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.


Scientific-industrial laboratory RILab i 2030 Opening

On May 13, 2019, a scientific-industrial laboratory RIL i 2030 opened doors in the Bulgarian Academy of Science, with the participation of Sofia Mayor Mrs Fandakova, Eurocommissioner on Digital technologies and society Mrs. Gabriel and the Chairperson of the Bulgarian Academy of Science academic Revalski. The laboratory is established by a consortium consisting of two Bulgarian Academy of Science institutes, private businesses and SofiaLab of Sofia Development Association, while Sofia Municipality and Sofia Investment Agency are consortium partners. The goal of the lab is to support with R&D activities SMEs and technology intensive businesses in the light of Industry 4.0. The lab will provided modeling, prototyping, experimental research and testing, virtual production, staff training and public outreach events.

RILab i 2030 will contribute to the digital integration of science, business and education in the implementation of Sofia Smart Specialization Strategy.



Train the trainers workshop on Social impact investment

On April 25, 2019, Finance4Social Change project partners gathered in Vienna for a Train-the-trainers workshop on social impact investment, hosted by the Austria partner Ashoka. Based on the catalogue of good practices – among which is Sofia Public-Private Fund for Innovations promoted by Sofia Development Association – participants selected a few case studies in different categories: public-private investment, public investment, private investment, other options. Thus, the key actions, players, timeframe and financial scale were defined, proof of success was checked, and transferability prerequisites and conditions were discussed.

The workshop coincided with the regular project Steering Committee meeting, that subjected to discussion the methodology for the soon to be developed regional action plans, some upcoming project and communication activities.

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



In Bucurest, Romania was held a meeting under the project „Finance 4 Social Change“

On 23rd of April 2019 in Bucurest, Romania was held a meeting under the project „Finance 4 Social Change“. The meeting was in the form of pitching sessions during which selected social entrepreneurs from Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria presented their business cases. The audience was composed of policy-makers, experts from regional agencies, social impact investors and project partners. As partner of the project Sofia Development Association presented the case of two social entrepreneurs who developed their product during the Balkan Hackathon. They pitched an application called BookvAR which allows you to see objects with augmented reality (AR) in educational books in order to make learning more effecient and fun for the children. This application is an innovative and useful instrument for education which could lead to long-term changes in the way of teaching. The experts gave feedback to all social entrepreneurs and evaluated the impact of pitches. They identified key problem and success factors. All social entrepreneurs received valuable advices and hints for improvement of their products and how to lead a pitching session.

Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI) 
More information can be found at





Culture and arts in transition: the digital era

Open call for participation

The Goethe-Institutes in Sofia, Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo are pleased to announce an open call for participation in the Cultural Management Academy 2019. The CMA this year is dedicated to the topic „Culture and arts in transition: the digital era“ and will explore new technologies and their impact and use in the management of cultural institutions and cultural projects. The Academy offers participation in the CMA Network Meeting & Idea Camp taking place in July in Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture, and in an intensive one-week seminar, taking place in autumn 2019 in the country of origin/residence of participants. In order to support the capacity building process, the CMA offers possibilities for start-up funding of new collaborative projects through the CMA Fund.

About the CMA
The Cultural Management Academy is a post-graduate program for cultural management aiming at capacity building and stimulating exchange and collaboration in the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe. It was founded in 2015 in Sofia and throughout the years it has developed into an international program run by the Goethe-Institutes in Sofia, Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo. The network of the CMA already includes almost 200 cultural managers from Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Every year the CMA offers intensive local seminars (including lectures, workshops and trainings with local and international professionals), a networking meeting of all current participants in Bulgaria, funding possibilities for new projects and various other networking and collaboration opportunities.

Partners: EUNIC Global Office, local EUNIC clusters in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the City of Sofia, Sofia Development Associaton, Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture 2019, Colectiv A Association, University of Bucharest.

More information here.

SDA Trains the Ministry of Public Administration of Kosovo

On April 15, 2019, the Kosovo Ministry of Public Administration delegation came to Sofia on a study visit on the topic of open data, hosted by the State E-Government Agency. The study visit programme, coordinated by the administration of the Council of Ministers, included a session for Sofia Development Association to present its work in the area and to show the results and outcomes available online.

Sevdalina Voynova presented the process of opening data in Sofia Municipality, demonstrated examples of instruments used for data visualization and data based applications, explained the approach of Sofia and SDA to promote opening data by municipal hackathons and datathons and by supporting NGOs through the grant-making municipal programmes. The opportunities for better regulation and financing of open data, provided by the Digital Transition partnership of the European Urban Agenda, coordinated by Sofia, were also discussed.


The first Sofia Innovation Camp – part of the series of the Joint Research Center (JRC) initiative Science Meets Regions - took place on March 29 – 31, 2018 with the broader theme of cleaner air. It brought together close to 100 participants, ranging from academia and politicians to civil society and business representatives, from secondary school students to trade unions, from media to community organizations. Four generations worked together for three days in Sofia City Art Gallery to innovate, network and produce the first ideas and rough solutions developed jointly in response to challenges put forward by Sofia Municipality.

Lorita Radeva, Chairperson of the Environmental Committee of Sofia Municipal Council, proposed the challenge of combating energy poverty. The citizen response were two prototypes. The first envisions more efficient support to energy poor households by introducing an energy contract between the recipients and the municipality and establishing the figure of energy mediator (based on the model of health mediators). The second proposes to establish an Innovation and Demo Center for Smart Energy with real life demonstrations of different technologies and solutions, plus educational and consultancy activities for better energy efficiency.

Hristian Petrov, Director of the Urban Mobility Center, put forward the challenge of better urban transport. Participants who worked on this challenge, proposed to introduce school buses instead of parents driving kids to school. They also believe the public transport 365-day pass needs better promotion. Another solution proposed was to introduce mini-traffic modeling based on the city transport scheme, at the level of a crossroads, or parallel road repair works, allowing more efficient traffic regulation.

Doncho Barbalov, Deputy Mayor of Sofia, proposed the challenge of balancing technological innovations and their societal effects. The bottom-up citizen co-creating resulted in ideas for a new type of public cloud data connectivity; Solar City photovoltaic installations engaging disenfranchised citizens; career counselling center assisting young people to design a career path suitable for the future.

The challenge owners welcomed citizens to co-own the policy solutions and enhance the accountability of policy interventions. Sofia Innovation Camp, conducted as a partnership between Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association, Green Sofia and Sofia University, managed to establish platforms for on-going discussion on the evolution of proposed challenges, and the identification of new ones. To facilitate this process, Yordanka Fandakova, Sofia Mayor, and Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director General at JRC, signed a Memorandum for cooperation between Sofia and JRC in the areas of clean air, climate change, transport, digital transformation, cybersecurity.



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