Sofia Municipality and the GATE Center of Excellence signed a cooperation agreement as part of the implementation of the Sofia Digital Transformation Strategy. Work will be carried out on the creation of the first City Digital Twin. It will be located on the territory of Lozenets district.
City Digital Twin is a large interdisciplinary project of the GATE Institute in the field of big data and artificial intelligence and is the first of its kind in Bulgaria. The project aims to develop a digital platform – a twin of Sofia’s real urban environment to design, test, implement, and service solutions from the entire life cycle of urban life through a 3D simulation of the city before implementing them in the real environment.
The agreement was signed by the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova and the Rector of Sofia University, Prof. Anastas Gerdjikov. Watch a recording from the online signing event with more information about the project “City Digital Twin” and what lies ahead here.
At the initiative of the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova, Sofia Municipality in partnership with the Regional Department of Education and the Center for Creative Training launched a pilot project – “School in the Cloud” – for the development of digital skills and work in an online environment. It includes 16 schools in Sofia.
Information about the project was presented during the online streaming of an event by the Second English Language High School “Thomas Jefferson” in Sofia on the high school’s approval for Google Reference School – the first in Sofia and the second in Southeast Europe. The school is also part of the pilot project “School in the cloud” and implements the “One to One” model for carrying out the learning process by a device for each teacher and student to complete the school’s digital transformation.
“School in the Cloud” aims to make the capital a leader in using digital technologies in education, following the example of projects that have already been implemented in the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands, Belgium, USA, and others. The goal is to develop it successfully and implement it in more schools in Sofia to make way for their digital transformation.
Watch a recording of the event here.
The voting for the practical proposals submitted in Sofia’s “Sofia chooses” campaign for ideas from citizens, civil- and professional organizations for projects to improve the city is
Soft loans with guarantees from the Fund of Funds will also be offered by First Investment Bank, BACB, and Tokuda Bank. The portfolio guarantee agreement supports small and medium-sized enterprises’ liquidity in response to the economic crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund directs to Bulgaria’s small- and medium-sized business, an additional anti-crisis resource of BGN 42 million. The funds are for liquid support of SМЕs affected by the COVID crisis and will reach the companies through the equity investment managers Innovation Capital, Morningside Hill, and Vitosha Venture Partners. After the upcoming signing of the agreement with the fourth financial intermediary – New Vision 3, the total amount of the anti-crisis resource will reach BGN 56.3 million.
Тhe enterprises can contact the banks mentioned above and four financial intermediaries directly for more information and discussions on potential cooperation.
Young (with up to 3 years of experience) or future entrepreneurs (with a business idea) can apply for the Erasmus program for young entrepreneurs. The program offers on-the-job training in a small or medium-sized enterprise abroad with a funded stay of 1 to 6 months. Among the advantages for the participants are improving the business plan, acquiring know-how, accessing new markets and partners abroad, looking at different cultural and organizational attitudes, and doing business in another EU country.
The application is made entirely electronically on the Erasmus website for young entrepreneurs here.
Bloomberg TV Bulgaria accepts applications for its “Inspirational 5” campaign. The initiative is aimed at start-up companies and strives to support innovative business solutions and promote successful business practices in Bulgaria.
Every start-up based in Bulgaria, having a developed innovative project and activity on the Bulgarian market of no more than three years, can apply for the “Inspirational 5” on the initiative’s website until 15 November .
The five start-ups that receive the most votes among consumers will be announced in the first week of December and will receive advice and know-how from a special mentoring team of specialists invited in the initiative by Bloomberg TV Bulgaria.
In connection with the preliminary evaluation of financial instruments for the next programming period 2021-2027, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry conducted an anonymous survey among potential final recipients (companies) that would apply for future financial instruments under the “Human Resources Development” Operational Program. The aim is to study the attitude among potential beneficiaries who would
The Professional Association of Robotics and Automation (PARA) presented its latest report on the role of automation in Bulgaria during the “Robotics Strategy Forum 2020”, which took place on 22 October.
PARA has prepared the report for the third consecutive year through a survey among Bulgarian companies. This year, the report also includes an analysis of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and how it has affected the industry’s plans to invest in automation.
