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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CALENDAR OF ACTIVITIES APRIL 2023 IN THE BUREAU FOR INFORMATION AND SERVICES FOR THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS

In March, over 100 people used the services provided at the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals. Legal consultation remains among the top sought services, along with the accompanying service and applications for financial assistance. The past month was characterized by unsettled weather, which was often accompanied by cold and strong winds, as well as low temperatures. This has also led to increased demand for the medicine purchasing service.

On the official website of the bureau, a program is offered every month, in which the various services are described by days and hours. The content of this program is in several languages: Bulgarian, English, French, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic and Persian.

         You can find the program for April in Bulgarian HERE.

         You can find the program for April in Ukrainian HERE.

         You can find the program for April in English HERE.

         You can find the program for April in French HERE.

         You can find the program for April in Russian HERE.

         You can find the program for April in Arabic HERE.

         You can find the program for April in Farsi HERE.

The project Support for the Development of Integration Policy Framework and Service Provision for Refugees in Sofia is supported by UNHCR – Bulgaria.

SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR INTEGRATION

Bringing together all actors to discuss common issues and jointly find solutions is always a winning bid. On March 29, 2023, SDA, Sofia Investment Agency and the Municipal Guarantee Fund for SMEs welcomed private and public organizations and employers from Sofia to discuss important questions linked to the integration of refugees in the local labor market.

The initiative is part of a project implemented by SDA with the support of UNHCR, and focuses on improving the policy framework in Sofia Municipality for refugee integration. Participants in the meeting were employers, who have already hired refugees and such that would like to include them in their workforce and would benefit from more information on how to do it. Some of those attending were also businesspersons from Ukraine who have fled from the war and who would like to continue their business in Bulgaria. We thank Maria Hristova, CEO of Invest Sofia, Nikolay Tzenkov, Managing director of the MGF, Rukiya Abdul Aziz, an integration associate at UNHCR, for speaking to the audience and presenting opportunities for financial and non-financial assistance to employers on the territory of Sofia. One such opportunity is the job search platform, created by InvestSofia and supported by Sofia Municipality just days after the war in Ukraine in order to match employers and job seekers; nearly 30% of the applicants have been able to find a job through the platform. Participants in the event raised various questions related to the available business support measures at municipal level, but also brought attention to unresolved issues that require the intervention of the national government.

SDA has planned a series of similar events until the end of this year and we invite you to follow our website and Facebook @SofiaLab for further information.

The project Support for the Development of Integration Policy Framework and Service Provision for Refugees in Sofia is supported by UNHCR – Bulgaria.

    

      

SOCIAL INNOVATION BRINGS STAKEHOLDERS FROM BULGARIA AND OTHER EUROPEAN COUNTRIES IN SOFIA ON 28 MARCH 2023

The Social Innovation future in Bulgaria event, held on March 28th in Sofia, brought together more than 80 experts from the fields of social entrepreneurship, business, finance, impact activism and public authorities to discuss the future of social innovation and the role of competence centers in driving it forward.

The conference was hosted by Reach for Change – Bulgaria, BCause foundation, the Business Institute, Clintech Bulgaria, Center for Not-for-profit Law from FUSE and Sofia Development Association. The organizations are part of FUSE and SI PLUS transnational project working for the set up National Competence Centers for Social Innovations in Bulgaria.

The conference was a great opportunity also to present the SI PLUS transnational networking benefits. Barbara Willsberger and Jörg Mirtl from L&R Austria shared the results achieved in the trannational networks in the sphere of administration of ESF+ for support of SI, SI and Sustainable Development, Poverty and Inclusion, set up in SI PLUS.

Experts from the hosting organizations discussed with attendees the current state of social innovation, as well as how it can be used to create a more equitable and sustainable future and presented models of structure, mission and fuctions for the Competence Scenter to be established in Bulgaria that were co-designed during an year of co-creation work in Bulgaria. The participants at the conference disscussed that in order to promote social innovation, it is essential to create and support competence centers. These centers will be able to provide resources, guidance, and support to those trying to create innovative solutions to societal challenges. They will also serve as platforms for collaboration between the private, public, and social sectors. The conference concluded with the participants committing to work together to create a more equitable and sustainable future. They agreed to work towards the establishment of competence centers and to find ways to collaborate and share resources in order to promote social innovation.

      

      

The project is funded by the EUROPEAN UNION, the European Social Fund and European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation.

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SI PLUS PARTNERS GATHERED IN SOFIA

 

The progress of National Competence Centers set up in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia was the main focus of the discussions during the 7th Steering Committee Meeting of SI PLUS project held in Sofia on 27 March 2023 in Sofia. Main challenges were shared as well as experiences in scaling social innovations at national and transnational level. Partners planned the final event which will be held in Budapest in July 2023.

 

The project is funded by the EUROPEAN UNION, the European Social Fund and European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation.

 

 

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MAYOR FANDAKOVA DISCUSSES WITH EUNIC SOFIA ARTS AND CULTURE


At a time when the strategy “Sofia – Creative Capital 2013 – 2023” is being evaluated and a new framework is being developed for the next ten years, Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova, Malina Edreva, chairperson of the Sofia Municipal Council Committee on Culture, Education and Diversity and Sofia Development Association met with representatives of EUNIC cluster in Bulgaria. Building on an open and transparent process that aims at developing guidelines that anchor art and culture as an important part of the overall development, the representatives of the EU National Institutes of Culture and the cultural strategy team discusses cultural policy priorities and opportunities for long-term collaboration.

A special focus of the discussion was the upcoming European Innovation Campus on June 8-9, 2023, which will be held in Sofia under the patronage of European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel and Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

Another important topic of discussion was to establish a national partnership for culture and creativity based on the new European policies – the New European Bauhaus, the New European Innovation Agenda, the Pact of Skills and more – to generate shared energy and commitment for active presence at European level, partnership with the newly established EIT Culture and Creativity, joint project development and pursuing other opportunities.

 

         

        

 

INFORMATION MEETING ON REFUGEE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN SOFIA


Sofia Development Association (SDA) organizes an information meeting for employers with the participation of Sofia Investment Agency and the Municipal Guarantee Fund for SMEs, which will take place on March 29, 2023 in SofiaInvest.

The event is part of SDA’s initiative “Socially Responsible for Integration,” organized under the SUPPORT FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF INTEGRATION POLICY FRAMEWORK AND SERVICE PROVISION FOR REFUGEES IN SOFIA project, financed by UNHCR – Bulgaria. The event aims to provide up-to-date information to companies and business organizations on business support measures and the integration of refugees in the labor market on the territory of Sofia.

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