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.



Sofia Development Association held the first of three trainings for employers from Sofia on the topic integrating third-country nationals in the local labor market. The event is part of the project UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration, led by the European Trade Union Confederation, co-funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union. The training gathered representatives of municipal enterprises, companies, and other organizations. Speakers in the training included Mr. Hristo Simeonov, head of department on labor migration and integration in the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ms Iva Partzaleva, UNHCR – Bulgaria, Ms Bistra Ivanova, MultiKulti. Presentations and discussions focused on the legal framework, requirements and good practices for employers wishing to hire third-country nationals, as well as on the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.






Sofia Development Association, part of the CICERONE project, is pleased to announce that the new Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda (SRIA) on Circular Economy is now published, and available for download here.

The SRIA was developed based on eight priority themes (biomass and biotechnologies, chemicals, construction and demolition, food, plastic, raw materials, waste and water) and builds on four societal areas that face sustainability challenges (urban areas, industrial systems, value chains and territory and sea) to identify priority areas to tackle EU region-wide issues and facilitate the circular economy transition.

Developed within the H2020 CICERONE project in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, the SRIA will constitute the backbone of the future joint programming platform for circular economy: the EU Circular Cooperation Hub.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all stakeholders that have provided feedback throughout the development of the SRIA, and invite you to our upcoming workshop for programme owners and policy makers, that will present the concept for the future joint programming platform developed by the project.

The final workshop, “Cooperation for circular economy research & innovation“ will take place online on 22nd and 29th of October 2020 from 14:00 to 16:30 CET. Participants are welcome to choose one of the two proposed dates, which will be identical events. This challenge will be addressed in an interactive and hands-on online workshop that will give participants insights into the future platform, and provide the opportunity to shape its services, ensuring they are in line with needs and expectations.

Find out more about the workshop and register here.

For more information on the CICERONE’s outputs, including the recent publication of a policy paper on “An innovation policy to meet the EU’s Green Deal circular economy goals”, visit the project website at

LINKS SRIA launch announcement:

Link to SRIA:

Workshop 3 news story:

Link to newsletter:


SDA provided prizes in the amount of BGN 1,000 for two teams in the HackTues competition

Sofia Development Association provided two prizes of BGN 500 each to two of the finalist teams in this year's Hack TUES edition. Six years ago, Sofia Municipality became the first municipality in Bulgaria to start organizing hackathons through SDA, looking for innovative solutions to various urban challenges. Also, six years ago, the first hackathon of its kind was held, organized by students for students - Hack TUES, organized by the Technological School "Electronic Systems" (TUES) part of Technical University of Sofia. It is no coincidence that this is not the first time SDA has been among the partners of the event.

This year, more than 125 students took part in the “Smart City” hackathon. There were 29 registered teams, eight of which qualified for the final round. SDA awarded the “Segmentation fault” and “Light Life” teams for their great ideas and hard work. Checks worth BGN 500 each were presented by the Deputy Mayor of Finance and Healthcare in Sofia Municipality - Dr. Doncho Barbalov.

The teams presented projects in the field of "Smart Energy"; "Smart Transport", "Smart Communications", "Smart Home", "Smart City Game" and "Dealing with Coronavirus". Students from all grades worked together online for a week and developed software and hardware projects to modernize the city. The projects are applications and platforms for services, information sites, as well as smart technologies and devices that improve urban life and contribute to efficient energy consumption, modernization of transport and communication, "smart" household management and the creation of entertainment games. In addition, participants presented projects on COVID-19, which present modern technological solutions to address the challenges of a pandemic.

SDA wishes success in the implementation of the projects to all participants!


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.


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.



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:



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