The results are based on 32 companies’ answers with nearly 15,000 employees from the sectors of automotive components, furniture, electronics, mechanical engineering, and others. The Association emphasizes that the survey does not claim the representativeness of the sample. Some of the main highlights include:
– 50% of the companies claim a delay or complete postponement of automation investments due to the pandemic. Half of these companies are in the automotive sector.
– Still, there are companies – 19% of all, in which the pandemic has accelerated the process. Among them are representatives of the chemical-, smart home sensors companies, manufacturers of microelectronics.
– 44% consider implementing software and discrete automation.
– Companies want to automate mostly the production process, data collection and processing, administration, and quality control.
– The automotive industry remains the main user of industrial robots in Bulgaria – an average of one robot per 45.85 employees help in 4 factories for automotive components; in mechanical engineering, the food industry, automation, and household appliances, one robot assists 70.66 employees in the company.
– The primary incentive for investment in robotic systems is quality, cost optimization, and workforce lack.
DIGITAL FINANCE FORUM
6 October, online
In its 22nd edition, the Digital Finance Forum will focus on the future of financial technology, open banking, payment innovation, insurance technology, and will showcase good practices and examples of new and improved financial services and solutions.
The main topics of the 2020 event include:
Find more and register here.
OFFICIAL RELEASE OF FINTECH SOFIA MAP 2020
8 October, online
Innovative Sofia, together with Bulgarian Fintech Association is hosting the official release of the very first Fintech Sofia Map 2020.
The event aims at presenting the Sofia Fintech Landscape in 2020, the main specifics of Sofia’s Fintech market and the ecosystem players. The webinar will be the first of a series of English-led events manifesting Bulgaria as the Fintech Hub of Southeastern Europe.
To watch and participate in the event, please sign up in the Zoom form here. After signing up you will receive a confirmation email with the link to the event
You can also follow the Facebook event. Stay tuned to be the first to learn who will be the participants in the virtual event.
FIFTH ANNUAL INDUSTRY 4.0 FORUM
The Fifth Annual Industry 4.0 Forum is one of the major industrial conferences in Southeast Europe and a key event focusing on the digital transformation of manufacturing. It brings together business and policy leaders from Bulgaria and the region to showcase the innovators and the industrial champions which are already shaping the future.
When and Where
October 8, 2020 (15:30 – 17:00) – Live on Capital.bg
The future of the regions: cooperation for investment and development
October 21, 2020 (10:30 – 12:00) – Grand Hotel Plovdiv | Live on Capital.bg
Topics in 2020:
Bulgarian industry already has its own digital map – Bg Industry Map, which provides a comprehensive view in 14 specific sectors. Bg Industry Map is a project of the Ministry of Economy, the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency, and the Bulgarian Employers’ Association Innovative Technologies (BRAIT).
Bg Industry Map contains a database of Bulgarian companies in the following industries: IT, Оutsourcing, Energy, Mechanical engineering, Mechatronics, Food industry, Cosmetics, Textile, Maritime Industry, Furniture, Biotechnology, Renewable Energy Sources, Education and Science. The map displays data for each company- its location, number of employees, revenue, and net result. The companies list can also be filtered by income from operating activities, the number of employees, and location. Data is available as downloads on a separate section of the website.
Bg Industry Map aims to provide an adequate mapping of the Bulgarian economy by regions, sectors, and companies and is implemented under the National Strategy for Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises 2014-2020 and the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization
Companies that are currently not included in the mapping of the respective industry, but want to be part of the list, can send a request directly to the BSMEPA team at the following contacts.
The Association for Innovation, Business Services, and Technologies (AIBEST) presented data from its annual report on the development of the knowledge economy in the country during the annual meeting of the association on October 2nd.
According to the survey, the number of companies in the high value-added business services sector is growing by 5% on an annual basis, with 610 companies operating in the industry by 2019.
More data from the report:
The full AIBEST report on the development of the economy of knowledge will be published soon.
