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.



Five teams of students from leading schools in Sofia will compete in the tech-educational competition “Information Technologies in Nuclear Science and Technology.” The competition will take place on October 5th 2018 at 9 at Sofia Innovation Lab (Sofia, №1 Serdika Street, 3rd floor), which opened doors as part of the New Generation Skills Project, co-funded by the ERDF and IPA EU funds.

The competition’s organizers are the Bulgarian Nuclear Society and Sofia Development Association (Sofia Municipality). Main partners supporting the initiative are the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy at the Bulgarian Academy of Science and business members of the Bulgarian Nuclear Society in the field of nuclear energy and high technology.

The event is part of the Innovation Lab’s dynamic training program, which aims to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, and is among the Bulgarian Nuclear Society’s initiatives for raising student interest in high-tech fields, including nuclear science and technology.
The first stage of the event includes lectures on the latest developments in the field, as well as an overview of the future employment opportunities that the industry provides.

The second stage of “Information Technologies in Nuclear Science and Technology” is a competition with elements of a hackathon, in which young people get to apply their innovative potential to practical challenges of integrating Industry 4.0 with nuclear technologies. In the form of 10-minute presentations and demonstrations of the IT products they have developed during the competition, teams will present their vision for the application of cyber-physical systems, intelligent control systems and IoT in the field of nuclear science, as well as their own completely new ideas. Their work will be mentored and judged by recognized members of the business world, entrepreneurial ecosystem, and academia.

One of the benefits of an event like this is the opportunity to stimulate the search for digital solutions that can augment the achievements in nuclear science and to encourage innovative applications of nuclear energy, physics, medicine and radiation protection, as well as nuclear safety and security.

Among the official guests of the competition will be the Mayor of Sofia Ms. Yordanka Fandakova, Member of European Parliament Vladimir Uruchev, Director of the Institute for Nuclear Research and Nuclear Energy at the Bulgarian Academy of Science Prof. Dimitar Tonev, and Chair of the Bulgarian Nuclear Society Mr. Mladen Mitev.

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


Regional Balkan Conference of the Cultural Management Academy

The Academy for training of cultural managers has developed and sustained as a regional Balkan project“, said the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova at the launch of the regional conference and network meeting of the Regional Balkan cultural academy network, held in Sofia between 29 September and 1 of October, 2018. “We started with Sofia Development Association this academy in 2013 as an initiative related to Sofia candidacy for European Capital of Culture. However, this project is among the numerous examples of sustainable developments that have been recognized as successful European best practices”, the Mayor pointed out.

Since last year the Academy is implemented in partnership not only with Goethe-Institut in Sofia but also the institutes n Thessaloniki and Bucharest, while this year the institute in Sarajevo also joined in. “Thus we turn the Academy into an innovation lab for culture and space for mutual learning and establishing partnerships”, added Mrs. Fandakova.

The conference and the network meeting brought together over 50 managers from the four countries, who had already undergone a week-long training in Sofia, Sarajevo, Thessaloniki or Bucharest, to exchange experiences in the areas of cultural heritage, digitalization and innovation. The last day was devoted to generating ideas for collaborative joint projects. The idea camp was took place in the new space of SDA – Sofia innovation lab, which just opened doors.

Since last year SDA also produces also an annual publication with texts of Academy participants and experts. This year’s publication will be devoted to the topic of cultural heritage – the main theme of the training program as well.

For its 5 years of existence the Academy has given the chance of over 120 Bulgarian cultural managers to improve their knowledge and skills. The Academy already has over 220 alumni from the Balkan countries, who are the ambassadors of new cultural policies and new management models in culture.


Innovation Staff Exchange Sofia – Krakow

On September 27 and 28, 2018 the staff exchange visit to Krakow, Małopolska Region, took place as part of the project InnoBridge – Bridging the innovation gap through converting R&D results into commercial success in a more effective and efficient way. Snezhina Gabova from Sofia Development Association and Prof. Rumen Nikolov, member of the project stakeholder group, participated in the visit, together with partners from Finland and Austria.

The purpose of the staff exchange was to learn from the experience of the Polish partners in organizing and developing initiatives in support of the innovation ecosystem in the region through the utilization of European structural funds. One such good practice is the organization of the annual Małopolska Innovation Festival (since 2011), a region-wide, one-week long event that brings together companies, start-ups, universities, entrepreneurs and scientists. The regional administration coordinates the event which is also a main component of the work to promote regional smart specialization. The Regional administration is responsible for organizing the annual call for partners of the Festival, meeting with the partners to set the event agenda and a comprehensive promotion of the Festival (in Krakow and all participating cities, currently six).

