Innovative Sofia Presented Sofia as a Diversified Entrepreneurial Hub at StartupBlink’s Startup Ecosystem Development Webinar
At the Invitation of StartupBlink, Innovative Sofia presented the vibrant startup and innovation ecosystem in Sofia during the Startup Ecosystem Development webinar, which took place on July 30, 2020 with the participation of entrepreneurs and ecosystem developers from different cities around the world.
Ana Georgieva from the Digitalization, Innovation and Investments Unit presented Sofia’s development as one of the hottest entrepreneurial spots in Europe, a diversified tech hub with startups innovating across multiple industries, with a great number of stakeholders and supporting organisations on government, municipal and business level.
‘Sofia has come a long way from an outsourcing destination to a creator of high-quality global solutions and a partner in innovation to businesses across the world. More and more people are returning to Sofia, the brain drain is starting to reverse. Many bright Bulgarians choose to come back to Sofia after graduation or after spending several years of working abroad. They find challenging and interesting projects here, a business-friendly environment, as well as excellent quality of life’, said Ana Georgieva during the webinar.
Here is a short fact sheet about Sofia’s startup ecosystem:
- Sofia has one of the most-rapidly developing startup and entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe.
- Sofia is a tech, innovation and creative hub with a mature IT, innovation and tech sectors.
- Sofia-based startups and companies are developing global solutions locally.
- Since 2013, over 2000 startups have been created in Bulgaria, mainly in Sofia. Nowadays there are 650+ active startups and scaleups.
- Sofia hasn’t had its first unicorn yet, but there are several companies that are close to achieving that goal
- Around 1/3 of the founders are foreigners.
- Approx. 15% of Bulgarian start-ups are in the deep tech sector, including AI, aerospace, robotics and IoT, biotech, createch, etc.
- There are 15+ VC funds and a well-developed network of angel investors (angel association and angel investment clubs).
- The VC community in Sofia supports pre-seed, seed and scaling startups and companies in the growth stage
- First-time entrepreneurs can resort to local incubators and pre-accelerator programs to get knowledge and guidance on starting a business
- There are 30+ coworking spaces in the city
- 220 high-schools, 15 universities and 30+ software academies offer IT, innovation and tech-related programs.
- 42% of university students are in STEM fields
- 30.2% of the employed in the ICT sector are women (vs.16.7% in the EU)
- Sofia hosts many international flagship events (e.g. WEBIT, DigitalK, Innovation Explorer, TedX Sofia, Global Tech Summit, etc.)
More about Sofia’s Ecosystem:
- In 2019, Sofia became a French Tech label city, joining 50 innovation and tech hubs across the Globe.
- Bulgaria launched its first RegTech sandbox in February 2020. Sofia is planning to launch Bulgaria’s first GovTech accelerator in H2 2020.
- In 2019, Sofia completed the Digital Transformation Strategy for the city Sofia (DTSS) to enhance the local tech ecosystem by turning the city into a market for the digital products created in Sofia.
- A new Big Data and AI Centre of Excellence – GATE, was launched in 2019.
You can watch the full discussion in the recording of the Zoom webinar.