Sofia and Vienna Enter Agreement to Support Startups

On October 22, following an official meeting of Sofia Mayor, Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, and the mayor of Vienna, Mr. Michael Ludwig, the two cities signed a City-to-City Agreement to provide business support to companies that want to start operations in the partner capital. The agreement targets companies from various sectors, such as Financial technologies, ICT, Creative Industries, Biotechnology and Life Sciences, and others.

The agreement was signed by the executive directors of the business agencies of the two cities – Mr. Gerhard Hirczi, managing director of Vienna Business Agency and Mr. Vladimir Danailov, CEO of Sofia Investment Agency. Under the agreement, entrepreneurs from Sofia, willing to start business in Vienna and companies from Vienna that want to launch operations in Sofia will receive initial support for a co-working office, information, contacts with investors and participants in the ecosystem in the respective sector, accommodation in the city, etc.


The agreement was signed within the framework of the parallel event 25-hour Vienna. Eleven Bulgarian fintech and biotech companies, accompanied by the Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, took part in a series of business meetings with Austrian organizations and companies. The two-day program aimed to introduce Vienna’s business environment to Bulgarian entrepreneurs, to help them establish key contacts with local partners and to discuss opportunities for cooperation.

In the Vienna Business Agency’s Expat Center the Bulgarian companies had the opportunity to learn more about the opportunities for business in the Austrian capital and how to set up operations in the city. The presentations were attended by experts from Vienna Business Agency, multinational professional services networks, as well as Invest in Austria – the national investment promotion company, providing professional consulting services to foreign companies that intend to establish subsidiaries or main offices in Austria.

The Sofia-based companies also visited weXelerate – the largest multi-corporation accelerator in Europe, which provides companies with free support aimed at facilitating sales, growth and entry into new markets. WeXelerate also held a conversation with Speedinvest , a new pan-European vertical venture capital fund.

Sofia’s fintech companies also met with the team of Elevator Lab – the largest corporate fintech accelerator in Central and Eastern Europe, created by Raiffeisen Bank International. The accelerator aims to find the best start-up companies in the field of finance and build long-term cooperation between them and the banks in the Raiffeisen Group.


Biotech companies were welcomed by Mr. Peter Halwachs, executive director of LISAvienna – a joint project in the field of Life Sciences of Austrian Economic Agency and Vienna Business Agency. LISAvienna supports innovative companies in the field of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medicine. The platform connects companies with partners for development and key customers. The organization contributes to Vienna’s positioning as one of the leading European innovation centers.

On the second day the Bulgarian delegation visited the campus of Vienna BioCenter /VBC/ – a leading research institution, a cluster of research institutes and companies. VBC has a 30-year history. Presently, more than 1,700 biotech researchers from over 70 countries and about 600 students work at VBC. The campus covers an office and laboratory space of more than 90,000 m², and today it is an association of 4 research institutes, 18 biotech companies, service companies, and a business incubator. The four research institutes maintain a joint doctoral program with some 130 PhD students. VBC scientists have won more than 40 grants from the European Research Council (ERC) worth over EUR 80 million and seven of the prestigious Wittgenstein awards.

The meeting and presentation of the VBC was attended by Fabien Martins, the new director of Max F. Perutz Laboratories (MFPL), one of the four institutes in the research center, and Mrs Raquel Díaz Francia, marketing manager of Vienna BioCenter.


Our team expresses our gratitude to the Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria in Austria and His Excellency Ivan Sirakov, Ambassador of Bulgaria in Austria, to Vienna Municipality and Vienna Business Agency for the support in organizing useful meetings for the Bulgarian delegation; as well as to Eurocomm PR, Vienna international relations bureau, for the perfect organization during the two days.

Special thanks to Sofia Investment Agency and Vienna Business Agency teams for the support and great organization during…

Публикувахте от Infoleven в Сряда, 24 октомври 2018 г.


We are extremely happy with the positive feedback from the Bulgarian companies that participated in the delegation and showed their potential in Vienna, as well as their interest in opportunities for further business development. Thus, they are involved in the development of the Financial Technologies and Biotechnology sectors in Sofia and Bulgaria.

25 hours in Vienna was a meaningful event. It showed me Vienna not only as the best city to live in, but also as an important factor in R&D. The opportunity to visit weXelerate and Vienna Biocenter was particularly inspiring – they showed models that are innovative for Bulgaria, I think each of the companies left with a message. I believe that participation in such initiatives will support the development of the ecosystem in the field of biotechnology and life science in Bulgaria. Albena Eftenova, Managing director, PharmaLex

The organized official visit of a small delegation from Sofia to Vienna was useful for entrepreneurs in the field of information technology and the so called Life Sciences. Delegates had the opportunity to get acquainted with the two main opportunities for stimulating and developing business initiatives – private (at the meeting with weXelerate), and public (at the meetings with the relevant agencies and public institutes). This was a great opportunity to create individual contacts and exchange of experience, we will certainly learn a lot from our colleagues from Vienna. I congratulate the organizers and expect new similar opportunities. Mrs. Fandakova’s participation has given extra importance of the delegation, for which I am extremely grateful. Dr. Dimitar Georgiev, founder and CEO, Paralax Life Sciences

We met with investors in Austria who stressed that they are proactively looking for innovative companies in Bulgaria, because our region is too promising to be ignored. Raiffeisen Bank repeated this in other words. This, in addition to the support we have from the agencies of both countries, makes Vienna a very interesting destination for business development. Rosen Zhivkov, Еxecutive director, Abilitics

The program managed to cover the main points of the start-up ecosystem, as we had a real opportunity for discussion and meetings with key employees. The atmosphere during these two days was extremely positive and full of entrepreneurial spirit. Furthermore, it was a great pleasure for all participants to meet and discuss our projects with Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, mayor of Sofia.Tsanka Taneva, Business Development manager, Evrotrust Technologies JSC


Useful links:

Vienna Start-up Package – here also Start-ups from Sofia can apply:

Vienna Start-up city:

Vienna Business Agency’s services for startups:

Eurocomm PR – Vienna international relations bureau:


Sofia’s visit to Vienna received wide media coverage in a number of foreign media. Some of the publications can be found at the following links:

The official website of the city of Vienna

Vienna Business Agency

Boerse-express – the leading financial media in the German-speaking world, with analyses from leading financial experts and up-to-date information from the world of business and finance.

Trending Topics – Austria’s fastest growing portal for innovation and start-up companies, with publications in German and English

Austrian media OTS – the European portal for urban policies and good practices