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.


New Generation Skills Third Transnational Meeting

The New Generation Skills project partners met in Belgrade on 13 and 16 of June, 2018, for the third transnational meeting. The 12 partners from 7 countries in the Balkan region – Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia, discussed and monitored the project progress. Special emphasis was given to discuss the seven local innovation labs: the renovations and refurbishments, the planned activities, ways to attract young people.

Parallel with the meeting, an international youth camp was held with young participants – 15 to 29 year-olds, from the partner cities who worked to develop social innovation ideas addressing societal challenges.

At the end of the meeting a special dissemination event attended by a variety of stakeholders from Belgrade. The experience and lessons learned in the framework of the project regarding social innovation and youth entrepreneurial skills development.

SDA is a project knowledge partner in the NGS project under the Danube Transnational programme, co-founded by the EU funds (ERDF and IPA),

InnoBridge Interregional Workshop

The 8th Interregional Learning Workshop of InnoBridge project has held in Autonomous Province of Bolzano – South Tyrol, Italy, from June 6-8, 2018. Project partners enjoyed a very interesting Study Visit at NOI Techpark, former aluminium factory, Laimburg research center for agriculture and forestry and Microgate company, innovating in the area of aerospace telescopes and timing.

Partners, among whom Sofia Development Association, worked together on development of their Action Plans, aiming to improve city or regional level policy instruments that support research, development and innovation, particularly for SME. Sofia Development Association is focusing on the public-private Sofia Fund for Innovations, established in 2013.

InnoBridge is an INTERREG EUROPE project cofounded by EU’s ERDF.


INTEGRA Partnership Meeting

Experts from Sofia, Prague (Czech Republic), Osijek (Croatia), Kosice (Slovakia) and Italy gathered together for a partnership meeting in Rubano, Italy, from May 30 to June 1st, 2018.

The participants conducted a pilot city tour with checklists and photovoice in Rubano and neighbouring Padua to assess the policies and practices of integration of third country nationals and migrants, to identify good practices and challenges.

The project team was joined by representatives of the local stakeholder integration groups – people from local government and NGOs working in the area of integration. The stakeholder integration groups in the five countries formed a common expert network for exchange of experiences and interaction.

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

Is the Internet possible without hate speech? 21 – 22 June, 2018, Sofia, Center for culture and debate Red House

“Living Together Online: positive messengers for tolerance” is an international conference to discuss methods to counter online hate speech.

How hate speech originates, who the offenders are, when hate speech crosses the border between digital and physical, how false news can cause tension and even violence, what the hate speech victims experience? These are some of the questions we will discuss together with a Rwanda genocide survivor, a founder of the most massive public campaign for Culture without Hate in the Czech Republic, with hate speech researchers, journalists and experts from Greece, Great Britain, Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany and Bulgaria.

We will look into the future together with politicians, human rights experts, gaming industry representatives, local authorities, we will review the instruments that are already being used online and offline, to effectively limit hate speech. We will map the way ahead together.

The conference is organized by Sofia Development Association in the framework of the project Coalition of Positive Messengers to Counter Online Hate Speech, co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union.

The conference is part of Sofia Municipality programme for Bulgaria’s presidency of the EU. Among the speakers are Iliana Yotova, Vice President of Bulgaria, and Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia.

You can see the programme here.

Register before June 18, 2018.

Available seats are limited.

Sofia Integration Audit

Over 30 participants took part in the first Sofia Integration Audit, held in the framework of INTEGRA project funded by EC’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. Participants - representatives of Sofia Municipality, NGOs, third country nationals, law enforcement institutions, academia and schools - conducted a self-assessment of Sofia practices to integrate third country nationals and migrants. On May 16, 2018, in small groups, they toured the city and visited neighbourhoods where migrants gather, live and work, to assess the migrant friendly urban features and the missing, or inefficient integration policies of Sofia. Two instruments were used: checklists and photovoice - documenting achievements and shortages with digital photos. The photos and the comments to them can be seen in the Photovoice menu. The findings of the photovoice and checklists, together with desk research and focus group results, will be incorporated in Sofia City Integration Audit Report later this year.

Sofia Development Association is the lead project partner of the consortium including also ETP – Slovakia, RISSC – Italy, ICP – Czech Republic, Centar za mir – Croatia and RiskMonitor – Bulgaria.



On June 27 and 28, coders from all Balkan countries will gather at Sofia Tech Park in Sofia to shape Europe’s digital future.

The Balkan Hackathon is under the official patronage of: Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, and Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia.

The event is organized by the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, Sofia Municipality, the State e-Government Agency, Sofia Development Association and Webit Foundation, and hosted by Sofia Tech Park.

The Balkan Hackathon gathers together the best coders – students, startups, designers, IT enthusiasts and professionals – from all Balkan countries to explore and prototype solutions to the challenges facing Europe’s digital future and the digital connectedness of the Balkans. All those interested in improving online government tools, guaranteeing the security and privacy of citizens’ data, and making technologies accessible regardless of location, age, gender, and occupation will be competing for considerable cash prizes provided by Mtel, Sofia Municipality, and the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria.

The winning team will receive a cash prize of 5000 EUR and an official invitation from Commissioner Mariya Gabriel to participate in Europe Code Week 2018 in Brussels.

The main challenge at the 24-hour hackathon is the digital divide: making sure no European citizens are left behind in the digital age. Just 1 month after the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia and as part of the program of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, teams of coders from the Balkans will present their solutions for a connected Europe.

The working language at the Balkan Hackathon will be English. More details about participation, coding challenges, and agenda are available at the Hackathon webpage:

Registration is open until June 1 2018.

The 2018 Balkan Hackathon: Breaking the digital borders will be made possible with the support of Mtel and the partnership of Upnetix, Dreamix, and Software University.

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