A team of Sofia Investment Agency visited Poland between January 22 – 24 to take part in business meetings with representatives of 10 public and private organizations in Warsaw, Krakow and Lodz. Vladimir Danailov, Executive Director of Sofia Investment Agency, and an Investment Analysis Department team of the Agency launched an open dialogue on potential partnerships in joint projects with the Polish Investment and Trade Agency, the Mazovia Development Agency, representatives of the European Funds and Economic Development Directorate at Warsaw Municipality, Poland’s Industrial Development Agency, Center for Innovation – Warsaw, Lodz Special Economic Zone, Krakow Technology Park, Malopolska Development Agency, Municipality of Krakow, Urban Development Directorate – Investor Support Center and Science Park for Biotechnology and Center for Innovation.
The Bulgarian team of the Agency introduced to its Polish colleagues the business environment in Sofia as well as investment opportunities in the city. For their part, the Polish host organizations presented opportunities for bilateral business contacts and the conditions for development of specific industries in Poland. At the meetings with organizations we also discussed successful practices for developing a more favorable business environment in the cities of the two countries and effective incentives for investors, implemented by both countries.
Właśnie skończyliśmy spotkanie robocze z naszymi kolegami z Sofia Investment Agency. Dziękujemy za ciekawą dyskusję!
— PAIH (@PAIH_pl) January 22, 2018
We are convinced that the three-day meetings were useful and interesting for both parties and the contacts made will turn into fruitful business relationships and lead to the implementation of new business projects. Our team thanks our colleagues from Poland once again for the interesting discussions and willingness to support together Bulgarian businesses in Poland and Polish companies in Sofia.
If you are interested in an investment opportunity in Poland or looking for a partnership with a Polish organization, do not hesitate to contact our team at email@example.com for specific guidelines and opportunities that we have found during our visit.
More about some of the organizations we have established partnerships with.
The Polish Investment and Trade Agency (formerly Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency), helps investors to enter the Polish market and find the best ways to utilise the possibilities available to them. We guide
Recently, the Russian East-West Digital News (EWDN) technology news and research agency published Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe report – the first-ever study covering 24 countries of Central and Eastern Europe. EWDN has offices or representatives in Moscow, Kiev, Riga and Sarajevo as well as in Paris, Brussels, Silicon Valley, Bogota and Dubai and claims that the project is a collaborative effort to analyze startup investment trends and to highlight innovation ecosystems across CEE. Startup Investment & Innovation in Emerging Europe report includes case studies and interviews with local dynamic tech entrepreneurs and active investors. Each country profile includes key local facts and trends, venture facts and numbers, information about startup support infrastructure and individuals from the local innovation scene.
The report reviews the local innovation ecosystems, highlights the hottest tech hot spots in the region, analyzes development strategies by public authorities at the local and country levels as well as international programs to support innovation in the following countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine. Special sections are dedicated to AI projects, corporate investment and open innovation, and other hot topics related to innovation across the region.
According to the report, Bulgaria is a Modest Innovator with a score of 47.5 (index based on the European Innovation Scoreboard 2016 where Sweden is the top-performing country with a score of 143.6). The country has a well-developed IT industry which, over the past years, has been evolving from being engaged primarily in outsourcing activities to more innovative, R&D-related activities. Over time, performance has not changed relative to that of the EU in 2010, EWDN concludes.
Modest Innovators are also Croatia, Romania and Ukraine. In the innovation scoreboard, better performers are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia – all of them listed as Moderate Innovators with a score higher than 54.1.
A key finding of the report is that CEE is quite a diverse region: it comprises some of Europe’s most advanced innovation ecosystems (Estonia, Slovenia) and some of the least developed (certain republics of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia). Brain drain and startup emigration affect the countries of the region, due to limited local market size, access to capital, and the appeal of Western countries – Western Europe and the US. However, the
The past 2017 set a record in terms of office space deals in Sofia with contracts for almost 200 000 sq m. The most active in demand were IT and outsourcing companies. First-class sites covering an area of 116 000 sq m were completed and another 178 000 sq m are expected to be operational this year, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield Forton. The consulting firm says that deals have already been concluded for 40% of the new areas and the rental price for a premium office is expected to remain stable this year, at a level of some EUR 13.5 per sq m.
The most preferred areas for property developers and tenants are those around Tsarigradsko shosse Blvd., Simeonovsko Shosse Blvd, Manastirski Livadi, Lozenets and Hladilnika and the Business Park area. Private investor interest also determines the priorities of the municipal plans to further develop good infrastructure in some of the areas with active construction.
It is expected that several large office buildings in the capital will be completed during this and next year:
Don’t Miss Out in Sofia in February:
Sofia Wine & Spirit Fest
Sofia Wine & Spirit Fest will take place in Central Department Store (TZUM) – Exhibition Hall, Sofia, February 9-11, 2018.
