Line 3 of the Sofia metro went into service on August 26 with eight stations – from Hadji Dimitar district, via NDK, to Krasno Selo. Twenty new Siemens Mobility’s modern Inspiro trains will serve the third metro line. Line 3 is expected to be used by 60,000 people per day initially, rising to 110,000 following the opening of Stage 2 in early 2021. Pictures and videos from the new metro station can be seen on the Facebook page of Metropoliten EAD.
Koren Foundation, in partnership with Sofia Municipality – Slatina District and Sofia Tech Park, has launched the project “First steps to create a system for shared composting and growing edible plants in an urban environment.” The project is implemented with the financial support of Sofia Municipality’s Europe 2020 Programme of the Sofia Municipality. It aims to create and provide access to European models for effective practices in the processing of everyday waste in the urban environment and help build a system for separate collection of organic waste.
The aim will be to test citizens’ reaction and their readiness to involve in the recycling processq as well as to examine which system for separate collection of organic waste is most applicable in Bulgaria based on the existing infrastructure and citizens attitude.
Find more about the project here.
Available now is a new online map of the places for outdoor cultural activities in the Sofia Municipality. The map shows information about nearly 100 sites in the city (stages, stadiums, squares, parks, gardens), the number of seats, the availability of a stage or screen, adjacent spaces for use by the event organizers, access to electricity and water supply, number of parking spaces, contact details of the persons responsible for the management of the site, among others.
The map is useful for all citizens, organizations, companies, and institutions planning to organize events or outdoor campaigns. At a later stage, it will be supplemented with information about the indoor places for cultural activities within the Sofia Municipality. The map is available on the website of Geographic Information System – Sofia Ltd., part of Sofia Municipality.
Sofia Tech Park’s Virtual and Augmented Reality Laboratory will work on a project for the digitalization of cultural heritage. The project is implemented under the “Preservation and promotion of cultural heritage” program of the National Fund “Culture.” Next year, iconic exhibits from partner
Sofia is the first Bulgarian city to win a project under the European Union’s Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) Programme, which provides urban areas in Europe with resources to test new solutions for coping with urban challenges.
With the INNOAR project, Sofia Municipality will test for the first time in Europe a new “green public transport on demand” practice. Instead of traveling on fixed routes, the new electric busses will create a road map based on the citizens’ demand submitted via a mobile application. The app will use artificial intelligence to refine the data analysis and create the most efficient route for each trip by gathering as many passengers as possible. The project involves big data analysis, AI, and cloud technologies.
The innovation will be tested in one of Sofia’s districts and will be implemented within three years. The project is expected to be introduced in the upcoming fall.
The clients of the oldest market in Sofia, the Women’s Market, can now order online. The residents of Sofia can now order quality food, meat, dairy products, fruit, and vegetables from Bulgarian farmers and producers via the online deliveries platform www.e-pazar.bg. Plants will soon be included in the platform too, as well as many more organic and farm products. Deliveries are made only on the territory of Sofia city.
Four iconic buildings have received Sofia Municipality funding for their restoration and the related construction fees and project supervision. All four buildings are cultural monuments: the National Student House, two buildings of the National Academy of Science on Moskovska Street – the Institute of Balkan Studies, and the former institute of Sociology, and a residential and commercial building on Positano Street.
The Cultural Heritage Programme of Sofia Municipality was launched at the initiative of Sofia Mayor Ms. Yordanka Fandakova. Its purpose is to support immovable cultural heritage owners and the preservation, restoration, and conservation of the buildings. This year 300 000 leva from Sofia’s annual budget were allocated for the programme. Regardless of whether they represent private, municipal, or state organizations, all owners of cultural heritage buildings in Sofia are eligible to apply.
For a third consecutive year, the citizens and guests of Sofia can rent electric bicycles to the Vitosha mountain. This year, there are ten additional mountain bikes available for the fans of more extreme cycling.
Bicycles are available for rent at the
Raiffeisenbank International published the second edition of the CEE Fintech Atlas with an overview of 19 fintech ecosystems in the CEE region including Bulgaria. The report presents data on the scale, the most important companies and the biggest investors in the sector in these 19 countries as well as the readiness of the population to use mobile banking.
The Profiles of Sofia and Bulgaria in the CEE Fintech Atlas 2019
According to the Atlas, the descriptions of Sofia as “one of the fastest growing fintech destinations in the CEE region”, “an evolving fintech hub” and “the most vibrant fintech destination in the SEE region” are not an overstatement because they are backed up by concrete data and trends that position the capital as one of the hottest spots on the CEE map in this sector.
