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.
23 – 25 August 2018 | International Chemical Technology & Equipment Fair
The China Chemical Technology & Equipment Fair (CTEF) takes place at Shanghai New International Expo Centre in Shanghai. With 450+ exhibitors from about 40 countries, TEF is China’s largest trade show of its kind. Visitors can have a look at the most innovative technologies, products, production processes and markets of the industry. For exhibitors the fair constitutes a great opportunity to promote their products as well to enter new markets. For its tenth anniversary edition the event will focus on industrial development and economic growth.
Internationale Funkausstellung IFA, Berlin
31 Aug – 05 Sep 2018 | The World’s Largest Trade Fair for Consumer Electronics
IFA has been recognized as the world’s largest public exhibition of consumer electronics and also the largest order for trade. The fair is a showcase for innovation and future-oriented technologies. Traditionally a large number of new technologies and products experience their premiere at the IFA. Thousands of national and international journalists guarantee maximum publicity. The IFA offers a unique combination of markets and an ideal platform for international traders, buyers, consumers and industry. The IFA 2018 is expecting 1645 exhibitors and 245 000 visitors.
TeleNet Fair, Lucerne
04 – 06 September 2018 | International Trade Fair for Networking, Communications, Building Control Systems, Instrumentation, Fiber Optics and Telecommunications
The TeleNetfair in Lucerne, Switzerland is an international trade fair for networking, communications, building control systems, instrumentation, fiber optics and telecommunications. Every two years it offers the industry a place where they can maintain and build their networks and partnerships. The fair offers a central platform for information exchange between suppliers and professional users in a pleasant business atmosphere. In 2016, TeleNetfair welcomed about 90 exhibitors and 3500 visitors.
China Composites Expo, Shanghai
05 – 07 September 2018 | International Trade Fair and Forum for Composites, Technologies And Applications
China Composites Expo covers the entire spectrum from raw materials to finished products, and the latest manufacturing technologies and various applications of reinforced plastics in product demonstrations. The aim of China Composites Expo is to meet the needs of the market. The demand for composites in China has been increasing for years, especially in the following user industries: wind energy, automotive, aviation and shipping.
ProCredit Bank Bulgaria Increases its Support for SMEs through an Agreement with the EBRD
ProCredit Bank will be provided with some fresh EUR 50 million from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bulgaria. Within the project, the two banks will aim to improve the access of SMEs – the driving force behind the positive economic development of Eastern and Southeastern Europe – to long-term funding.
EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Bulgaria. The Bank focuses on enhancing private sector competitiveness, supporting the financial sector and reducing infrastructure gaps. To date, the Bank has invested EUR 3.7 billion in 248 investment projects in the country. The opportunities for business funding through ProCredit Bank have been published on the site of the institution here.
BGN 62 million Procedure for Startups under OPIC
This month, the Operational Program “Innovation and Competitiveness” (OPIC) opened a procedure for BGN 62 million, dedicated to startups. About 400 new companies are expected to receive grants from the program. The budget of the OPIC for this year under various procedures totals BGN 400 million. All opportunities and current procedures can be found on the site of the Operational Program here.
Agreement between Sofia Municipality and DSK Bank for Funding of Innovative Startups
Sofia Municipality launched a program for funding of innovative start-ups aimed at facilitating access to financial resources through the Municipal Guarantee Fund for SMEs in partnership with DSK Bank. The Municipal Guarantee Fund will issue credit guarantees and will share a portion of the credit risk with the creditor bank by guaranteeing up to 50% of the credit. The amount for which guarantees will be issued under the program is BGN 600 000 by the end of the year.
The specialized guarantee scheme focuses on the main thematic priorities of the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization of Sofia, including Informatics and Information and Communication Technologies, as well as new technologies in the creative and recreational industries.
More information on the SME credit guarantees issued by the Municipal Guarantee Fund is available here.
Telerik’s founders announced the creation of Campus X – an incubator for startups and developed technology companies, mentors and venture investors. The project was announced a month ago by the co-founders of Telerik and Telerik Academy, who signed a USD 263 million deal to sell Telerik AD to US Progress Software in 2014, making one of the biggest deals in the technology sector in Bulgaria. The new project aims to support the development of start-up companies and accelerate the success of already developed ones.
By the spring of 2019, Campus X is planned to gradually expand to a total of 4 buildings with modern equipment and state of the art facilities on a total area of 18,000 sq. m. and capacity of more than 1,000 desks. Following the planned expansion, the already operational complex will become the largest private incubator for technology and talent in Bulgaria and the region.
Numerous teams working in technology companies with a total market value of about EUR 50 million and projects in the fields of healthcare, education, transport and logistics and office management are already working in the operating premises of the incubator in Mladost residential district. Tenants include Office RnD – a platform for management of shared space, Healee with projects for access to healthcare, Dronamics, the first strategic partner of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for drones worldwide, Telelink City Services, which develops smart urban solutions, Find Me Cure, working to connect people with various illnesses with the most appropriate clinical trials for them, as well as the venture capital fund Eleven, which recently announced its next EUR 6 million private equity fund.
