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.



Under the patronage of EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Ms Mariya Gabriel.
Burgas Free University
28-29 May 2018, Burgas

On the 28th and 29th of May, 2018, Burgas Free University successfully hosted the “Digital City and I” Hackathon under the patronage of the EU Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Ms Mariya Gabriel.


In May 2017, the BG10xEU Hackathon was successfully hosted by Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association, in partnership with Burgas Free University (BFU). In light of BFU’s considerable contribution and the program for the European Maritime Day in Burgas, it was decided that this year’s edition of the hackathon would be continued at Burgas Free University. Students, undergraduates, and graduates interested and ambitious came to prove their abilities on the topics of E-cology, E-tourism, E-debates and civic participation, E-payment and Fintech for all, E-sea and its opportunities, E-infrastructure for all, Digital Education, Digital Services for Public Administration, Smart E-nergy resources.


The “Big to Me” competition gathered students and their parents and gave them the opportunity to work together to counter online hate speech

Students and their parents from more than 10 schools from Sofia participated in the IT students’ competition “Big to Me”, which was organized for the 9th year in a row by the Sofia Development Association, Sofia Municipality and the Lauder-ORT School.

This year’s theme was “Creating Positive Messages to Counter Online Hate Speech.” As a result our Coalition grew by a hundred new people.

The student-parent teams from 5th grade had to create a colorful postcard that promoted tolerance. One of the participants said that the task made them think whether they are tolerant enough in their everyday lives or not.

The 6th grade teams had to solve a 20 question quiz on the topic of multiculturalism, celebrities who are also migrants and refugees, and so on. They also had to create posters on the topic of tolerance and Sofia as a multicultural city. One of the students said that this competition proved that a person can learn a lot of interesting stuff while having a lot of fun.

The 7th grade teams had the task of creating interactive presentations that had to answer the question “What is hate speech and how can we counter it?

It wasn’t an easy task, but it made me think a lot about how we communicate online.” said one of the participants.



Sofia Development Association was a partner of the mobile app competition APPS@NSMNS, held for the third consecutive year at the National High School of Mathematics and Natural Science “Academician Lyubomir Chakalov.” The competition was part of the school’s Festival of the Sciences on April 28 and 29, 2018, as well as one of the events under the project “New Generation Skills,” co-funded by Interreg Danube. The participants at the Hackathon were informed about the upcoming unveiling of the Youth Innovation Lab and the services it will make available to young entrepreneurs.

The competition brough together 5 teams of students from 8 to 12 grade. They each developed a proprietary product under the mentorship of professionals, teachers, researchers, and others. The projects were complete and well-designed mobile apps.

This year’s winners were:
I place – Boyana Nikolova and Kristiyan Serafimov – project GroundHall – from NSMNS – Sofia – the project is a social platform for aiding school.

II place – Stanimir Velichkov – project Competitive Math – from NSMNS – Sofia – The app is a mathematics game that includes its own social network where individual users can share and solve the problems together.

III place – Ivaylo Atanassov – project Буквите – от SMNS “Geo Milev” – Stara Zagora – The app is an educational game for children in kindergarten for learning the alphabet.

IV place – Kardam Gergov – project Fruits – 134 School – Sofia – The app is targeted at students up to the age of 9 learning English. Users learn the pronounciation and spelling of commonly found fruits and vegetables using two types of games.

V place – Kristiyan Hadjikolev and Kalin Krastev – project IML – Improve My Learning – from FPMS – Sofia – The app is a learning assistant. It combines several key functions: notetaking and notifications and generating different quizzes based on user inputs.



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.


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