The report refers to the Global Innovation Index 2018, where Bulgaria is the world’s third most innovative upper-middle income country and a leader in the SEE region in terms of innovation efficiency and achievement. Furthermore, in its latest ranking of the fintech locations of the future, the Financial Times named Sofia the number one city globally in terms of cost effectiveness.
Bulgarian companies cover all segments in the sector, with payments and billing (30%), capital markets solutions (15%) and personal finance (12%) being the most popular. Between 2014 and 2018, the number of employees in the sector has risen twice and continues to grow constantly as a consequence of both the emergence of new players and the expansion of existing ones.
The total operating revenue in the sector in 2018 reached over EUR 200 million – an annual increase of 33,5% and a 100% growth in just three years. Each year the sector expands its share in the GDP of the country. The total net profit in 2018 is over EUR 59 million, which is more than twice the figure for 2017.
Forecast on the Scope and Development of the Fintech Sector
More than 65% of the population in the CEE market is expected to be using digital banking services by the end of 2020, and as a result digital markets are expected to grow across the CEE region.
Data shows a new peak in the level of fintech investment in many CEE markets. Compared to 2018, the markets in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine showed a strong growth
DEV.BG ALL IN ONE 2020
28-29 August /Online
Again, DEV.BG will gather the IT community to discuss the challenges of the crisis! The annual conference will be held online on August 29. You can find everything about the event and register here: 2020.dev.bg.
GLOBAL AZURE BULGARIA 2020
29 August / Sofia Tech Park
Global Azure Bulgaria 2020 is the Bulgarian edition of Global Windows Azure – a Global Community Event for the Public Cloud Platform Windows Azure. The sixth local edition of the event will take place on August 29, 2020, at Sofia Tech Park.
A one day deep dive class to help the attendees get up to speed on developing Cloud Computing Applications for Microsoft Azure, the event will be focused on technical sessions in several tracks. In addition to this great learning opportunity, hands-on labs will feature pooling a huge global compute farm to perform research for charity.
Sofia Tech Park invites you to join the newly created network of innovation centers under the DIH² project, where a leading partner is the Finnish Teknologian Tutkimuskeskus VTT. The consortium is made of a network of 26 digital innovation hubs with a target to reach over 170 digital innovation hubs (DIHs) by 2020.
DIH² aims to build a sustainable pan-European network to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and technology between digital robotics innovation centers. The project will support up to 144 external DIHs with equity-free funding of almost 1,4 million Euro and the opportunity to join the network. The selected new DIHs will work in close collaboration with one of the established DIHs, which is already a network member.
Who can apply?
Submission deadline is the 31st of August 2020, at 13:00 CET
You can find more information on Sofia Tech Park’s website here.
You can apply via the DIH portal here.
A grant programme with non-repayable funds aimed at supporting middle-sized enterprises in overcoming the economic consequences of COVID-19 has been launched under the Innovation and Competitiveness Programme.
BGN 200 million will be directed to all sectors of the Bulgarian economy with the exception of primary production and processing of agricultural products, fisheries, aquaculture, forestry, and the financial and gambling sector.
The amount that a company will receive cannot be larger than 3% of the company’s turnover in 2019 – given that the turnover itself has been over BGN 1 million and at least a 20% drop in the turnover has been reported from February this year up to one month prior to the application date.
Possible expenses can cover the purchase of raw materials and consumables intended for production of services; overheads and staff-related costs.
The application deadline is 16:30 on August 24. You can find more about the terms and conditions on the website of the Innovation and Competitiveness Operational Programme here, or apply online via the ISMM 2020 system.
Companies with ideas in the sphere of clean technologies can apply for funding by 29 October under the Innovation Fund of the European Commission. EUR
Raiffeisen Bank International published the second edition of the CEE Fintech Atlas with an overview of 19 fintech ecosystems in the region of CEE including Bulgaria. The report includes data on the scale, the most important companies and the biggest investors in the sector in the countries as well as the readiness of the population to use mobile banking.
The Profiles of Sofia and Bulgaria in CEE Fintech Atlas 2019
According to the edition, descriptions of Sofia as “one of the fastest growing fintech destinations in the CEE region”, “an evolving fintech hub” and “the most vibrant fintech destination in the SEE region” are not an overstatement because they are backed up by concrete data and trends that position the capital as one of the hottest spots on the CEE map in this sector.
The report refers to the Global Innovation Index 2018, where Bulgaria is the world’s third most innovative upper-middle income country and a leader in the SEE region in terms of innovation efficiency and achievement. Furthermore, in its latest ranking of the fintech locations of the future, the Financial Times named Sofia as the number one city globally in terms of cost effectiveness.
