SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.


An international conference "Culture for Social Inclusion, Social Innovation and Intercultural Dialogue" was held on May 19, 2017

An international conference of the Committee on Social policy, Education, Employment Research and Culture with the European Committee of the Regions (CR) was held in Sofia on May 19, 2017, in cooperation with Sofia Municipality. Over 40 local and regional politicians from the member states came to learn from the cultural policy and good practices of Sofia and to discuss the role of culture as a driver of social inclusion, social innovations and intercultural dialogue. Sofia applied and was selected to host the event upon the initiative of Malina Edreva, member of CR and Sofia municipal council.

The president of CR Markku Markkula and Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova outlined that the Bulgarian capital is among the first cities to establish innovative and bold models like the Fund for Innovations in Culture supporting creativity and culture in the city through public-private partnership, the Cultural management Academy, municipal hackathons and others. The European Year of Cultural Heritage, the European Urban Agenda in which Sofia is active in 3 out of 12 themes and coordinates the digital transition partnership, the new EU legislation regarding copy right were identified as factors facilitating the role of culture as a motor for inclusive growth.

Sofia deputy mayor Todor Chobanov, chief architect Zdravko Zdravkov, the MEP Eva Maidel, mayors and councilors from Sofia and Bulgaria, cultural operators, university professors, representatives of European embassies and cultural institutes also took part in the conference.

Sofia presented diverse good practices. The international participants were greatly impressed by the Roma social and educational center in Fakulteta, the supported by the municipality activities of Maria’s World Foundationa and Multi-Culti, the Volunteer Day held jointly by the business community and the Sofia Culture Directorate.

Sofia hosts a European conference on the role of culture for social inclusion

Over 40 local and regional politicians from EU member states will meet in Sofia on Friday 19 May to discuss the role of culture as a driver for social inclusion, social innovation and intercultural dialogue in Europe's cities and regions. The event is organised by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR), the assembly of EU's local and regional representatives.

The seminar will be opened by the President of the European Committee of the Regions Markku Markkula, Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova and CoR member Malina Edreva, who is the chair of the Committee on Education and Culture in the Sofia Municipal Council. Representatives of the European Commission will present the ongoing preparations for the European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018, which coincides with the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU.

"Sofia has become a city of cultural and creative industries. We have invested in cultural infrastructure and the city has benefitted from the creation of new museums. We have had the first long-term municipal strategy for culture, even before the state, and it was made together with the artists and the people who are involved in cultural activities", Mayor Fandakova said.

Local and regional leaders from other EU countries will learn from Sofia’s experience in the field of management of cultural processes, funding culture via innovative public-private partnerships and regenerating spaces for cultural production. Member of European Parliament Eva (Paunova) Maydell will participate in a debate on the potential of culture in digital society and the role of technologies for cultural and social inclusion, with particular focus on creating employment opportunities. It is estimated that cultural and creative sectors provide over 80 000 jobs in Bulgaria.

Culture can be a key factor to the social inclusion of migrants, Roma community and people with disabilities. The Sofia city administration is addressing the challenges faced by the Roma via an innovative model which includes professional orientation and entrepreneurship training for young people. Much of the work at grassroots level is done by civil society organisations such as MultiKulti Collective, which is helping migrants to integrate in the Bulgarian society and educating local people through immersion in the customs, food and traditions of others. This and other similar cases will be presented to the participants.

The seminar is organised by the CoR's commission for Social Policy, Education, Employment, Research and Culture (SEDEC) in partnership with the city of Sofia.

#BG10xEU Hackathon, May 12-13, 2017

24 hours of incredible energy came to an end. Out of 49 registered teams with over 350 participants, 34 teams succeeded to achieve a minimum viable product and to present before the jury the demo versions or prototypes of their proposed technological solutions. There was a great variety of ideas: from applications for combating forest fire to internet based big data in the area of public procurement; from mechanism for establishing a Fame Lab in every school to applications for identifying the relevant open calls for projects; from a platform for training, job searching and recruitment of people with disabilities to technological solutions for professional orientation; from serious games to foster recycling to an application for popular robotics.

8 teams reached the final selection and presented their ideas before the jury and the audience: Brain Hub Lab, The Peach Door, GaidARi, 1D, Dzham vrata – vrata dzham, Prizma, Education 4.0 and PCVT. And here are the results and prizes:

The first prize of 10,000 BGN, provided by Mtel, and a 10,000 BGN voucher for presentation at Webit 2018, was awarded to Prizma. Dimo, Zlatko and Zlatka have developed an app prototype for direct translation of video recorded text into sign language, with the option of broadening towards recognizing and teaching sign language. Thus if a deaf person has difficulties to read a text, they can video record it with their phone or web camera and turn it into a sign language. Since the sign languages differ in different countries, the team has added the option to translate from one sign language into another, for instance to video record an English text and translate it into Bulgarian sign language.

The second prize of 5,000 BGN, provided by Sofia Municipal Council, was given to the start-up team of BrainHUB lab. The team presented the idea for an app translating sign language in real time. The app includes a platform for learning the sign language. The presented demo entitled “Velar” demonstrated successful visualization and recognition of basic signs/jestures. The team presented a prototype of a wrist bracelet needed for the translation.