Campus X curently has a capacity of 200 jobs for freelance teams and specialists. Rents start at EUR 170 per month for an individual desk. There are indoor and outdoor parking spaces, meeting and conference rooms, equipped dining areas. Next year, after the construction of the other 3 buildings under the project, the campus will also have recreation and leisure halls and green areas. It will also have the capacity to integrate developed companies with larger teams of up to 150 people.
Sofia Airport now offers playgrounds for its youngest passengers. The entertainment halls are located in both Terminal 1 and 2, after the security check, and are suitable for children aged 2-7 years. The passengers of Terminal 2 can also benefit from areas for watching movies while waiting for their flights.
In April, Sofia Airport saw a new growth of 7.6% compared to the corresponding month a year ago. An increase was recorded in all indicators – passenger traffic, number of flights and amount of cargo handled by the airport.
Sofia hosted its first horse racing tournament in urban environment. The “Sofia Cup” horse show jumping competition took place on the big meadow in South Park and was open to the public. The event organised by NIESA was under the auspices of the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova. Participants aged 9 – 60 years and the top 20 competitors of Bulgaria took part in the tournament.
Cleantech Bulgaria Foundation, Bulgaria’s first clean technology network, announced that the first installation of public electric bicycles in Sofia will be launched in June 2018. The initiative is part of the Sofia Urban Challenge project for fewer cars on Vitosha Mountain and a healthier lifestyle and cleaner air for Sofia. The bicycle station will be placed in front of the National Museum of History and the electric bikes will be available for all residents and guests of the capital.
IMEX, the largest specialized exhibition for congress and business trips, was held on May 15-17 in Frankfurt. The organizers of the exhibition reported a record-high participation of nearly 3 500 exhibitors from more than 150 countries, who presented new business opportunities, trends and innovations in the congress industry.
At the exhibition, all participating destinations were also presented by their national and local convention bureaus. The introduction of the convention bureaus as a single point of contact was a main and compulsory element of the overall presentation of each congress destination.
This year for the first time Bulgaria was also presented at IMEX by the Bulgarian Convention Bureau (BCB). The co-founders and members of the BCB who took part in this year’s IMEX had the chance to meet buyers and organizers of large international events with a very wide profile, as well as to build a network of contacts in order to present the BCB and Bulgaria as a sustainable congress destination. Many of the meetings were with stakeholders and entrepreneurs from different countries, such as Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom, Austria, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, India and many others, and appeared to be a long-awaited opportunity to cooperate with Bulgaria as a MICE destination, namely due to the fact that most organizers of international events only trust convention bureaus as a reliable local partner.
The exhibition was also a great opportunity to lay the foundation for cooperation with convention bureaus of world-renowned and well-established destinations such as Barcelona, Madrid, London, Vienna and Prague, willing to share their experiences and good practices with the BCB, as well as to examine the possible membership of the BCB in specialized international organizations, such as the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).
Another new office building was opened in Sofia – Polygraphia Office Center. The building has a key location in the heart of the city near Orlov most, Tsarigradsko shose and the Borisova garden.
The complex covers an office area of 35 000 sq. m. and has some 3000 employees of large international companies already working there. The center also has a conference hall with capacity of 150 people, which is designed not only for business meetings, but also for cultural events and exhibitions. In addition to that, Polygraphia Office Center also includes retail spaces, banks, restaurants and cafes, as well as leisure areas.
Amendments to the Investment Promotion Act will relieve large investors in order to attract investments. Two documents will no longer be required by investors when they apply for a certificate of investment class or a priority investment project, namely the Certificate of Lack of Liabilities to the Municipality and the Criminal Conviction Certificate. The amendments have already been voted by the Council of Ministers.
From now on, the Certificate of liabilities will be officially collected by the Bulgarian Investment Agency and the Ministry of Economy. Nevertheless, investors who apply for investment support will have to confirm that they have not relocated the company they applied for over the last two years, as well as to commit not to do so in the following two years after the completion of the investment.
The amendments to the Regulation on the Application of the Act are to be further specified in terms of implementation of the financial measures for the construction of elements of the incoming technical infrastructure, as well as partial reimbursement of the expenses for insurance and training.
The amendments aim to support the effective promotion and attraction of significant investment projects in Bulgaria.
According to the European Commission’s forecast for Bulgaria’s economic growth, the country’s economy will continue to grow steadily, with a 3.8% expected growth of its gross domestic product. The EC’s forecast from February was for a growth of 3.7%, but the expectations were improved in the spring macroeconomic forecast. The growth is expected to be mainly driven by the domestic demand and the inflation is seen to continue to grow as a result of the strong private demand. The forecast has also been improved due to the positive trends in the labor market, namely the wage increase and the employment growth. Public finances are expected to remain stable, supported by the favorable macroeconomic environment and despite the increase in public investments and wages.
Brussels expects that the strong domestic consumption, the increased purchasing power of the households and the higher electricity prices will fuel inflation. In 2017 inflation was 1.2% and it is expected to reach 1.8% in 2018.
