (Senior Manager, Health Economics & Outcomes Research of Nordic Health Economics AB, Sweden).
If you decide to register for the Atelier, do not forget that the event organizers can certify your attendance and will issue a Certificate of Attendance upon your request. Check the box “I want to receive an Attendance Certificate” at the bottom of the registration form here.
Early bird tickets are now available until July 24th. To encourage young people to take part in the Atelier and to help them join the biotech ecosystem, the organizers offer students tickets at 75% off the regular passes.