The third prize of 3,000 BGN, also provided by Sofia Municipal Council, went to one of the youngest teams – Dzham vrata – vrata dzham. The team consisted of four 16-year old high school students from Technological School Electronic System, associated with the Technical University. Telerik, Martin, Antonio and Vladislav developed an internet site for urban problems and challenges and possibilities for their solution both by the municipal government and by the citizens. The young developeds received another award as well: the Mtel prize for best presentation.

The special award of Telelink Group of 10,000 BGN went to GaidARi. With the possibilities of augmented reality GuidARi plan to revive the ancient history of the capital city and of Bulgaria, inviting students, tourists and interested audiences to experience and interact with our cultural and historic heritage. Apart from an app, GuidARi aim to initiate the development of a digital archive with models and reproductions of Sofia and Bulgaria sites. Ivaylo and Martin, students at Sofia University and New Bulgarian University, received also the special award of Eva Paunova-Maidel, MEP – a trip to Brussels to participate in the European Code Week.

The special award of Sofia Municipality – “Green Sofia”, was awarded to 1D. Yordan, Desislava and Nedi developed a web-based and mobile game with augmented reality, in which players can plant and take care of virtual trees placed in the empty spots of missing trees in Sofia reality. At the same time players can share their achievements online. The aim of the game is raise awareness about the missing trees in the city. The project includes creating database with geo locations of empty spots allocated for trees, to assist the work of local government and voluntary groups.

All teams-finalists received passes for Webit 2018, too.

The even was initiated by the representation of the EC in Bulgaria and Sofia Municipality, while Sofia Development Association, Software University, Webit Foundation, UPNETIX and British Council in Bulgaria are the main organizers. Hackathon partners are the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Education and Science, Sofia University – Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics and Faculty of Economy, University of Library studies and Information Technologies, Technical University – Gabrovo, Burgas Free University, Ruse University, Veliko Tarnovo university, Sofia Tech Park, Sofia Markets East, Coca Cola HBS, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, ONTOTEXT, Data Science Society, NGO Links, Imperia Online, DeaMix,, Fund of Funds, Coworking Bansko, Idea Comm. General partners of the hackathon were Mtel and Telelink Group, and its media partner was BNT.



Architectural Hackathon: ELEVATED HABITAT V1.0

Elevated Habitat V1.0
Architectural Hackathon
26.04.2017, Sofia Tech Park


Elevated Habitat V1.0 Hackathon will take place during Webit 2017 and is part of the initiatives celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union, organized by the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria and Sofia Municipality.

The task for the participants is to develop innovative solutions for the roof space of a public building in Sofia - The Municipal Cultural Institute Sredets House of Culture.

Within its investment program under the "Regions in Growth" 2014 - 2020 Operational Programme, Sofia Municipality plans to carry out reconstruction and modernization of the Municipal Cultural Institute, transforming it into the Center for Contemporary Performing Arts and Education, in relation to which the architectural design of the site will be updated. The ideas and innovative solutions created during Elevated Habitat V1.0, have the opportunity to be included in the revised investment project.

The main challenge in the architectural hakathon Elevated Habitat V1.0 is to create a concept for the roof space of MCI HC "Sredets". Innovative, smart and forward-looking ideas are welcome to transform the roof into an attractive place in this zone of the city.

Sofia Municipality aims to transform the building into a stage, which will meet some of the needs of independent companies and artists, it will meet the latest standards in the presentation of performing arts work and at the same time will maintain and improve its educational functions.

The Centre for Contemporary Performing Arts and Education will support independent artists in the preparation and presentation of innovative artistic projects and practices, it will encourage and support young and debuting artists in the realization of their first projects, it will work towards raising the popularity and visibility of the contemporary performing arts in Sofia and towards the development of contemporary performing arts audiences by conducting educational programmes in arts for amateurs and professionals. It is essential that the participants’ concepts emphasize the link between the building and “Zaimov’’ park which will be reconstructed in the coming years.

The theme of the event is announced in advance, allowing participants to prepare their ideas. The hakathon participants will have the architectural project of the building in dwg format, which will be available after registration. They will have one day to finalize their concepts and to present them to the jury.

The aim of the hackton is to use shaping algorithmic methods of shaping. Previous experience with this type of software is an advantage.


Elevated Habitat v1.0 / 09:00 - 17:00
Entry presentations / 17:30 - 19:00
Announcing the Winner / 19:00 - 19:30

The participants in the hackathon will be provided with food, drinks and high-speed Internet connection.

The requirements for participation in the hackathon are:

1) innovative ideas; 2) personal laptop; and 3) preregistration

Following the preregistration process, the paricipant will receive additional information and access pass to enter Sofia Tech Park.

The work of the participants will be supported by a mentors team, provided by DESIGNMORPHINE.


The participants in the hackathon can register as individual contestants or in teams of maximum 6 people.

