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.


5 social entrepreneurs from Bulgaria selected to enter the second stage of #AirCompetition

5 out of 25 companies with social impact business in Bulgaria were selected by a Jury consisting of social impact investors and experts to continue in the second stage of the international #AirCompetition organized in the framework of the Finances4SocialChange project, co-financed by Interreg Danube.

The areas of intervention of the companies are diverse – from circular economy and environmentally friendly production to education through video games, social and labour inclusion of people with disabilities, enhancing functional literacy of students through online games, community center.

The selected companies will develop business plans, social impact KPIs and compete with companies from Serbia and Moldova in November 2020 for winning 10 000EUR investment secured by Unicredit Bulbank Hungary.



AGORA project (Advanced Co-Generation Options for Reintegrating local Assets)

Sofia Development Association started working on AGORA project, which aims at faster and better regeneration of the urban environment. Achieving this goal requires increasing the capacity of the public administration, developing better inclusive policies and incorporating the tools needed to implement these policies into governance. Priority of the project are public-private partnerships with broad citizen participation.

AGORA offers a model for addressing these challenges by deploying and adopting new, creative governance instruments for public administrations. The project supports the building of administrative capacity for effective involvement, connection and empowerment of a wide group of stakeholders in the reintegration of vacant buildings and land, public and private, into the productive city value system. AGORA aims to achieve a significant change in the work process of public administrations at the local level, as well as to create a transnational training platform to assist the cities of the Danube region in the reintegration and rehabilitation of underused urban assets, giving new meaning to abandoned industrial areas and desolate lands as well as declining urban areas.

The consortium of AGORA project consists of 28 partners from 14 countries in the Danube region, including municipalities, NGOs, European networks and others. The leading partner of the project is the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca. The variety of partners provides an opportunity for the most effective exchange of experience, good practices and ideas. To fulfill the goals of the project, the Sofia Development Association will work in collaboration with Sofia Municipality. The project duration is 2 and a half years (01.06.2020 - 30.11.2022).

On July 16, 2020 the project partners held their kick-off meeting online, at which they planned their future joined work, acquainted each other with the context and the challenges each city is facing, and discussed the thematic clusters for our joined learning and exchange.

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).




SDA is set to start the implementation of the new project TRANSFORM - SMART CLIMATE KIC CITY TRANSFORMATION.

The Covid-19 economic and public health crisis highlighted the instability of our incomes and the fragility of our immune systems, and the need for us to become more resilient towards external changes. In this TRANSFORM project we want to achieve that in two separate ways: “digital” and “full urban transformations” of homes in order to reduce energy consumption, improve physical and mental health of citizens, and reduce recurring costs thus freeing up extra capital. All of which will improve longevity and quality of life, increase creativity and productivity and promote economic growth, job creation and quicker recovery me. Through the project we expect to refurbish up to 30,000 homes until 2024, with an overall job creation of more than 15,000 FTEs and an annual climate impact and CO2 reduction of 45,000MtCO2e/year, which we will begin planning for in the second part of 2020. We will use the initial funding to develop and demonstrate the solutions for the digital; and prepare for the full urban transformations starting in 2021.

The consortium is led by JIBE Company (NL), with partners Bankers Without Boundaries (UK), Dark Matter Laboratories (NL), Virtech Ltd (BG), Topsportslab (BE). It is co-funded by EIT Climate KIC.

Read here about the initiative and the winning projects.

Supported by: 

Innovative Public Transport in Sofia

Thanks to this project, the city will test for the first time in Europe an innovative practice for "green public transport on demand"

Sofia is the first Bulgarian city to win an Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) project. The program is an initiative of the European Union that provides urban areas across Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The INNOAIR project of Sofia Municipality and a wide coalition of partners was approved for funding after a serious competition with 220 projects from other European cities and regions.

Through this project, Sofia will test for the first time in Europe an innovative practice for "green public transport on demand". Instead of traveling on predetermined routes, the new electric buses will create a route map based on the demand of citizens submitted through a mobile application. The app will use artificial intelligence to refine data analysis in order to create the most efficient route for each trip by gathering as many passengers as possible. The project provides for big data analysis, the use of artificial intelligence and cloud technologies.
The innovation will be tested in one of the districts in Sofia. The project will be implemented over 3 years and is expected to start this fall.

The project budget is around 4.6 million euros, with 20% co-financing provided by each of the partners. The leading partner of the consortium is Sofia Municipality, and its members are: Sofia Development Association, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”, Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”, Sofia Urban Mobility Centre, National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria, “Modeshift” and National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. 


Action Learning Workshop

CONNECTION project partners, among who Sofia Development Association, led by EUROCITIES as a project leader, held an online workshop on action learning on July 7, 2020. The workshop was designed to equip cities, clustered in communities of practice, with the methodologies and skills for the mutual exchange of experiences and study visits on themes, related to the integration of migrants.

Sofia takes part of the community of practice dedicated to integration and labour market and employment together with the cities of Atwerp, Belgium, Tampere, Finland and Madrid, Spain. These cities will get acquainted with each other’s good practices and will develop together solutions to the pressing challenges, additionally made more acute by the COVID-19 imposed situation.

The project is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

Competition for Social entrepreneurs with a prize of €10,000 – organized by SDA under the project Finance4SocialChange

#AIRCompetition is an international competition for social entrepreneurs, in which over 240 candidates from 12 countries in the Danube region are taking part. It is divided in several stages, and moving forward ensures an increase in funding opportunities and the establishment of meaningful, international contacts with experts and investors. SDA is the organizer for Bulgaria and is happy to share that the applications submitted by Bulgaria are 25.

The first stage of the evaluation of Bulgarian applications will end in July 2020. A jury composed of professionals in the field of entrepreneurship will select 10 candidates who will be invited for an online interview. After conducting the video interviews, the jury will select 3 organizations to proceed to the second stage of the competition.

The jury consists of Viki Blazheva, First Vice President at UniCredit Bulbank and Director of Communications; Elitsa Barakova, Executive Director of the BCause Foundation; Martina Grigorova, Head of Business Lending and International Projects at SIS credit; Nikolay Tsenkov, Manager of the Municipal Guarantee Fund of Sofia Municipality and Sevdalina Voynova, Program Director of Sofia Development Association. The criteria for evaluating the applications are developed by the German organization Fa-Se.

The second stage of the competition involves submitting a detailed business plan of the organization by October 31 and participating in a pitching session in Belgrade in November, in which selected Bulgarian organizations will compete with Serbian and Moldovan social entrepreneurs.

Based on the evaluation of the business plan and the presentation in Belgrade, a winner will be selected who will receive a 10,000 euro investment for his business and will have the opportunity to present at an international event in Budapest in January 2021 to investors, social entrepreneurs and European experts.

Sofia Development Association wishes success to all candidates!

The project "Finances4SocialChange" is co-financed by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI). You can follow the competition at and

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