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.



Through the Innovation Fund, established in 2013 and recognized as a good European practice by the European Commission, Sofia Development Association annually organizes hackathons and funds specific solutions to challenges, assigned by public institutions such as Sofia Municipality, The European Commission in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Nuclear Society and others.

Currently, over 20 hackathons have been organized and co-organized through the Fund by the Sofia Development Association. Among the biggest events are:

Balkan hackathon  

Participants: 30 teams of different companies, universities, technology parks and innovative companies from 9 Balkan countries

Partners: Sofia Tech Park, the State e-Government Agency of the Republic of Bulgaria, A1, Webit Foundation, Ministry of Education and Science, Software University and others.

Challenges: innovative solutions that will overcome the Digital divide – how can we guarantee the inclusion of all citizens in the digital era, regardless of their income, social situation, geographic location, health, or age.

Awards: 10,000 EUR in cash and other non-cash prizes, including invitations to visit Brussels during Code week 2018

Winners: The winner among 40 innovative solutions was the team that created the application BookvAR that adds augmented reality to schoolbooks. The app makes easier the teaching and learning of many subjects.

In the same year was organized also the first Southeastern Europe hackathon "Information Technology in Nuclear Science and Technology".

#BG10xEU Hackathon  

Participants: Over 350 participants from 10 cities, at age 15-67

Partners: The European Commission in Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality, Webit Foundation, The British Council in Bulgaria, Microsoft Bulgaria, The ministry of Education and Science, 12 universities and others.

Challenges: Technological solutions in the areas of Education and Environmental Sustainability and the identification of possible new challenges that the future holds.

Awards: 38,000 BGN cash and non-cash prizes

Winners: More than 30 technological solutions were presented, but the winners were the participants who developed a prototype application for direct translation of camera-captured text into sign language.

During the same year, two more large and significant hackathons were organized, namely
Hack4Health and the first architectural hackathon Elevated Habitat V1.0.


Sofia Municipality Innovation Hackathon 2016

Participants: 600 students from 7 universities

Partners: Innovation Starter, Student Innovation Academy, National Palace of Culture, Mtel, Ontotext, Superhosting, Webit, Reach for change Foundation, Sofia University, NBU and others.

Challenges: Technological solutions in the fields of Education, Health and Cultural and Cultural-historical Heritage.

Awards: more than 30,000 BGN cash and non-cash prizes

Winners: Among the many creative solutions five winning teams were selected, and the grand prize was given to the multilingual application Your Sofia, through which everyone has the opportunity to search and find information and create their own routes according to their interests.

A creative tool developed in the framework of INTEGRA project has entered an international competition for radio productions

The lead partner of the project INTEGRA - Sofia Development Association is pleased to announce that one of the creative tools created within the project was selected for the international competition of radio production Prix Bohemia Radio. The tool is a series of podcasts Salad Bowl of Prague: Voices, which introduces the stories of foreigners who have settled down in Prague and make the city a more interesting and richer place: Juanita, a bistro owner of Indonesian origin, the former Tibetan monk Sonam, the fashion designer Mimi from Vietnam and the Balcan family trio Biljan, Zlatka and Bojan who run a famous Prague ice-cream chain. The creative tool was created by Czech project partners - Integration Center Prague.

INTEGRA representatives from Integration Center Prague were supposed to present the podcast series at the Prix Bohemia Radio festival in Olomouc at the beginning of April 2020. Unfortunately, the festival has recently been moved to October 2020 due to the current COVID-19 pandemia. Let´s hope once the festival comes, the podcast series will succeed among the finalists, reach new audiences and make the INTEGRA team proud.

You may find the Czech interviews here:

SDA wishes success to its partners in the upcoming competition!

Sofia Development Association presented Regional Action Plan in accordance with the Social Impact Investment Community Strategy for the Danube region

On March 9 and 10, 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia, representatives of the partner organizations and policy makers from the 12 partner countries of the project Finance for Social Change met. They discussed the draft version of the Social Impact Investment Community Strategy for the Danube region, which is being developed in the framework of the project. Some of the partners, among which SDA, presented their Regional Action Plans.