After meeting with the regional office, the first day of the visit included also meetings at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing Technology and attending the Awards Gala of the Małopolska Innovator Competition, during which the most innovative companies and products were recognized and awarded. The competition is organized by Enterprise Europe Network at the Technology Transfer Centre – Krakow University of Technology and by the Marshal Office of Małopolskie Voivodeship ( The second day involved meetings at the LifeScience Cluster, a cooperation initiative of several universities in Krakow, businesses and technology companies that supports cutting-edge research in the life sciences sector. The next stop was the Aptiv company, a high-end automotive company and world-leader in delivering solutions for automated/autonomous driving and automated mobility on demand, high-speed sensing and networking systems in vehicles. APTIV is also an active partner of the Innovation Festival. The final event in the study visit was the opening ceremony of the Researcher’s Night. We had an opportunity to attend a fun science show organized for school children in Kijów Centrum, titled “TIME MACHINE. Children who changed the world.”



Sofia Youth Innovation Lab officially launched

“Sofia city of the young. I believe in you!” was the Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova message at the official launch of the Youth Innovation Lab.

Immediately after, a debate on the Sofia Transport with the members of the Sofia Youth Council, the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Fandakova and municipal councilors was held. How to make the transport even more eco-friendly, how to improve the bicycle- to-rent network, the metro development were part of the questions and ideas discussed.

A Dynamic Learning Program on social entrepreneurship and innovations is about to start in the new Lab. The programme will be certified by the Sofia University grace to the SDA partnership with its Economic Department.

Sofia Youth Innovation Lab was opened thanks to the NewGenerationsSkills project, co-funded by the Interreg Danube Programme. Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality are among the project partners.

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


SDA starts a new project: Finances4SocialChange

Social entrepreneurship has become increasingly relevant in today’s economic setting as social changes have mounted. Bulgaria and the other Danube region countries currently lag behind global trends in the field of social entrepreneurship and social impact investments.

Finance4SocialChange brings together a multi-disciplinary quadruple-helix partnership of 14 partners from 12 countries – among that SDA - and 6 associated partners from across Europe to deliver improved policy learning, and develops practical solutions on impact investing to better shape the regulatory framework for the proper functioning of the social financing sector in the Danube region. The project will work towards creating the first "Social Impact Investment Strategy for the Danube region" by paving the way for promoting more social innovations and social impact investment ready social enterprises. The project delivers 130 hours of "blended" learning experiences through the “Social Impact Investment Transnational Design Academy”, and launches the first "Business Plan Competition" warm-up 2-stage investment ready competition", funded through EUR 200,000 investment capital. A mentorship pool, the "Social Impact Investment Community Council" will be established to provide mentoring to scaling up social entrepreneurs, and will continue beyond the lifetime of the project.

On September 26 and 27, 2018, partners gathered in Budapest for a launching conference, training of trainers session and project management issues. 

Finances4SocialChange co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI)
Project website:




The Cultural Management Academy has now begun in Sofia, an initiative underway in Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo as well. On September 29 to 1 october, the network meeting and conference on the topic of Cultural Heritage will gather nearly 50 cultural managers from leading institutions and independent organizations.

For over four years Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association, and Goethe-Institut Bulgaria have successfully partnered to organize the Cultural Management Academy, whose purpose is to increase the competences of local cultural operators and to stimulate new approaches and innovative ideas. The Academy is an important step for the cooperation and dialogue between public institutions and the private sector, each year bringing together representatives of the most important museums, public and non-governmental organizations. Participants engage in trainings, workshops and conferences, and meet with leading specialists from all of Europe. The Academy aims to bridge theory and practice, and this year its program is certified by New Bulgarian University, a key partner for the event.

The Cultural Management Academy has expanded with the support of Goethe-Institut branches in Bucharest, Thessaloniki and Sarajevo, and today the CMA has grown into an international project with a network of more than 150 cultural managers from South and Eastern Europe. In addition to its network the Academy offers direct opportunities for investment in new cultural projects.

Sofia remains the center of the growing network and this year the city will once again be the host of the Academy’s international conference on September 29, on the topic of “Cultural Heritage” in the context of the European Year of Cultural Heritage. The conference will address themes relevant to the region: modern art and cultural heritage, digital technologies, the legacy of socialism and intangible cultural heritage. Invited lectors include specialists from Bulgaria, Moldova and Poland – Lukasz Galusek (Director of the International Cultural Center in Krakow), Stefan Rusu (Architect), Margarita Dorovska (Director of the House of Humor and Satire Museum in Gabrovo), Asen Kanev (culturologist and game developer) and Dr. Vihra Baeva (ethnologist).

After the conference the participants will continue the dialogue in a more creative format, where they will develop ideas for new cultural projects to apply for funding from the CMA Project Fund. Last years’ edition financed 8 projects with up to 5000 EUR, one of which is still available in Sofia before it travels to Thessaloniki and Athens – the exhibition “Matter Over Matter” on display at the Goethe-Institut until October 5.

The Cultural Management Academy will continue in 2019, with registration open in the Spring.

Register to attend the Conference on September 28 at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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