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.

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Sofia Development Association partners with the Literature Night 2020 initiative


On October 7, Sofia Development Association turned the SofiaLab space into one of the 19 readers' nests in the capital during Literature Night. The event, which is part of the Calendar of Cultural Events of Sofia Municipality for 2020, takes place simultaneously in different European cities and is held for the ninth consecutive year in Bulgaria.

The SofiaLab youth space was among the locations offering the so-called "Teen literature". However, people of all ages showed interest in the event. Listeners had the opportunity to enjoy Spanish contemporary prose through an excerpt from Martin Casariego's book The Hounds and the Fog, provided by the Cervantes Institute Sofia. The event was held in accordance with the anti-epidemic measures and was attended by over 90 people, divided into 6 groups.

Literature Night 2020 is one of the many initiatives in which the Sofia Development Association takes part in order to support the implementation of the activities of the Sofia Youth Strategy and the Sofia Strategy for the Development of Culture.

  

Sofia Green project is a partner in the GEMSS project

Sofia Green project is a partner in the GEMSS project (GEo-Modeling for Integrated Mobility Solutions in Sofia) under the EIT Urban Mobility program, together with Cleantech Bulgaria, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”and Center for Urban Mobility.

The project will examine the current state of pre-identified areas with heavy traffic - streets, intersections, street parking, through an innovative approach to mapping urban units with high resolution. GEo-Modelling for Integrated Mobility Solutions in Sofia (GEMSS) aims at developing innovative solutions to tackle the problem with excessive traffic load and on-street parking in particular heavily motorized areas within the city of Sofia.

The activities include mapping of areas with heavy traffic and accumulation of parked cars. The collected data will be processed in GIS format and summarized through localization analysis and modeling, serving as a decision-making tool to improve public transport, including the development of intermodal hubs, buffer parking lots and transport to key points (Park and Ride stations), as well as promoting alternatives to road transport that reduce the load on the streets from parked cars, reduce the use of private cars, while increasing the space used for living rather than for moving.

Based on the analysis, the main challenge will be formulated, for the solution of which an open innovation approach will be applied. The aim is to attract the innovation capacity of local start-ups, universities and research and development (R&D) organizations. They will be invited to present solutions with potential for pilot testing in Sofia. The applicability of the best solutions will be analyzed in advance and thus the most effective method of pilot testing and potential application in 2021 will be outlined.

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Sofia is the fastest growing city in Bulgaria, where the private car remains the preferred mode of transportation, which leads to heavily congested intersections and the accumulation of cars parked on the streets. In addition, there is a lack of infrastructure to meet the growing needs of the city. Those are the problems that the GEMSS project addresses. Its activities are directly aimed at 28.8% of citizens (about 350 thousand people) who use cars on a daily basis according to the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan of 2019.

The introduction of data-based solutions will reduce travel time to the workplace, reduce driving stress, reduce road infrastructure congestion and greenhouse gas emissions from road traffic, and thus improve the urban landscape and quality of life in Sofia.

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Streamlining Public Support for SMEs and Innovations InnoBridge Project Final event

“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” The words of Henry Ford captured the essence of the interregional approach of the InnoBridge project final event, organized by Sofia Development Association on September 30, 2020, and entitled Streamlining Public Support for SMEs and Innovations. The hybrid event brought together about 100 participants – mostly online but also physically in Sofia – key players from academia, research and technology institutes, regional and local authorities, managing authorities, business organizations, SMEs, experts from 29 cities in 14 countries.

“The SME sector and innovative solutions coming from the industry are critical for a speedy recovery of the economy post-COVID-19. It is also important to ensure that the next Multiannual Financial Framework will provide access to and sufficient resources for innovations, especially in support of SMEs, for further investments and development,” stated the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova at the event opening.

An outstanding group of dynamic and leading-edge speakers offered their insights and experience in developing regional policy mixes to foster innovations and make R&D results available to SMEs. While this policy area was relevant when the InnoBridge project was launched in 2016, it matters even more now after the COVID-19 crisis affected strongly our economy and society. The panelists identified important trends, such as flexible refocusing of support measures, centers of knowledge as core of innovation ecosystems, links that allow making professional decision without professional cost. Event participants shared examples of innovative actionable solutions.

Here is the hands-on quick dive into the various topics discussed: barriers and challenges to innovations in the European regions; replicable good practices; ways to connect business and universities; how to fill the missing elements in the entrepreneurial ecosystem; how to mobilize the existing skills in the region and nurture the skills for the future; policy recommendations for the way forward.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.

All presentations and photos of the event can be found at: www.innobridge-project.eu

  

  

New opportunities for stakeholder cooperation within the UnionMigrantNet project in Sofia


On September 25, 2020, Sofia Development Association took part in the concluding conference of the ARTEM initiative, on the invitation of the Bulgarian coordinator CATRO Bulgaria. The conference gathered representatives of NGOs, volunteers, the state Employment Agency, the State Agency for Refugees, UNHCR, and others to discuss new opportunities for the integration of refugees and third-country nationals in the social and economic life in the country. Through the opportunity to present the UMN project and to strengthen the partnership with local stakeholders, the UMN partners in Sofia – SDA and the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) – hope to achieve greater impact and to improve the capacity of public institutions, employers, and social partners to integrate third-country nationals in the economic and social life in the country.

Co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union

 

  

CITUB experts conducted the first "Labor and social security rights of third-country nationals" training


The first "Labor and social security rights of third-country nationals" training took place on September 12. The training took place in the framework of the international project "UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration" #UnionMigrantNet of the European Trade Union Confederation, funded by the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs, 863738-UM N-AMIF2018AG-INTE. The training is organized by the Bulgarian partners in the project – CITUB, Sofia Development Association and Dolna Malina Municipality.

Experts from the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) presented the rights and obligations of employers and employees, the peculiarities of labor and social security relations, the challenges of employment during a pandemic. The participants discussed programs and ways to search for a job, opportunities for upgrade of skills, career guidance and social counseling. The training aims to support the integration of third-country nationals residing in Bulgaria. The following topics were discussed during the training: employment contracts, labor law, insurance, leave and other important and useful topics for every employee in Bulgaria. The working languages of the training were Bulgarian and Arabic.

    

 

 

 

City Residents Can Help Reduce the Spread of Covid-19 in Public Transport in Sofia


A new article about the project CO-APS emphasizes the role of digital technologies and the citizens’ active engagement in making more secure the public transport and shared urban places for the city residents. The project consortium will developed a mobile application for use by passengers for real-time data of the occupancy rate in public transport in the city. Sofia, along with Barcelona, Istanbul, and Karditsa will be the first to test it. CO-APS will deliver more options and choices for passengers – by choosing which service suits them best from the palm of their hand, the power lies with the passenger. For more information about the project and the launch of the mobile application, visit SDA’s website regularly. Read here more about the project ambition and activities.

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