The fair is specialized for producers, importers and traders of wine, spirits and food. The eligible categories and terms of participation are available on the website of the fair here.
Dentsu Digital Camp 2018
Dentsu Digital Camp 2018 will provide the insights senior marketers and company leaders need to deliver results in a fast-paced digital environment. Attendees will get unbiased, actionable advice on the trends, tools, technologies and techniques they need to master their business from engaging and entertaining speakers from leading global and local brands. This year’s camp is titled Transforming the Future: People and Data
Attended by leading C-level managers, entrepreneurs, senior executives and media practitioners from different business industries the event provides unprecedented networking opportunities, brilliant speakers and exhibition space for innovative brands and companies all in one.
The camp is organized by Dentsu Aegis Network, part of Dentsu Inc. which is made up of ten global network brands – Carat, Dentsu, dentsu X, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, Merkle, MKTG, Posterscope and Vizeum.
Event website: http://digitalcamp.bg/
Innovation Explorer 2018
Innovation Explorer 2018 is the fourth edition of the Forum, organized by Kapital and Innovation Starter.
This year’s event is titled Innovation state of mind. Food for thought.
The organizers have invited 20 of the world’s most innovative and influential speakers in each innovation category: Creativity, Open Innovation, Disruptive Innovation, Social Innovation, New product development.
Keynote speakers, full agenda, workshops and registration link – on the website of the event – http://innovationexplorer.bg/
New Routes to Vitosha Mountain
Sofia Municipality plans four new routes to different parts of Vitosha for pedestrians and cyclists. The routes are from Arena Armeec sports hall to Simeonovski lift, from Borisova gradina to Dragalevtsi lift, from South Park to Vitosha eco-trail and from Vazrazhdane Park to Knyazhevo.
The team of “Green Sofia” at Sofia Municipality also works on a project for an electric bicycle station in the mountain as well as for the construction of bicycle paths to the end of “Bulgaria” and “Pushkin” boulevards, where there is a quick and easy access to Vitosha Mountain. The projects will be funded by EU programs.
More Destinations from Sofia Airport
Wizz Air will increase the number of its routes from the country to 44 in 2018. The new destinations will include Athens, Nice, Lisbon, Malaga and Vienna. In Bulgaria, Wizz Air has carried more than 2.5 million passengers in 2017, an increase of over 40% for the company.
The total passenger traffic for Sofia Airport rose by over 30% last year, which was the highest increase in Europe, according to the latest data. The airport services 36 airlines, which carried the record high 6.5 million people in 2017.
The New Road Connection between Brussels Blvd and Terminal 2 Officially Open
In early January, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova and Transport Minister Ivaylo Moskovski officially opened the new road connection between Brussels Boulevard and Terminal 2 of Sofia Airport.
The amount of the funds invested reaches BGN 13.7 million from the budget of the Ministry of Transport.
The new road is expected to ease the traffic in the area of Sofia Airport and the surrounding logistics and office centers.
Today a new road that connects "Brussels" Blvd. and Terminal 2 at Sofia Airport was opened. It will ease the traffic from and to the airport and facilitate the access for passengers traveling by car. #sofiaairport #newroadtoTerminal2 #newroadtoSofiaAirport pic.twitter.com/5VECrrbGX7
— Sofia Airport (@SOFIAirport) January 9, 2018
Key Urban Spaces to Be Renovated
Sofia will receive BGN 41 million under “Regions in Growth” Operational Program to modernize key urban spaces in central Sofia. The area around “St. Alexander Nevsky” Cathedral, “National Assembly” Square, “Tsar Osvoboditel Alexander II” Monument, “St. Sofia” Church, the building of the Synodal Palace, “Vasil Levski” Monument, “St. Kliment Ohridski” Garden, the space between “Oborishte” Street and the Central Military Club as well as
The outsourcing industry in Bulgaria is changing rapidly and is looking for new specialists. About 20 000 new job openings are expected by 2020. This was announced at a joint press conference of Sofia Investment Agency (SIA) and the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association (BOA), where Plamen Tsekov, member of the Management Board of BOA, and Vladimir Danailov, Chief Executive Officer of Sofia Investment Agency, presented current data on the outsourcing sector from reports of the two organizations.
The industry has fundamentally changed its content in recent years. Based on key customer support services (call centers) in the period 2010 -2013, where processes and technologies were relatively standardized and uniform, the need of the business grew into customer service with high added value. It demanded the processing of far more complex processes involving much more analytical activity, building, maintaining and providing growth in core business activities such as marketing, sales, accounting, human resources, etc. That is why this sector is in need of specialists in human resources management, financial and accounting outsourcing, IT specialists, Plamen Tsekov said. Some 80-90% of the outsourcing activities in Bulgaria are concentrated in Sofia. The added value of the outsourcing sector in Sofia reached a record-breaking BGN 2.2 billion, according to official statistics, Vladimir Danailov said.
