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.



The “Smart the cITy” hackathon, organized by software company SmartIT, aims to explore the best ideas on the topic of “Smart city and smart home.” Participants are invited to present their solutions for improving public transport, street lighting, parking, air quality, as well as modernizing the home environment using technology. The registration form is available at, and the deadline is 18 of May, 2018.

The winning idea will receive 3000 leva of funding and guidance for growing the project and bringing to market. The jury is chaired by Mr Svetlin Nakov, recipient of the John Atanassov award (2004) by the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, and a founder of Software University.

As partners, Sofia Development Association and the Green Sofia project are committed to providing their experience in support of the most practical solutions developed at the hackathon, in order to ensure that more programmers have the opportunity to see their ideas implemented in our daily life.

Open call for participation - Cultural Management Academy – Sofia 2018

Cultural Management Academy – Sofia 2018
Open call for participation

Application deadline: 11th May 2018

After three editions in Sofia, Bulgaria and a successful first international edition in 2017 in three countries, the Cultural Management Academy continues its post-graduate program in 2018 simultaneously in Sofia, Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo.

CMA in Sofia is a project by Goethe-Institut Bulgaria, the City of Sofia, Sofia Development Association and New Bulgarian University. The program in Romania, Greece and Bosnia and Herzegovina is organized by the local Goethe-Instituts. More about CMA and its history you find here.

The program in Sofia consists of a one-week intensive educational course in Sofia with the topic of 'Thinking forward about cultural heritage' and it includes lectures, seminars, discussions, debates and individual assignments given by Bulgarian and international professionals from the heritage sector, an online education platform with individual and group assignments. The program culminates in an international meeting on cultural management and cultural heritage and a networking fair in Sofia in September 2018, bringing together participants from Bucharest, Sarajevo, Sofia and Thessaloniki and international guest-speakers. Upon successful completion of the Academy, the Goethe-Insituts in Sofia, Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo will fund on competitive basis start-up collaborative international projects between participants from Bucharest and their colleagues from the branches in Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo.

In the end of 2018 the annual CMA publication with papers by participants from all four cities will be published by the organisers.

                  A group of up to 15 participants from Bulgaria
                  25-30 June, Sofia
                  Certified by the New Bulgarian University

A group of up to 15 participants from Romania and Moldova
2-7 July, Bucharest
Certified by the Bucharest University

A group of up to 15 participants from Greece
23-29 June, Thessaloniki

A group of up to 15 participants from Bosnia and Herzegovina
7-12 May, Sarajevo

International conference and CMA network meeting – 28-30 September, Sofia

Closed call for startup funding of new collaborative projects

Possibility to publish an article in the annual CMA publication

Joint online learning platform and materials

Network of over 100 cultural managers from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Thematic focus


Cultural heritage is usually perceived as something “old”, as legacy, as a trace from the past, as something which lays behind us. But even so, what is actually cultural heritage? It can be an artifact, a building, an artwork, a custom or a tradition, a fairy-tale or a song. Cultural heritage may belong to the museum or may be an active part of our daily life. The program of the CMA in Sofia will focus on the various notions of cultural heritage and how it could be implemented in contemporary life and put into contemporary context.

Participants will be invited to investigate the potential of cultural heritage to be innovated and to bring up innovation in the cultural sector. Through presenting good practices from Bulgaria and abroad, through lectures, discussions and workshops the program will focus on innovative practices in museums (through digital technologies and museums scenography), art in public space, architecture and urban development, legal regulations, funding opportunities, business models and new models for managing a cultural organization.

Furthermore, the program will stimulate participants to think of cultural heritage as a resource for new ideas and projects, education, innovation and exchange in the region of the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe.

Topics to be present in the course:
            • What is cultural heritage?
            • Common heritage in the Balkans and South-Eastern Europe
            • Innovative ways of presenting and promoting cultural heritage
            • Innovation in the museum
            • Fundraising for cultural projects
            • Crowdfunding
            • Dialogue between public institutions and private organisations
            • Cross-border collaboration and cultural tourism
            • Managing cultural organisations – leadership, new structure and business models

The program in Sofia is certified by the New Bulgarian University. Participant must meet following requirements in order to receive a certificate giving 3 ECTS and 9 NBU credits:

          • presence of min. 80% of all events of the program;
          • active participation and involvement in the learning process;
          • submitting a final assignment: participants can choose to submit an academic paper (10 pages, to be also included in the annual CMA publication) or a details project description of a new project (it could be also used for applying for funding from the CMA Fund)

Participation fee
The individual contribution is 200 Euro (=400 BGN). It includes:

         • participation in the 1-week intensive course and the 3-day international meeting and networking event;
         • lunch/coffee-breaks during all events;
         • training materials;
         • access to online learning;
         • expert assessment of individual work;
         • mentoring/consultations with Bulgarian and international professionals;
         • opportunity to develop a new collaborative cross-border project and receive startup funding of 2500 to 5000 EUR;
         • 3 ECTS points and a diploma issued by New Bulgarian University if all requirements are met.

