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.


InnoBridge Project Interregional Workshop in Baden

On November 27 – 29, 2018, InnBrodge project partners – among whom Sofia Development Association – got together for an interregional workshop in Baden, Lower Austria. The workshop aimed to help partners develop the final Action Plan for the improvement of their policy instruments supporting regional and local level innovation and commercialization of R&D results, and updating their Smart Specialization Strategies.

Sevdalina Voynova with SDA and Botyo Botev, Sofia Municipal Councillor, presented Sofia policy interuments: the public-private fund for innovations, the Guarantee Fund for SMEs, Sofia Investment Agency.

As part of the event partners had a study visit in Technilogy and Research Center Wiener Neustadt and got acquainted with the Austrian Institute of Technology, Technopol Wr. Neustadt, accent programme, Founder Agency Lower Austria and some leading tech companies of the region.

The InnoBridge project is funded through the INTERREG EUROPE programme, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the EU.



Third-Country Nationals Integration Roundtable

Sofia Development Association organized a roundtable on the integration of third country nationals in Sofia on November 23, 2018. The INTEGRA team presented three most plausible forecast scenarios for the in-migration of third country nationals and the challenges Sofia faces in the short term related to foreigners’ integration in the labor market, in the economic, cultural and social sphere. Together with the roundtable participants – representatives of Sofia Municipal Council and Sofia Municipality, experts with public institutions, employer organizations, international organizations, NGOs in the area of refugee and migrant integration and human rights, Sofia University, third country nationals – we discussed recommendations for local policies and measures. Among the recommendations are the creating a program for entrepreneurship, trainings sponsored by employers, creating a center for complex services for third country nationals, effective use of Sofia Municipality funding programmes, establishing mechanisms for collecting and analyzing relevant data.

The results of the roundtable discussions will be included in Sofia Integration Agenda that will be published in December and will be the basis of the upcoming advocacy and awareness raising campaign.

The event is part of the INTEGRA project, that received funding from Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union.



Needs Assessment of Asylum Seekers in Bulgaria

Sofia Development Association team took part in the final workshop on assessing the needs of asylum seekers and refugees in Bulgaria, organized by UNHCR in Bulgaria. Around 30 stakeholders with various organizations and institutions, such as the State Agency for Refugees, the Red Cross, the Border Control, universities, municipalities, NGOs actively working on behalf of refugees and migrants, got together on November 6, 2018, in Borovets to discuss the strategic priorities in the area of humanitarian protection, to analyze the needs assessment results and recommendations, to discuss new instruments and mechanisms for empowerment. Sevdalina Voynova and Svetlana Lomeva presented the INTEGRA project, funded by EC’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.



New H2020 SDA Project Launch

Sofia Development Association starts working on a new H2020 project – CICERONE. The project brings together programme owners, research organizations and other stakeholders to create a platform for efficient circular economy programming. The partnership reflects diversity of regional situations. It unites 24 partners from 13 EU member states, Switzerland and Taiwan, lead by EIT Climate – KIC.

An initial benchmarking exercise will be carried out for a deeper understanding of the state of the art, mapping stakeholders, existing RDI priorities as well as funding and legal mechanisms. A prioritisation methodology will be developed to support an analysis of the current performance: synergies, gaps and duplications will be characterised, and pathways for improvements will be formulated. Identified best practices will drive the definition of policy recommendations. A Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda will be built and a policy toolkit will be developed to promote the priorities and foster adoption by policy-makers. The project will also set the grounds for a future platform, defining its strategic role in the existing landscape, its governance and possible legal frameworks, as well as creating a financially sustainable model.

Sofia Integration Lab

After completing Sofia Integration Audit, in which over 100 citizens assessed Sofia policies and practices for TCN and migrant integration, Sofia Development Association and RiskMonitor Foundation organized Sofia Integration Lab on October 30 and 31, 2018, in Bankya.

The lab gathered together 18 experts from sectors relevant to integration: employment, education, social sciences, urban development experts, security experts, NGO leaders, TCN and migrant organizations. The participants developed three most plausible scenarios for the upcoming 3 to 5 years regarding TCN in Sofia: their presence, economic and social activity and integration, the capacity of the local community to accept them. For each scenario local governance actions and measures were proposed to allow the city to prepare and face efficiently the upcoming developments.

Sofia Integration Lab scenarios and policy recommendations will be the basis of Sofia Integration Agenda that will be the roadmap for the improvement of Sofia vision and services for third country nationals.

Sofia Integration Lab is part of the INTEGRA project, lead by Sofia Development Association and co-financed by EC’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.



SDA participates in the European cybersecurity month

Why is it important to integrate cybersecurity in educational programmes in schools and universities? What is the role of informal education in this process and in particular innovation camps, hackathons, specialized courses? How can good practices from other areas be transferred to this new field? These were some of the questions discussed at the conference entitled “Cybersecurity in electric mobility and digital transformation of energy infrastructure” on October 26, 2018.

Svetlana Lomeva was a panelist at the conference, organized by the National branch organization of electric mobility. Among the participants were also the European Commissioner on digital economy and society Maria Gabriel, MPs, deputy ministers, mayors, experts.

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