On January 20th Sofia’s Municipal Council approved the budget of the city for 2017. The sum provided to Sofia municipality for the year is BGN 1.328 B (over 60 million increase from 2016).
401 million of the approved budget are assigned for investment activities, most of them will be allocated into actions toward green city environment.
Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova said that the modernization of public transport in Sofia continues to be a priority in 2017. The construction of the third metro line will continue with an investment of BGN 243.6 million. Thirteen new trams, 30 new buses as well as 120 more vehicles running on natural gas will increase the public transit fleet in the city. Around 10% of the tram lines in the city will be renovated.
Investment plans include 33.8 million BGN for the reconstructions of West Park, park “Vartopo” in “Mladost”, NDK Square and the Sofia Zoo.
Cultural activities will be supported with 34 million for theaters, schools, and kindergartens. The municipality also allocated BGN 500 000 for the upcoming “Sofia – European Capital of Sport”.
The budget does not provide for an increase in local taxes.
Over 30 representatives from leading Bulgarian and Norwegian companies and organizations discussed business development opportunities in the fields of green technology, smart cities, and entrepreneurship during the first stage of the event Sofia Meets Oslo. Oslo Meets Sofia, on 24 – 26 January 2017, organized by Sofia Investment Agency in cooperation with Sofia office of Innovation Norway.
Sofia is no longer just an outsourcing partner but a business destination that creates new products and solutions, said Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency at the conference.
The matchmaking event set the beginning of series of initiatives aiming to strengthen trade relationships between Bulgaria and Norway and to facilitate business contacts among companies and institutions which want to share experience, exchange ideas and best practices.
Sofia Investment Agency partners in this project with Sofia office of the Norwegian state agency “Innovation Norway” which offers financial support for companies focused on the integration of innovative business practices.
The conference started with welcome speeches by the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova and Hon. Tove Bruvik Uestberg, Ambassador of Norway to Bulgaria. “Sofia Municipality is ready to support any business practices that share the vision for the development of our capital as an innovative and green city.”, Fandakova said. The conference outlined the advantages and the perspective areas for future cooperation between Bulgarian and Norwegian companies.
Ventseslava Yanchovska, Manager of “Innovation Norway” for Bulgaria, presented funding opportunities for Bulgarian companies planning to integrate innovative and high technology projects. “To help and stimulate competitiveness is the main focus of “Innovation Norway” – said Mrs. Yanchovska. “The financial and methodological support we provide to Bulgarian companies helps them grow and step out on international markets.”
In an interview after the event Ventseslava Yanchovska commented on the innovation agenda in the green industry for the period 2009-2014 by announcing that the interest was extremely high. “The interest in such initiatives and tools is huge because Bulgarian companies experience difficulties in setting aside funds for innovation and new technologies, and this is a great opportunity for them to devote resources that help them optimize production and improve its competitiveness.”, Yanchovska said. By the end of 2017 a new program will be launched and Norway Grants hope for another round of promising and long-term green projects. Watch the full interview with Ventseslava Yanchovska.
The second stage of the project “Sofia Meets Oslo. Oslo Meets Sofia” comes in May