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 email@example.com.
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.
Enterprise Europe Network at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce invites you at several virtual bilateral meetings. The formats allow online B2B sessions with international partners on a preliminary schedule and a specially adapted platform with an individual virtual room for each meeting.
The registration for the virtual B2B meetings during Torino Fashion Week Digital 2020 is open. The event is suitable for fashion designers and stylists; new clothing and accessories brands, start-ups, small and medium enterprises, textile and fashion accessories manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales agents, and fashion stores, e-commerce platforms, companies with ICT and technology solutions for the fashion industry, PR agencies, specialized fashion consultants, agents, universities and research institutes in the field of technology in the fashion and textile sector. Registrations are open until 30 September. Find more information here.
Another forthcoming event is Innovation Village 2020 – bilateral international meetings between representatives of companies, universities, research centers, and stakeholders on the issues of sustainable development, circular economy, and smart energy, to identify opportunities for technological and trade partnerships, launch cooperation and research projects, developing business opportunities in new markets. Innovation Village 2020 will be held from 7 to 8 October 2020, and registrations are open until 2 October. Find more information and a registration link here.
Registration is now open for virtual the meetings during the Istanbul Fintech Week, where entrepreneurs, investors, professionals, CEOs from around the world gather to discuss current and leading topics in financial innovation and technology (Fintech). The deadline for registration and scheduling of meetings is 14 October 2020. Find more information and the ways to fill in your participant profile here.
Information about current business events in all sectors can be found on the newsletter page on the website of the Enterprise Europe Network Bulgaria. The business meetings with dates in September and October are published in the latest bulletin of the organization here.
Fund of Funds (FoF) will invest a total of over BGN 660 thousand in start-ups to expand the current markets and the entering of new markets of projects in the field of new technologies and the introduction of innovations: industrial 3D printing, modern financial technologies, outsourcing platforms, software products. The investments will be made through the “Innovation Capital” fund manager.
The Seed/Acceleration and Start-up Fund are FoF’s instruments for equity and quasi-equity investments designed to support the setting up and development of sustainable
9-10 September, Sofia tech Park
jPrime is a conference with talks on Java, various languages on the JVM, mobile, web and best practices. Its sixth edition will be held on 09th and 10th of September 2020 in Sofia Tech Park.
It’s run by the Bulgarian Java User Group and backed by the biggest companies in the country.
jPrime features a combination of great international speakers along with the best presenters from Bulgaria and the Balkans. It is divided in two tracks and provides great opportunities for learning, hacking, networking and fun.
WEBINAR: WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING TRADE EXCHANGES WITH JAPAN?
15 September, online
On 15 September 2020, the EU-Japan EPA Helpdesk will conduct a webinar titled “What to know before starting trade exchanges with Japan”.
The webinar is targeted to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the European Union (EU) seeking to put, administratively, everything in place before exporting to Japan.
The webinar is also targeted to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that have already had experience in exporting to some FTA-countries. The seminar will provide specific information about the companies that intend to have trade with Japan as the EU-Japan EPA is very different from the other trade agreements concluded by the EU.
The seminar will present what should be started with and will put the focus on the main differences with former agreements. In addition, this webinar will analyze the best and the easiest way to put into practice the EU-Japan EPA and will also provide some useful links with trustworthy information.
For more information please click here.
To register please click here.
ROBO DAYS 2020
19-20 September, Sofia Tech Park/online
The free educational event “Robo Days 2020” of the Professional Association of Robotics and Automation PARA will be held for two consecutive days, on 19 and 20 September. The event will focus on the role of educational robotics and STEM disciplines in modern education, robots made by Bulgarian students, the prospects in educational robotics, the role of the students, teachers, and business, and the importance of dual education. “Robo Days 2020” will be streamed online on the PARA’s website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. In the lobby of the “Incubator” building of Sofia Tech Park, there will be an exhibition in compliance with all anti-epidemic measures.
During “Robo Days 2020”, teachers, young people, innovative companies, representatives of government institutions,
BIOTECH ATELIER announced yet another satellite event: Pharmacogenetics & Pharmacogenomics that will be held on 25th September 2020.
Pharmacogenetics & Pharmacogenomics will explore the importance of individual genetic information for treatment optimization, disease prevention, and management. The workshop will also discuss how pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics can improve human health.
– Pharmacogenetics and dealing with the variability of responses to medication due to single gene variations
– Pharmacogenomics and the relation between the human genome and a specific drug
– Pharmacogenetic and Pharmacogenomic Testing as an instrument for personalized medicine – building predictability about drug metabolism, treatment effectiveness, and expected side effects
For more information, please visit the website of BIOTECH ATELIER 2020.
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