The AIBEST Annual Summit was attended by representatives of the country’s largest technology companies, local authorities, and the government. As part of the Summit, the AIBEST Annual Awards were presented in seven categories:
Bulgarian is the top Digital Riser for Europe and North America in the Digital Riser Report 2020 by the European Center for Digital Competitiveness by ESCP Business School in Berlin. The report analyses and ranks the changes that 140 countries around the globe have seen in their digital competitiveness over the last three years. It measures the two core dimensions of digital competitiveness, i.e. the country’s ecosystem and its mindset, and uses data from the Global Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
According to the report, Bulgaria and Montenegro improved the most in the ecosystem and mindset dimensions, respectively. Bulgaria’s outperformance is explained by its “Digital Bulgaria 2025” lighthouse initiative by the Ministry of Transport, Information Technologies and Communications, which was launched in 2018 as a continuation of the national programme “Digital Bulgaria 2015”. Its goal was to modernise and implement intelligent IT solutions in all areas of economic and social life.
Bulgaria ranks 3rd and above expectations for level of development in the upper middle-income group of the Global Innovation Index (GII) by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Our country ranks 37th in the overall ranking.
China, Malaysia, and Bulgaria are still the only middle-income economies in the GII top 40; otherwise, the gap across income groups and regions largely perseveres. In the upper-middle income group, China (14th), Malaysia (33rd, up from 35th), and Bulgaria (37th, up from 40th) had held the top three positions since 2016. Aside from China, Malaysia and Bulgaria remain the only other middle-income economies that are close to the top 25. In addition to these three economies, there are only seven other middle-income economies in the top 50 of the GII 2020.
The Global Innovation Index 2020 provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 131 countries and economies around the world. Its 80 indicators explore a broad vision of innovation, including political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication.
The 2020 edition sheds light on the state of innovation financing by investigating the evolution of financing mechanisms for entrepreneurs and other innovators, and by pointing to progress and remaining challenges – including in the context of the economic slowdown induced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
Europe continues to host a large number of innovative economies. Sixteen of the innovation leaders in the top 25 are European countries, with seven of them ranking in the
According to preliminary data of the BNB, foreign direct investment in Bulgaria for the first half of the year amounted to EUR 1.407 billion, which is an increase of EUR 495 million or 54.2% compared to the same period of the previous year.
The largest net flows of direct investment in the country for the period January – July 2020 are from the Netherlands (EUR 192.8 million), Russia (EUR 121.1 million), and Hungary (EUR 107.2 million).
The Ministry of Economy announced that since the beginning of 2020, class asset investment certificates have been issued under the Investment Promotion Act to 22 projects. Their total value is BGN 709.4 million, and the projects have the potential to create 3,203 new jobs.
On behalf of Sofia Municipality, Invest Sofia participated in the nominations in the category “Municipal Investor” of the Annual Awards of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB). The awards will be presented at an official ceremony on 12 October in Sofia.
The “Municipal Investor” award goes to a natural or legal person who has made significant investments in Bulgarian municipalities during the year. The criteria for receiving the award are:
Our team reviewed dozens of applications from Bulgarian and foreign companies that have chosen Sofia as the place for their business development. We are happy that our city is home to major investors in various sectors, including cloud technology, cybersecurity, biotechnology, manufacturing, logistics, and more. We look forward to announcing this year’s winner in the Municipal Investor 2020 category.
At the Annual Ceremony, NAMRB presents awards in four other areas: “Contribution to the development of local self-government” – for municipalities; “Contribution to the development of local self-government” – for a municipal employee or councilor; “Municipal Partner” and “Voice of the Municipalities” – for journalists and media, who have publicly raised important municipality issues.
This year, by the decision of the Board of NAMRB, the special award “Helping Hand” will be presented in gratitude to individuals, institutions or companies that have contributed to the coping of municipalities with the COVID-19 crisis.
Export Hub Bulgaria (EHB) has a new website with up-to-date information on events and activities supporting export activities. EHB is an initiative of 16 Bulgarian public and private organizations and aims to assist Bulgarian companies to enter foreign markets through various activities related to export promotion, providing market information, training events, direct consultations, access to programs for export potential development, and others.
On the Export Hub Bulgaria website, you will find information about upcoming international initiatives and export orientation of the partner organizations and analyzes of the state of SMEs in Bulgaria, international research on world markets, bilateral trade agreements, news, and useful links. The forthcoming EHB training program for developing Bulgarian enterprises’ export potential in which 15 preliminary selected companies will participate, is yet to be announced.
You can find opportunities and projects for start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises on the IASP website.
