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.


Needs Assessment of Asylum Seekers in Bulgaria

Sofia Development Association team took part in the final workshop on assessing the needs of asylum seekers and refugees in Bulgaria, organized by UNHCR in Bulgaria. Around 30 stakeholders with various organizations and institutions, such as the State Agency for Refugees, the Red Cross, the Border Control, universities, municipalities, NGOs actively working on behalf of refugees and migrants, got together on November 6, 2018, in Borovets to discuss the strategic priorities in the area of humanitarian protection, to analyze the needs assessment results and recommendations, to discuss new instruments and mechanisms for empowerment. Sevdalina Voynova and Svetlana Lomeva presented the INTEGRA project, funded by EC’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.



New H2020 SDA Project Launch

Sofia Development Association starts working on a new H2020 project – CICERONE. The project brings together programme owners, research organizations and other stakeholders to create a platform for efficient circular economy programming. The partnership reflects diversity of regional situations. It unites 24 partners from 13 EU member states, Switzerland and Taiwan, lead by EIT Climate – KIC.

An initial benchmarking exercise will be carried out for a deeper understanding of the state of the art, mapping stakeholders, existing RDI priorities as well as funding and legal mechanisms. A prioritisation methodology will be developed to support an analysis of the current performance: synergies, gaps and duplications will be characterised, and pathways for improvements will be formulated. Identified best practices will drive the definition of policy recommendations. A Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda will be built and a policy toolkit will be developed to promote the priorities and foster adoption by policy-makers. The project will also set the grounds for a future platform, defining its strategic role in the existing landscape, its governance and possible legal frameworks, as well as creating a financially sustainable model.

Sofia Integration Lab

After completing Sofia Integration Audit, in which over 100 citizens assessed Sofia policies and practices for TCN and migrant integration, Sofia Development Association and RiskMonitor Foundation organized Sofia Integration Lab on October 30 and 31, 2018, in Bankya.

The lab gathered together 18 experts from sectors relevant to integration: employment, education, social sciences, urban development experts, security experts, NGO leaders, TCN and migrant organizations. The participants developed three most plausible scenarios for the upcoming 3 to 5 years regarding TCN in Sofia: their presence, economic and social activity and integration, the capacity of the local community to accept them. For each scenario local governance actions and measures were proposed to allow the city to prepare and face efficiently the upcoming developments.

Sofia Integration Lab scenarios and policy recommendations will be the basis of Sofia Integration Agenda that will be the roadmap for the improvement of Sofia vision and services for third country nationals.

Sofia Integration Lab is part of the INTEGRA project, lead by Sofia Development Association and co-financed by EC’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.



SDA participates in the European cybersecurity month

Why is it important to integrate cybersecurity in educational programmes in schools and universities? What is the role of informal education in this process and in particular innovation camps, hackathons, specialized courses? How can good practices from other areas be transferred to this new field? These were some of the questions discussed at the conference entitled “Cybersecurity in electric mobility and digital transformation of energy infrastructure” on October 26, 2018.

Svetlana Lomeva was a panelist at the conference, organized by the National branch organization of electric mobility. Among the participants were also the European Commissioner on digital economy and society Maria Gabriel, MPs, deputy ministers, mayors, experts.

Dynamic Learning Package in progress

On October 23 and 24, 2018, Sofia Innovation Lab hosted a training of young people with entrepreneurial spirit having a social cause. The participants discussed and practiced the essentials of financial literacy and management - fundraising, crowdfunding, bookkeeping for social causes. The training was organised in partnership with UNICEF. The YIL is established under in the NGS project under the Danube Transnational programme, co-founded by the EU funds (ERDF and IPA),

Finances4Social Change Sofia Workshop

On October 19, 2018, Sofia Development Association invited 10 social entrepreneurs and experts in the area on the first Finances4Social Change workshop. The event brought together the regional stakeholder group in support of the project, and discussed barriers to scaling up social enterprises, good and bad practices, skills deficits and policy niches.

According to the participants, social entrepreneurship is seen primarily as a response to social needs, badly covered by public and private sector, a factor for social transformation and vocation of social activity. Social entrepreneurs are mostly active in the area of social actions, followed by education and training, personal services, food and social cohesion.

The main challenges social entrepreneurs face are insufficient funding, problematic legal framework and lack of accepted methodology to measure social impact. Entrepreneurs do not consider themselves competitive nationally or internationally. Skill need differ widely from pitching to financial literacy. Training leading up to certification is most preferred.

The workshop findings will be used for the development of region-wide Danube strategy in 2019.

The project is co-financed by the INTERREG DANUBE Programme, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance II (IPA II), the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) and the Hungarian Government. More information is available at

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