According to the report, employment in Bulgaria is returning to its pre-crisis levels, reaching 64.3% in 2017. The unemployment rate this year is expected to be about 5.5%, and to further drop to 5.3% in 2019.
The full text of the EC’s spring forecast is published here.
Meanwhile, in mid-May, the NSI published its express estimates for the country’s gross domestic product for the first quarter of 2018. According to the estimates, the economy is growing slower than the CEE countries, but is still among the accelerating economies, given the general slowdown in Europe. For the period January-March Bulgaria’s GDP rose by 3.5% compared to the corresponding quarter a year ago and by 0.8% compared to the fourth quarter of 2017. The reported increase is above the average 2.5% for Europe.
In nominal terms, the GDP for the three-month period reached BGN 21.241 million and the realized added value was BGN 18.484 million. Domestic consumption accounted for the largest share (85.5%), but its growth is generally slowing down, offset by growth in investments. The increase in investments was mainly due to public spending and growth in construction. For the period January-March, the sector also attracted most of the free labor force, as those employed in construction grew by 22.3 thousand, compared to the corresponding period a year ago.
The highest economic growth in the EU was registered in the CEE region: Latvia – 5.2%, Poland – 4.9%, Hungary –
The German company Festo plans to invest 25.6 million euro to build a stepper and motors production unit in Sofia. Along with the construction of its third production unit in Sofia, the company intends to increase its workforce in Bulgaria to 2,000 employees by 2020. Currently, Festo employs 1,000 people in the country.
Festo opened its Sofia factory in 2015 with an initial investment of 9.7 million euro. The German company concentrates 95% of its production of microsensors in Bulgaria.
The German company has 250 offices around the world as well as service support in 176 countries including Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia, and Romania. It has 300,000 customers worldwide and invests 8% of its annual turnover in research and development.
The Coca-Cola Company officially opened its new regional Intelligent Technology Development Center in Sofia with an investment of 1,374 million leva. The Bulgaria Center is now the 2nd largest IT center of the company in the world, the biggest one is situated in Atlanta, Florida, US. The new center will deliver top-in-class services for the company’s global operations. The focus areas of the center will include enterprise software solutions, data analytics, cyber security, e-trade, AI solutions, mobile applications, machine learning, robotics, infrastructure and information security. The Sofia support center will offer business solutions to the global market with a focus on Europe, the Middle East region and Africa (EMEA). It will start with 130 highly qualified specialists.
The opening ceremony was attended by Mr. Ivaylo Moskovski, Minister of Transport and ICT, Mr. Lachezar Borissov, Deputy Minister of Economy, Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia, H.E. Eric Rubin, U.S. Ambassador in Bulgaria, Mr. Barry Simpson, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer of The Coca-Cola Company, Mr. Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency, and Mr. Zheko Petrov, Head of the IT Development Center.
‘I am happy that our city has been trusted by this powerful company namely in the field of development. I believe that investments in the IT sector are crucial to the development of our city and for the opening of high-quality new jobs. This is a chance for Sofia and its citizens’, Mayor Fandakova said at the opening ceremony.
Coca-Cola in Bulgaria
Bulgaria was the first communist country to produce Coca-Cola – the soft drink has been manufactured here since 1965. The Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, one of the largest bottlers for the Coca-Cola Company, opened in 1992. Coca‑Cola Enterprises entered Bulgaria in 2013 by opening a financial center serving all Coca‑Cola Enterprises in Europe. The investment during the years of Coca-Cola’s presence on the local market is close to 550 million euro. Currently, the company employs some 2100 people. Coca-Cola HBC produces over 320 million liters annually in its factory near Sofia.
According to an analysis of the FinTech companies in Central and Eastern Europe conducted by UniCredit, Bulgaria stands 3rd in terms of number of FinTech companies. The largest share has Russia, followed by Turkey. According to the report, the company which received the most significant funding amounting to 25 Million euro is in Bulgaria and operates in the sphere of risk management.
The report shows that Central and Eastern Europe is currently the home of more than 600 FinTech companies. More than half of them operate in the sphere of transactions and payments or financing. Another 12% are engaged in investments and asset management – trading platforms, personal finance analysis, etc. The rest cover a wide array of activities, including cryptocurrencies, expenditure tracking, insurance, risk management and fraud prevention.
The Czech Republic and Romania follow Bulgaria in the Top 5 of FinTech destinations in the CEE region. According to the analysis, the good mobile and online services penetration, the demographic tendencies and the quick development of digital services have turned the region into a favourable environment for making the most out of digital banking. The CEE region is the ideal testing ground for the new digital and IT solutions due to the fact that it quickly adopts innovative ideas. In addition to that, the usage of Internet and mobile technologies in the region is at the same level as in the Western countries. Another positive prerequisite is that the usage of mobile services exceeds 100% (meaning that there is more than one subscription per person), while penetration exceeds 60% for Internet services.
Further highlights from the report are available on UniCredit Bulbank’s website.