Requests for a reduced contribution can be considered to a limited extent. In that case, the organizers ask for convincing reasons.

Who can apply?
          • Cultural managers, architects, archeologists, museologists, civil servants, representatives of museums, cultural institutes, NGOs, community centers (chitalishta), civil initiatives, academics and all professionals being active in the field of culture
          • Working experience in the cultural sector is an advantage
          • Successful candidates should have a Bachelor degree and be fluent in English and Bulgarian
          • Specific experience in the field of cultural heritage is NOT required

How to apply?
          • A motivation letter (max. one page) indicating: your professional background, fields of interest, motivation for participation, interest in the particular topic of the CMA in 2018, expectations from the CMA (things you are specifically interested in or you would like to learn/practice) – please, indicate if you want to receive a university certificate in the end of the course.
          • Up-to-date Curriculum Vitae
          • Additional materials such as portfolio, links etc. (if applicable)

Please note that the package of documents should not exceed the size of 7 MB.
Submit your applications until 11th May at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sofia Establishes Stakeholder Integration Group

To be able to engage the community in effective Sofia integration policy assessment and agenda setting, Sofia Development Association and RiskMonitor Foundation invited representatives of local government and institutions, NGOs and community organizations to establish a city Stakeholder Integration Group. It will participate in INTEGRA project decision-making and participatory activities and guarantee the quality and relevance of the project findings by tapping into local knowledge, reducing conflict and confidence building.

The integration group includes prof. Anna Krasteva, Center for European Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Studies; Miryana Malamin- Siriyski, expert with Sofia Municipal Council Committee on Culture, Education and Diversity; Angel Gyorev, Caritas; Nadya Obretenova, Bulgarian National Television; Solomon Bali, B’nai B’rith; Panayot Chafkarov, MultiCulti Collective; Costanza Ivanova and Lilyana Sabeva, Sofia Municipality.


Sofia Fund for Innovations Becomes Best European Practice

Sofia Public-Private Fund for Innovations, established in 2014 and managed by Sofia Development Association, has been adopted as a good European practice and is now published in the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform good practice database. Policy makers around Europe will be able to consult our good practice online and contact SDA team through the Policy Learning Platform for further exchange of experiences and scaling up our innovative Sofia initiative.

"The practice is an interesting example of how regional public and private actors can join forces to provide funding for high risk creative and cultural industry projects. It can serve as inspiration to other regions interested in boosting innovation within the specific sector. The practice should have a good potential of transfer thanks to its adaptability,” says the review of the thematic expert Carl Arvid Dahlöf.

Visit the database to see our good practice and the expert opinion written by one of the thematic experts:

The INTEGRA partners are delighted to share that their City Integration Audit Toolkit is already available in English!

The City Audit Toolkit offers practical, tested guidance and inspiration to help cities to assess their progress in key areas of third country nationals and migrant integration. The toolkit is designed primarily for people working in local authorities. It contains methodologies for a series of participatory, multi-stakeholder activities like focus groups, photovoice, city integration checklist, aiming to provide a current picture of the city’s main success and challenges to integration, and to indicate concrete issues to be addressed. The toolkit is ready to be shared and adapted by the diverse range of actors and people that want to make their cities more integrating and inclusive.


For the seventh year, Sofia Development Association is supporting the “Big to Me” competition at 134 Middle School “Dimcho Debelyanov” in Sofia. By tradition, the competition focuses on the collaboration between the students and a close friend of theirs (parent, sibling, schoolmate) over 16. The goal of the competition is to help 5th, 6th, and 7th graders develop their computer skills. Participation is free and open to all students from Sofia.

This year’s edition of “Big to Me” will take place on May 1, 2018.
Registration is open between 13 and 23 of April.

Details about signing up and rules of the competition are available HERE.

For more information, go to

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