The companies cover all segments in the sector, with payments and billing (30%), capital markets solutions (15%) and personal finance (12%) being the most popular. Between 2014 and 2018 the number of employees in the sector has risen twice and continues to grow constantly as a consequence of both the emergence of new players and the expansion of existing ones.
The total operating revenue in the sector in 2018 is over 200 million euro representing an annual increase of 33,5% and a doubling in just three years. Each year the sector expands its share in the GDP of the country. The total net profit in 2018 is of more than 59 million euros, which is more than twice the figure for 2017.
Fintech Scope and Development of the Sector Forecast
More than 65% of the population in the CEE market is expected to be using digital banking services by the end of 2020 as a result of which digital markets will grow across the CEE region.
Data shows a new peak in the level of fintech investment in many CEE markets. Compared to 2018, the markets in Lithuania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine showed a strong growth in investment. An
Biotech Atelier 2020 announced yet another satellite event – the online workshop Plant Biotechnology: Beyond that will be held on the 25th of September – https://biotech-atelier.com/ba2020/plant-biotechnology-beyond/. Scientists from leading academic and industrial institutions in Bulgaria and Germany will join the workshop.
Plant Biotechnology: Beyond will include the following sessions:
Our team will join the event as an institutional and communication partner. We kindly invite you to join us at Biotech Atelier 2020 – the annual conference for Eastern Europe, uniting futurists, entrepreneurs, business leaders and experts in Biotechnology, IT, Life Science, Healthcare and Pharma.
Biotech Atelier 2020 will take place on 24th and 25th September 2020, at Sofia Tech Park. The organisers expect 350+ guests, 120+ companies and plan 24+ panel discussions. In 2020, Biotech Atelier will feature a students’ poster exhibition and a startup pitch contest in front of investors, experts and international guests.
To register for the event, please visit: biotech-atelier.com
CESA (Central European Startup Awards) National Finale will be held for a 5th consecutive year in Bulgaria! This year it is The Bulgarian Startup Association (BESCO) hosting the event (BESCO).
The nominations are now open.
Nominate yourself or a startup / ecosystem player in one or more of the following categories:
⭐️Startup of the Year
⭐️Founder of the Year
⭐️Best Social Impact Startup
⭐️Investor of the Year
⭐️Best Fintech Startup
⭐️Best Coworking Space
⭐️Best Accelerator/Incubator Program
⭐️Ecosystem Hero of the Year
⭐️Best Virtual Teamwork solution
Nominations are open until August 31 at the following link:
You can nominate anyone, including yourself. The finalists will be announced on 12 October and will take part in the National Finale – CESA Bulgaria. It will be held in Sofia in the middle of November. The winners will participate in the Regional Finals for Central- and Eastern Europe at the beginning of December with the finalists from Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
The EIC Fund, which will provide equity from €0.5m to €15m to breakthrough innovation companies selected for EIC Accelerator blended finance support (grant and equity), has become an official entity. This is the first time the European Commission will make such direct equity investments in companies, with ownership stakes expected to be in general from 10% to 25% in start-up companies. The European Investment Bank, as advisors of the EIC Fund on behalf of the European Commission, will manage the ownership stakes of the European Commission.
The EIC Fund fills the funding gap at the start-up stage where the EU venture capital market underperforms compared to the global venture capital market.
Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth said:
“The EIC Fund – the first of its kind – will help our most innovative start-ups and SMEs rapidly bring their innovative products to European and global markets, while growing their companies and talent within the EU. Currently, so much economic growth and jobs potential are lost because these companies are seen as too high-risk for the private venture capital market.”
From 2021, the EIC Fund will be financed by the EIC to be established under Horizon Europe – the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme (2021-2027). Depending on the demand and quality of proposals, it is expected that at least one third of the EIC budget, currently proposed at €10bn, will be in the form of equity managed by the EIC Fund. Furthermore, the EIC Fund will increase financing for high-impact innovation by crowding-in private investment, co-investing with venture capital funds, national promotional banks, corporate venture funds and other private investors.
In addition to equity funding, EIC Accelerator-supported companies receive grant funding of up to €2.5 million and have access to mentoring, business coaching and matchmaking with investors, corporates and likeminded entrepreneurs.
For more information on how can you get involved, a list of the companies in EIC Accelerator programme and facts about the EIC Fund, please follow the link https://ec.europa.eu/research/eic/index.cfm?pg=investing
STRATEGIC INFRASTRUCTURE AND INVESTMENT ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2020
The fifteenth edition of the annual Strategic Infrastructure and Investment Conference 2020 will focus on the priorities, strategies and financing models in Bulgaria and Southeast European countries, as well as on the current state of large-scale transport, energy and environmental infrastructure projects.