The problem with the staff is in the focus of SIA and together with the business and the Ministry of Education and Science, a new digital platform is being developed to give schools and universities a specific opportunity to work with business representatives in the city, Danailov stressed. Nowadays, our sector of the economy requires not only proficiency in two or more foreign languages, but also engineering and business skills, Tzekov added.
According to the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association’s report, the outsourcing business is expected to generate a turnover of EUR 2.5 billion by 2020. The sector is seen to reach 4.3% share of GDP and to increase its number of employees to 62,500. By the end of 2016, more than 47,800 people have been employed in this industry and the data for 2017 is expected to report an increase of about 12%. A total of 1.5% of all income taxes paid in the state treasury in 2016 come from the outsourcing industry and 0.9% of companies’ operating income is for taxes.
The outsourcing industry is the backbone of the middle class in
Innovation Norway just launched the Call for Travel Support under the new Programme “Business Development, Innovation and SMEs”, Bulgaria. The objective of the Travel Support is to facilitate establishment of bilateral partnerships between Norway and Bulgaria with the intent to participate in the upcoming call(s) under the Programme. Travel grants up to EUR 1’000 are available to private businesses from Bulgaria and Norway. For more information about the Call, please visit http://investsofia.com/en/innovation-norway-launches-a-call-for-travel-support
The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Ministry for European Integration of the Republic of Serbia opened the second Call for project proposals under the Interreg-IPA CBC Bulgaria – Serbia 2014-2020, co-funded by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II) of EU.
The total budget of the Call for project proposals is in the amount of EUR 12 121 602.
The program will fund projects in one of the following areas – Sustainable Tourism, Youths and Environment.
All conditions and the full package of application documents can be found here: http://www.infobusiness.bcci.bg/project-223-1-18.html
The procedure “Support for resource efficiency pilot and demonstration initiatives” under the Innovation and Competitiveness Operational Program 2014-2020 is now open. The program aims at increasing the resource efficiency of enterprises through development and implementation of technological solutions and methods that are pilot for Bulgaria and are product or production innovation. Eligible applicants are micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises with a minimum of three financial years closed before the date of announcement of the procedure that have earned a minimum income of BGN 120 000.
The minimum amount of funding is BGN 200 000 and the maximum depends on the size of the enterprise. The total budget for the procedure is BGN 71 644 656. The procedure allows both individual applications and application in partnership with another company. The deadline for application is April 23.
Don’t forget that you can use the services of Enterprise Europe Network at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) to find foreign partners through the business offer database. The services of the organization are free of charge and target all small and medium-sized enterprises. The offers are available here.
The Bulgarian finalist in the international competition for social entrepreneurship Chivas Venture 2018 is a project for production of proteins for insect larvae from organic wastes.
The project is developed by the Bulgarian startup NASEKOMO of Xavier Marcenac /founder of TELUS International – the largest outsourcing company in Bulgaria/ and his wife Olga Marcenac. NASEKOMO has been selected among 4 Bulgarian finalists and will represent the country at the international competition with another 29 businesses working for a better tomorrow. The total prize pool amounts to USD 1 million.
The technology of the Bulgarian finalist allows organic waste to be turned into insect larva food, primarily of the so called black fly. Fly larvae increase their mass seven times a week, and in turn become a rich source of protein for compound feeds for a number of farm animals. The larval protein is a substitute for soy and fish protein in the breeding of chickens, pigs and other animals. Furthermore, the extraction of protein through organic wastes reduces the emission of harmful emissions, which are released into the air in their rotting if they are not used. The company hopes to receive an investment to build larval breeding sites with sensory surveillance equipment and automated care for flies’ larvae.
The other finalists in the Bulgarian contest are CheckPoint Cardio, Jamba and Agnon.
CheckPoint Cardio develops a system for monitoring of cardiac data of patients and sending the collected data to treating physicians. The technology allows the integration of data into healthcare systems at a national level. Jamba is a platform that provides training and jobs for people with disabilities. Agnon is the founders of an economical and efficient solid fuel rocket stove with the capacity to heat both domestic and public spaces, but with 3 times less fuel consumption.
The next stage of Chivas Venture 2018 is an online vote by a broad audience, on the basis of which a portion of USD 250 000 of the overall prize pool of the competition will be distributed among the projects. The remaining USD 750 000 will be distributed among the winners at the grand international final, which will take place in Amsterdam on May 24, when NASEKOMO will present its technology.
US technology company VMware will rent new office space for more than 1 500 people in Sofia’s residential and business complex Garitage Park. For the next 10 years, VMware Bulgaria will lease more than 20,000 sq m in two of the buildings in the complex, which is still under construction. The office space deal would be the largest on the Bulgarian market in the last 10 years, according to Colliers International, a strategic consultant of VMware.