If your application is approved our team will contact you with free Visitor Access code to Webit Festival:

          First Place: 1000 BGN
            Second Place: 600 BGN
            Third Place: 400 BGN

              Arch. Zdravko Zdravkov, Chief Architect of Sofia
              Malina Edreva, Chairman of the standing committee of the Sofia Municipal Council
              Arch. Borislav Ignatov, Chairman of the Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria
              Ognian Zlatev, Director, EU Commission Representation in Bulgaria
              Svetlana Lomeva, Director, Sofia Development Association
              Arch. Orlin Davchev, Deputy Dean of UACEG
              Arch. Vladimir Damyanov, Department Interior and Design, VSU Lyuben Karavelov
              Plamen Russev, Founder & Chairman, Webit Foundation
              Tsvetelina Georgieva, Co Founder & CEO, DesignMorphine
              Vanya Barbalova, Lawyer

MENTORS DesignMorphine

Radul Shishkov
Associated Partner, DesignMorphine;
Associated Partner, ASA;
Doctorant & Master Architect, UACEG;








Georgi Kunchev

Associated Partner, DesignMorphine;
Director, Stephen George International;
Master Architect, UACEG








Zlatko Yanakiev

Member, DesignMorphine









Martin Petrov

Member , DesignMorphine


#BG10xEU Hackathon

On 12 and 13 May 2017, Bulgarian innovators interested in information technologies, programming, design, multimedia and marketing will give a technological response to theopportunities and challenges surrounding us. The #BG10xEU Hackathon will be held in Sofia Tech Park on the occasion of the 10-year membership of Bulgaria in the EU.

This event is initiated by the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria and Sofia Municipality; Sofia Development Association, Software University, Webit Foundation, UPNETIX and the British Council in Bulgaria form the core of the organizing team.

The prestigious #BG10xEU Hackathon “10 Years of Bulgaria in the EU” will be held during and in a shared space with Sofia Science Festival. For a few days, Sofia Tech Park will be the innovation hub of Bulgaria. Are we going to display that we have better coders than many European cities and regions?

All who have technical skills, vision for the future, creative ideas and the courage to stand up for them and defend them are invited to participate in the hackathon.

The participants should register prior to 8 May 2017 and accept the general conditions for particpation in the Hackathon.

Those wishing to participate must register their teams of at least 2 and maximum 8 people:хакатон-2017

What is the TOPIC?
The topic of # BG10xEU Hackathon is dedicated to the 10 years of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union. The goal is to find solutions to problems that we have not resolved yet or that lie ahead of us in the next 10 years, but we have not yet realized their salience.

Experience shows that each innovation makes its way with difficulty and it takes time before it is widely implemented. So, the Hackathon will focus on solutions that pave the way to the future.

What are the CHALLENGES?
         • Education: How can we prepare ourselves for the education of the future? What will the new jobs and the requisite new skills be? How can young people get access to training and employment opportunities that they need to succeed? How can we make sure that education and the demand for specialists are in synchronicity? There are many more questions that the hackathon participants ask themselves, and perhaps are already looking for a solution.

         • Environmental sustainability: How are we to solve environmental challenges? Are we ready to breathe more polluted air, especially in big cities? How are we to treat nature more responsibly? This is just a small part of the questions that we ask ourselves now; what would they be after 10 years and is it possible to propose solutions now?

         • Challenge! What are the challenges that await us, but we are still not aware of them? Is it not the time now to formulate them? What about seeking a solution that the world will need in 10 years? The future belongs to the brave and informed decisions.

What do winners get:
                                First prize: 10 000 leva
                           Second prize: 5 000 leva
                           Third prize: 3 000 leva

Special awards:
Eva Maydell, Member of the European Parliament and Ambassador of digital skills and Code Week, will award two hackathon participants with a visit to Brussels for Code Week 2017 programme events.

The teams have opportunity to present their projects to the partners of the initiative, who will themselves choose a project and will suggest the ways to support it.

#BG10xEU Hackathon “10 years of Bulgaria in the EU” will be held with the support of MOBILTEL, MICROSOFT and COCA-COLA HBC BULGARIA.

Hackathon partners are the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Economy, cultural centers of European countries in Bulgaria, Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski "- the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics and the Faculty of Economics, University of Library Studies and Information Technologies, Technical University - Gabrovo, Bourgas Free University, Rousse University “Angel Kanchev”, American University in Bulgaria, NGO Links, Imperia Online, Fund of Funds.

More information can be found here:

Interregional InnoBridge Project Workshop


The 4th interregional InnoBridge project workshop took place in Tampere, Finland, from March 7 to 9th, 2017. The Tampere Region Council and the Foundation of Universities in the region of Castilla y Leon, Spain, presented their programmes and initiatives for fostering regional innovations and encouraging SMEs to utilize R&D findings. Both regions also proposed their own good practices that might be transferred to other interested localities, which varied from on-campus business representation to a staff person allocated to stimulate open data utilization for business purposes.

InnoBridge project is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme and unites eight partners from seven countries. Sofia Development Association takes part in it, also representing Sofia Municipality. Apart from SDA team, two representatives from Sofia Municipal Council and the Expert Council on Science and Education participated in the event.

Page 1 of 15

Go to top