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 invites you to take part in the final InnoBridge event: "Streamlining Public Support for SME Innovation"

Date: 30 September 2020
Venue: Online
Time: 09:30 - 12:30 CET
Language: English

Early evidence shows that the current COVID-19 pandemic has affected the SMEs and businesses around Europe. Now more than ever we need good policy responses to foster SME resilience, to help them grow stronger and more innovative after the crisis.

What are the measures implemented in different European countries and which have proven to be effective? Join the conference to discuss related issues and approaches with representatives of regions from Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. See the full program of the InnoBridge project event here.

Political figures, practitioners, researchers, policy makers, representatives of the business community and civil society will share experience and ideas on a wide range of topics: “Cities as innovation hubs,” “Connecting Danube Region SME challenges with local goals in place-based innovation policy,” “Making a difference through partnerships,” “How to foster innovation in SMEs.” We invite you to take this opportunity and to engage in a fruitful exchange with our panelists!

The working language of the event is English. It is free and open to the public, but you must register to gain access to the meeting. If you would like to participate, please register here.

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

SDA Continues to Support the Integration of Third-country nationals in the Labor Market


The new publication of SDA focuses on the issue of integrating third-country nationals in the labor market in Bulgaria and is part of the project UMN - UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration. SDA is planning to organize seminars for local employers in order to assist them in hiring third-country nationals (TCNs). The events will ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the relevant regulations, and will stand against exploitation of and unfair competition between local and migrant workers, for full equal treatment in the labour market, in workplaces and in access to social protection and public services.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY IN SUPPORT OF CITIZENS AND SAFE PUBLIC TRANSPORT


The partners of the CO-APS project, implemented with funding from the EIT Mobility COVID-19 response initiative, had their third online meeting on July 30, which focused on defining the functionalities of the mobile application and data analytics tools that will support city authorities and urban mobility centers in optimizing their public transport management. The mobile application built by CO-APS will rely on crowdsourcing and the active involvement of public transport users and volunteers. Using a combination of gamification elements and a system of rewards, the app will enable citizens to report of overcrowded buses, trams, metro stations, etc., so that the public transport officials can take appropriate measures to fix that.

The pilot testing of the app and the digital analytics tool in the partner cities of Istanbul, Karditsa, and Sofia will take place in October and November 2020. If you want to help us create a more secure public transport system in Sofia and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, visit this website frequently for updates and information on how to get involved.

SDA shared its experience in the field of civic participation in a focus group of the project "Participatory Budgeting for Sofia"

On July 29, 2020, SDA took part in a sociological survey aimed at revealing citizens' attitudes towards public debate and civic activism, as well as ways of cooperation between the non-governmental sector and local government.

The long-term experience of the Association in working with both citizens and the Municipality of Sofia was the reason for the participation in the focus group with representatives of non-governmental organizations on a project of the Save Bulgaria Foundation. Examples of the successful cooperation of SDA with civil society organizations, the scientific community, business and local government are the activities for the implementation of the Strategy for Smart Specialization, the Strategy for Young People in Sofia and the Strategy for Development of Culture in Sofia. The activities include not only intensive work on projects, but also the organizing various events, including Sofia Innovation Camp, a number of hackathons on topics set by Sofia Municipality, and numerous trainings and meetings in the Sofia Innovation Laboratory - SofiaLab, which provides opportunities for young people to develop in the field of innovation, entrepreneurship and non-formal education.

Among the participants in the meeting were representatives of various non-governmental organizations. The project team presented examples of good practices in participatory budget management from other European cities, including Warsaw, Cluj and Antwerp. The upcoming activities of the project include holding an open one-month online consultation with the citizens of Sofia, through which to create the framework of the participatory budget, the creation of a report with summaries of focus groups and consultations and its submission to the Sofia Municipality Council with recommendations for future steps aiming at improvement of policies.

We will continue to cooperate and support the implementation of this project, which is directly related to one of the 4 areas of activity of SDA for 2020 - active citizenship.

Sofia Development Association participates in the evaluation of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020)

On July 21, 2020, Sofia Development Association took part in a focus group on the project "National Youth Strategy - Monitoring and Evaluation", organized by the National Youth Forum.

Sofia Development Association implements the Sofia Youth Strategy (2017 – 2027) and supports the development of youth through the activities of the Sofia Youth Innovation Laboratory (SofiaLab), established under the project "New Generation Skills" in 2018. Since then SDA contributes to the acquisition of skills necessary for the realization of young people in a real work environment by organizing and hosting various events and trainings. These activities were the reason for the participation of Sanya Raeva - SofiaLab developer in the discussion on Strategic Area №2 of the National Youth Strategy, namely "Improving access to information and quality services".

Among the participants in the online meeting were experts in the field of youth policies, representatives of various organizations and young people who have experience in working on any of the 9 strategic areas of action of the National Youth Strategy. During the webinar were discussed the results achieved from the implementation of the Strategy and were presented proposals and recommendations for the creation and implementation of more effective and evidence-based youth policies.

At the end of the year, the team of the National Youth Forum will prepare a report, containing recommendations for the next youth strategy and general recommendations for the creation and implementation of youth policies in the country.

State-of-the-art Technology to Improve Public Transport and to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19: SDA Joins a Winning Consortium Funded by EIT Urban Mobility

In response to the EIT Urban Mobility Crisis Response Initiative dedicated to addressing urban mobility challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SDA was invited to join a consortium led by the Technical University of Catalonia for the CO-APS project. The initiative is called Crowdsourced Obtention and Analytics of Data About the Crowding of Public Spaces for the benefit of Public Transport and Mobility in Cities and is one of the 11 innovative projects funded by the EIT. The initiative aims to introduce state-of-the-art technology in just 6 months (July-December 2020) in the partner cities to help public transport authorities deal with the pandemic.

With mobility restrictions being eased in most countries, people are encouraged to go back to work, and the use of public transport and public spaces will grow steadily. Overcrowding and keeping social distance are critical challenges in this respect, with significant impact on life in the city, including also public transport, the economy, social activities, etc. CO-APS will consider these aspects by implementing Mobile, Web and Cloud technologies. CO-APS will collect data to provide analytical solutions with added value information about crowds and their mobility that will be tested in various use cases/small scale pilots involving the consortium stakeholders: TMB-Spain (Barcelona train stations), City of St. Germain-France (pedestrian commercial streets), Karditsa-Greece (multi-modal mobility), Sofia and Istanbul-Turkey (transport hubs).

SDA will cooperate with the Center for Urban Mobility and Directorate Public Transport of Sofia Municipality in this initiative.

Read here about the initiative and the winning projects.

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