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.


#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.

Sofia hosts the first Sofia Innovation Camp this weekend

Sofia Municipality in partnership with the Green Sofia Division of the Sofia Development Association, together with the Ministerial Council and European Commission’s DG CONNECT are co-organizing the first Sofia Innovation Camp that will take place on 11th and 12th March 2017.

The camp will bring experts from diverse countries together to address policy challenges related to open innovation approaches for co-creating innovative public services, co-creating public disscusions on green topics, and co-creating the public administration.

The Camp is organised in the context of the forthcoming Bulgarian EU presidency in the first half of 2018.

The innovation camp will be a small-scale innovation dialogue leading to concrete results. The intention is to produce concrete proposals and prototypes for dealing with the challenges in the coming months.

Approximately 30 people will take part in the Camp. Participants are experts in their respective spheres and stakeholders of the specific challenges and have been selected by the organisers. Participants will be divided in dedicated workgroups, each one addressing a specific challenge.

Coalition of Positive Messengers Goes to Bucharest

The NO hate practitioners' meeting. Mainstreaming best practices, organized by the Civil Society Development Foundation (Romania) took place in Bucharest 1 – 4 March 2017.

The main aim of this event was to share experience and discuss possible mainstreaming of best practices related to countering hate speech in Europe. Participants from more than ten European countries were invited to share national realities related to the hate speech topic, to discuss differences in approaches used in different countries in order to counteract hate speech, and to plan new joint interventions in their local communities.

The event was a great opportunity to share the methodology and objectives of the project Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech, implemented by 7 EU countries and coordinated by SDA. Snezhina Gabova from SDA participated in the event and presented the project in the first of the NoHate Talk sessions in the program.

Under the Coalitions project several training sessions for local stakeholders to design counter narratives to hate speech will be held in the partner countries (among them Croatia, Romania, Czech Republic, Greece). Interested CSOs will be invited to attend the local training sessions organized by SDA‘s partner in each of these countries. The event in Bucharest was an important forum to establish new connections and to exchange fresh ideas on an important but also challenging topic as hate speech.

NewGenerationSkills Kick-off meeting and Launching event

Municipality of Újbuda as Lead Partner of the NewGenerationSkills Interreg Danube transnational project welcomed the projects to Kick-off Meeting and launching conference on 28 February – 1 March 2017 in Budapest.

The Sofia Development Association team, as knowledge partner and WP Innovation Capacities Coordinator took part in the meeting and launching event.

On March, 1 the project Launching event gathered 80 experts and citizens in the Bartok.32 Gallery to discuss the innovation potential of the youth, their entrepreneurial skills and preparedness to become entrepreneurs.

We presented the innovation potential of Sofia and what we will bring to the project.

As the March, 1 is also a Bulgarian traditional holiday called Baba Marta we surprised the partners and guests sharing our tradition by offering all of them the traditional Bulgarian martenitza.

More details about the programme are included in the Agenda

SDA and Sofia Municipality partner and host Innovation Explorer Day for a second year in a raw

Sevdalina Voynova with Sofia Development Association participated in the roundtable “Public-private innovation partnerships” in the framework of the annual forum Innovation Explorer Day in Sofia on February 23, 2017. Examples of successful innovation partnerships in the public domain in three areas: education, climate and digital society, were presented at the forum. International guests also took part in the presentation of good practices and ideas for urban innovations. Sevdalina shared initiatives and project of Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association to foster the innovation ecosystem like the Strategy for Smart Specialization, the coordination of the Digital Transition partnership - part of the European Urban Agenda, the Public-Private Fund for Innovations. The roundtable ended with an open discussion on the three themes.

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