The Fund of Funds in Bulgaria – FMFIB together with the financial intermediary Vitosha Venture Partners registered а new organization – “Vitosha Venture Partners – fund I”. The joint fund is for acceleration and initial funding for start-up companies, with a total asset of 38 mln. BGN. 35.6 mln. of them are public resources, provided by Fund of Funds in Bulgaria – FMFIB. It is expected the fund to invest in 116 startups by the end of 2023. Registrations are now open. For more information, please visit the website of FMFIB here.
Urban Impact Ventures is a new Bulgarian-Danish investment fund that will support smart city projects from Central and Southeast Europe. In early 2021 the fund is expected to be open for applications for green and sustainable urban projects in four areas: mobility, digital infrastructure, liveability, and physical infrastructure. Find more about Urban Impact Ventures on the fund’s website and follow its Facebook page for the latest news.
Until 18 October, start-up companies can apply for the sixth season of the Balkans Virtual program at the Founder Institute Sofia. Once again, the program will have a duration of 14 weeks and will cover various topics on the creation and management of a start-up company – from the company’s vision, financial and legal management, through branding, market-entry, and product development, to team building, financing, and growth.
Until 23 October, companies with a plan to enter the US market can apply for the second cohort of Bulgaria Innovation
Under the “Outside” program of Sofia Municipality for temporary art installations in an urban environment, a 13-meter interactive structure of LED displays, resembling a human figure, will be built. Using a special algorithm, the screens will be broadcasting footage from the cameras in Sofia and footage sent by citizens and guests of the capital, especially for the project “One Man.” You can send videos from your favorite places or events in Sofia to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only renovated buses will run on bus lines 63 and 66 for Vitosha Nature Park. The vehicles are Euro 6, suitable for mountain terrains, have 55 seats, 20 seats for standing passengers, and a luggage compartment in which passengers can leave large tourist backpacks. Along with the ten renovated Euro 6 buses launched on the lines last year, these two lines now have entirely renovated vehicles.
The shared electric bicycle program has been running for three years now in addition to the renovated buses. There is also a charging station for electric cars in the NHM parking lot.
Sofia’s citizens and guests can take advantage of the pilot service for shared bicycles in the city. They can be rented and left at over 40 points in the city, most of which are already marked by the Sofia Municipality parking spaces for two-wheelers in the blue and green zone of Sofia. The rental price is BGN 1.50 for 30 minutes. Find detailed information on how the platform works and where bicycles are available in the application at www.nula.bike.
Sofia Municipality will apply with a project proposal for improving waste management. The pilot project will include 1,000 households from the Vitosha and Bankya regions, which will be provided with containers with installed sensors to collect food and kitchen bio waste from households.
Specialized software will be used for the implementation of control and monitoring to record the movement and quantities of generated waste, both from each household and the total amount for processing and utilization in the municipal enterprise “SPTO.” The software will make it possible to track waste utilization results and determine the optimal routes of garbage trucks.
The aim is to examine the’ readiness of citizens living in suburban areas for separate collection of food waste through individual containers under the door-to-door system, widespread in many European countries. Removing this biowaste from the stream will reduce the amount of municipal waste and
According to a quarterly report by the Cushman & Wakefield Forton consulting company, the second quarter’s industrial space market reported ongoing activity.
After a difficult start to the year, Sofia’s market is improving the results both in terms of leased space and in projects under construction. The fifth and sixth buildings of East Ring Logistics Park and the first stage of Logistics Park Sofia have been put into operation. The two facilities add 37,900 square meters of modern storage space. Another 166,652 square meters of logistics space are under construction in Sofia, and the investments are mainly from owners.
The total utilization for the second quarter of 2020 exceeds 24,000 sq.m. Logistics, distribution, and courier companies are active in the rental segment, mainly due to the growth of online trade. Rental levels remain stable – 3.8 euros / sq.m for larger facilities and 4.2-4.4 euros / sq.m for medium-sized ones.
The country’s industrial market is dominated by production areas, mainly for automotive components and light industry.
For more data from the second quarter, see the report Marketbeat Bulgaria: Industrial Q2 2020 of Cushman & Wakefield Forton. Find an overview of the markets for retail and office space in the second quarter here.