SMART CITIES – URBAN TECH SOLUTIONS TO SHORTEN THE ROAD TO RECOVERY
Experts from Sofia Municipality were invited to take part in the Smart cities – urban tech solutions to shorten the road to recovery webinar to be held on July 9, 15:00 – 15:45 BST / 16:00 – 16:45 CEST.
In the upcoming meeting together with Manchester-UK represented by MIDAS Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency, we are going to discuss:
11th NATIONAL CONFERENCE WITH INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION ELECTRONICA 2020
ELECTRONICA 2020 will continue the discussion on the state and prospects for the development of Bulgarian electronics research, education, and industry in the globalized international economy and considering Bulgaria’s EU membership. During the event, papers discussing theoretical and applied electronics submitted by Bulgarian and foreign specialists will be presented. Bulgarian and foreign companies are planned to participate in ELECTRONICA 2020, incl. in the round table and the expo part to be organized.
– Biometrical Engineering
– Circuits and Systems
– Education and Learning technologies
– Instrumentation and Measurement
– Industrial Electronics
– Information and Communication Technologies
– Microelectronics and Nanoelectronics
– Power Electronics
– Mechatronic Systems
– Advanced Materials
GLOBAL AZURE BULGARIA 2020
Global Azure Bulgaria 2020 is the Bulgarian edition of Global Windows Azure – a global community event for the public cloud platform Windows Azure. The sixth local edition of the event will take place on August 29, 2020 at Sofia Tech Park.
The event will be focused on technical sessions in several tracks. In addition to this great learning
The five outdoor swimming pools with water slides and the SPA area of Vazrazhdane Park in Sofia are already open for visitors. The complex has mineral pools and fountains for pouring mineral water. You can view all offered services of the Aqua Zone on its official website.
Sofia Municipality invested BGN 9.5 million of municipal funds and a low-interest loan under the Regions in Growth Operational Programme through the Sustainable Cities Fund so that Vazrazhdane Park could include an aqua park and an indoor pool for Sofia’s citizens of all ages.
Ten new Siemens metro trains have been purchased for Line 3 of the Sofia metro and 10 new trams have been provided to replace old ones and renew Sofia’s public transport. The procedure for the delivery of 30 new Skoda Solaris trolleys with a rechargeable battery system has been completed as well. The procedures for another 25 new trams and 30 electric buses are currently under evaluation. The funding for the new vehicles comes from the Environment Operational Programme as part of the activities of the Sofia Municipality to improve air quality.
Sofia Municipality’s “Vacation” Programme organizes for another year in a row sports and opendoor activities with free access for children and young people. Games and sports opportunities will be available throughout the whole summer. You can find detailed information about the “Vacation” Programme of Sofia Municipality here .
Regional administrations also join the Programme with a variety of activities. The schedule is published here.
In its effort to help during these difficult times, Ernst & Young are delighted to let you know that the EY Finance Navigator team are offering three months free access to ‘EY Finance Navigator’, an online financial planning software designed specifically for startups and scale-ups to help them build professional financing models and detailed cash flow projections. In this way, the consulting company would like to support startups in a moment when they are most vulnerable.
The deadline for registering is 31 July 2020 and the 3 months free access starts from the registration date. Request your three months of free Finance Navigator access here. Please make sure that you enter “COVID19FN” in the field, “How did you hear about us”, which will enable the free membership.
At this link, you will find detailed product instructions, including a 37-minute webinar with complete instructions on how to use the tool.
Once you register and receive your Finance Navigator account, you will also receive a short guide explaining how to get started with the software.
Fund of Funds has signed a contract for new BGN 35.6 million, which will be managed by Vitosha Venture Partners OOD. Between BGN 30,000 and 2 million will support over 100 Bulgarian startups. About half of the companies will participate in the Fund Manager’s acceleration programme, the rest of the investments will be in companies at a more advanced stage of development.
United Bulgarian Bank (UBB) is the first financial institution to offer the new guarantee programme COSME COVID-19 of the European Investment Fund. BGN 245 million will be directed to micro, small-, and medium-sized enterprises to overcome the financial consequences of COVID-19. Under the program, 80% of the loans, bank guarantees, and the total limits for working capital and issuance of bank guarantees in BGN and EUR will be guaranteed free of charge. The maximum loan amount is 150 000 Euro, and the financing period is from one to five years, with an option to extend this period up to 10 years.
The programme is open until the end of 2020. The conditions for participation have been eased to the fullest, with no need for complicated documentation to prove the impact of COVID-19 on the business.
MediaMotor Europe’s new project, under Horizon 2020, is administering a procedure for raising applications from technology