During the meeting, the partners exchanged good practices for social impact investments and discussed the development of the social enterprise ecosystem, as well as the first steps they will take to further develop the Strategy. In addition, the forthcoming communication activities regarding the organization of the educational programme and the competition for social entrepreneurs, which will be officially announced and open for applicants shortly, were discussed.

The project Finances4SocialChange is co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI). More information about the project is available at



InnoBridge First Annual Partner Meeting

The InnoBridge project first annual partner meeting took place in Bolzano, Italy, on February 18-19, 2020. Project partners from eight different European countries: the Regional Government of Lower Austria, the Universities and Higher Education Foundation of Castilla y León, the Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol; Pannon Novum West¬Transdanubian Regional Innovation Non¬profit Ltd., Council of Tampere Region, the Regional Development Agency of Alentejo, the Marshal Office of the Malopolska Region and Sofia Development Association and Applied Research and Communications Fund had worked together since 2016 to assess and improve their regional instruments that foster better university-business knowledge transfer and utilization of R&D results for local SMEs. Through interregional learning partners had designed their 2-year Action Plans with concrete measures to make their regions more competitive through innovation and SME support.

At the first annual meeting subjected the partners presented and monitor their Action Plan implementation, the improved policies and instruments, new projects and better management structures and processes.

Sofia Development Association presented the latest Sofia municipal developments in that area: the Sofia Start-up Accelerator, the scheme in support of Sofia Smart Specialization Strategy of the Municipal SME Guarantee Fund, the programme for social innovations, the innovation competitions (hackathons) and SofiaLab as a vanue equipped and programmed as a living lab.

In September 2020 the project will have its final high-level conference in Sofia.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.


Sofia Joins Forces with 8 Local Authorities and Social Partners in the EU to Improve the Integration of TCN

The first Steering Committee meeting for the project UMN – UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration - took place Feb. 13, 2020 in Brussels. The action, coordinated by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), aims at exchanging and transferring knowledge, experiences and (best) practices on integration between 9 UnionMigrantNet (UMN) members and 8 local authorities from five EU countries, namely, the municipality of Liège - Belgium, Sofia municipality, Dolna Malina municipality, the municipality of Athens - Greece, the municipalities of Milan, Trieste and Pordenone – Italy, and the municipality of Ljubljana - Slovenia.

Mr Ludovic Voet, Executive Secretary of ETUC, opened the meeting with remarks on the recent changes in the migration situation in Europe and the new challenges that need to be tackled in the implementation of the action such as fair labor mobility, collective bargaining, and labor protection issues for mobile workers.

Building on the already existing European network of trade unions providing services to third country nationals (TCNs), the project will seek to enhance the network by fostering partnerships with local authorities, key actors in the reception and integration of TCNs. SDA is one of the project partners from Bulgaria, together with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, and will focus on the integration of TCNs in the local labor market. Workshops, experience-exchange and training sessions are planned for the next 2.5 years of the project implementation.

The multi-national project UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration was funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.




The training course, organized by Sofia Development Association, was the opening event of Media Literacy Days in Bulgaria. The course took place on 5th of February in SofiaLab and provided 39 teachers with both theoretical knowledge and practical assignments.

The lecturers of the training were experts from the media, digital agencies and NGOs. The participants were trained how to discern and counteract fake news, online hate speech and online bullying. They were shown how to use the compulsory study content in order to develop students' media literacy and digital skills. Furthermore, the teachers got acquainted with various digital tools for content creation, which will help them present their subjects in an interesting and innovative way. The participants also learned through practice how to make podcasts, video and radio interviews and how to use platforms for publishing of media content. Overall, the teachers evaluated the training as very useful and they plan on putting the knowledge into practice in their everyday work with students.

All of the participants who completed the training successfully were certified and received various educational materials and resources. The training will be of use for the upcoming civic hackathon when students teams will compete and design campaign actions on media and information literacy.

The training program and the resource materials have been developed by an international team of experts within the framework of INclusion Communities through Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) project, co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme.


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