The company’s new offices are expected to be completed in 2019. Garitage Park complex covers a total of 165,000 sq m. The project will be developed in several phases and will include 95,000 sq m of office space, 60,000 sq m residential space, 90,000 sq m of parks, playgrounds and pedestrian areas, primary school, sport centre and commercial spaces.
Beginning of January the US company was named Best Workplace in Technology 2018 from Fortune on their 2018 Best Workplaces in Technology list. VMware moved up two spots from last year’s ranking of 11 to number 9 on this years list. VMware Bulgaria is the company’s innovative hub in Europe, Middle East and Africa regions and a strategic development and innovation centre worldwide.
Three talented young Bulgarian entrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders were included in the 2018 European edition of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in two of the categories – Social Entrepreneurs and Law and Policy. These are Iva Tsolova and Rositsa Zaimova in the Social Entrepreneurs category, and Lena Borislavova in the Law and Policy list.
Iva Tsolova is a cofounder of JAMBA – Career For All – an online platform that educates individuals with disabilities and develops key competencies for future employment. The company also partners with businesses to make them more conducive for individuals with disabilities.
Rositsa Zaimova is Founding Partner at Dalberg Data Insights, which creates tools to interpret data and design solutions for international development, humanitarian aid and social impact. Dalberg analysis tool uses access to private data, which has proven key in supplying NGOs with comprehensive data to challenges such as earthquakes or infectious outbreaks.
Lena Borislavova, attorney at the law firm Georgiev, Todorov & Co., is on the Law and Policy list of leaders. Borislavova specializes in mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions and negotiations, and international financial law. Lena has a degree in Jurisprudence from Harvard Law School and Bachelor degree of Arts / Science from Sofia University.
The Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list features 300 young disruptors across more than 11 categories. This year’s ranking includes a record number of 34 European countries, with entrepreneurs from countries like Belarus and Kosovo for the first time. The full list is available at https://www.forbes.com/30-under-30-europe/2018/.
For the fourth year in a row Innovation Explorer Bulgaria and Economedia challenge the global business and academia to think creatively and to strive for a better future. On February 22, 2018, at Sofia Event Centre more than twenty speakers from around the world will talk about how innovations and the energy, creativity, passion and discipline they bring can be used for social good.
Practical workshops are also on the agenda. The topics this time are Science-functional strategic design, Inclusive design, Winning potential investors and Innovate your mindset.
This years’ speakers list again include some of the world’s most innovative and influential speakers in each innovation category: Creativity, Open Innovation, Disruptive Innovation, Social Innovation, New product development.
Arun Sundararajan, the author of the best-seller “The Sharing Economy” will talk about sharing economy. Arun Sundararajan is Professor and the Robert L. and Dale Atkins Rosen Faculty Fellow at New York University’s (NYU) Stern School of Business, and an affiliated faculty member at many of NYU’s interdisciplinary research centers, including the Center for Data Science and the Center for Urban Science and Progress.
Jim Fanning, the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Country Manager for Central & Eastern Europe, has over 20 years of sales, management, and technical experience. His talk is about How the Cloud enables Innovation.
Gabriella Cseh, Head of Public Policy for CEE for Facebook; lawyer. Currently, she covers public policies and regulatory relations of Facebook in the CEE region, focusing on issues related to data protection, privacy, human rights and Internet, freedom of speech and hate speech related issues, digital market, internet safety, the open Internet, and many more. Her speech is about Fake news and how we tackle false news and hate speech
Find all 20 speakers’ bios, titles of talks, workshops and the full agenda at Innovation Explorer 2018 website.
Mid of January, Numbeo – the world’s largest database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, updated their Cost of Living Index for 2018 where Sofia ranks 161st out of 193 European cities and 427th out of 549 cities in the global list of cities. Each city’s index is estimated based on combined data about housing indicators, health care, transportation, utilities, food and prices for everyday items people need or want.
Sofia’s index climbs up to 43.11 compared to last year’s index of 37.65 point, which makes the city a bit more expensive compared to 2017 but still among the most cost-friendly capitals to live in Europe and with the highest purchasing power among the 3 other Bulgarian cities in the ranking – Plovdiv, Varna and Bourgas. Sofia’s purchasing power index is 60 points, while the other three Bulgarian cities got 48 to 54.
Here is Numbeo’s summary about cost of living in Sofia:
*Data updated continuously on a daily basis
The most expensive place in the world is Hamilton, Bermuda.
Numbeo is a collection of Web pages containing numerical and other itemizable data about cities and countries, designed to enable anyone to contribute or modify content. Currently the platform contains 4,172,836 prices in 6,936 cities entered by 447,981 contributors. The full Sofia profile is published here https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/Sofia, while the global ranking or data by selected region is available here https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings.jsp