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Sofia Innovation System

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Abstract

Bulgaria’s innovation performance has been distinctly positive since 2015, driven by remarkable innovation efficiency. Much of this dynamism is attributable to the country’s capital, Sofia, and its bubbling innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem. EU funding has been one of the drivers for this process, but, unlike elsewhere in the region, the Sofia experiment has been very successful from its very first iteration.

Sofia’s strongest areas are its increasing employment in fast-growing innovative companies and its number of design and trademark applications. These achievements cannot offset its systemic challenges, the most urgent of which are related to the country’s demographic crisis, low total early stage entrepreneurial activity, small national and regional markets, and low buyer sophistication. The local ecosystem needs to broaden its entrepreneurial community, build collaboration at home and internationally—with the Bulgarian diaspora in particular—and implement a more soundly articulated national strategy for smart growth as part of the global knowledge economy.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-80639-2_15
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Fig. 15.1
Fig. 15.2
Fig. 15.3
Fig. 15.4

Notes

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    European Investment Bank (2018) The European Investment Bank Group in Bulgaria 11/2018. Available at https://www.eib.org/attachments/country/the_eib_group_in_bulgaria_en.pdf (accessed on January 17, 2021).

  6. 6.

    Angelov E (2017) Funding Entrepreneurs. Bulgarian VC Association (BVCA), Presentation, Vienna.

  7. 7.

    Ibid.

  8. 8.

    Georgieva T, Yalamov T (2020) Economic Resilience through Innovation. Available at http://www.arcfund.net/fileadmin/user_upload/arcimages/INNO_2020_ENG_WEB.pdf. (accessed on January 6, 2021).

  9. 9.

    Ibid.

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    European Commission (2019) The first big data Centre of Excellence in Eastern Europe takes off. Available at: https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/first-big-data-centre-excellence-eastern-europe-takes-2019-oct-17_en. (accessed on February 2, 2021).

  11. 11.

    Andonova V, Betov C and Krusteff M (2019) 2017/18 & 2018/19 GEM national report on entrepreneurship in Bulgaria. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Bulgaria.

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  16. 16.

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  17. 17.

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  21. 21.

    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile, November 2019 (2019) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2019-EN.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

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    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile, November 2019 (2019) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2019-EN.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

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    Andonova V, Nikolova M and Dimitrov D (2019) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Unexpected Places, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

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  26. 26.

    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile, November 2019 (2019) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2019-EN.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

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  28. 28.

    DESI, Digital Economy and Society Index (2020) Available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/digital-economy-and-society-index-desi (accessed on December 27, 2020).

  29. 29.

    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile, November 2019 (2019) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2019-EN.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

  30. 30.

    Sofia Airport (2020) Passengers 2019–2020. Available at https://www.sofia-airport.bg/sites/default/files/bg-passengers_2019-2020_14.pdf (accessed on January 16, 2020).

  31. 31.

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  32. 32.

    WIPO (2020) Global Innovation Index 2020. Available at https://www.wipo.int/global_innovation_index/en/2020/ (accessed on January 6, 2021). WIPO (2020). Global Innovation Index 2020, Special Edition: The Top 100 Science and Technology Clusters, Table S 1.3. Available at https://www.wipo.int/edocs/pubdocs/en/wipo_pub_gii_2020.pdf (accessed on January 17, 2021).

  33. 33.

    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile, November 2019 (2019) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2019-EN.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

  34. 34.

    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile (2020) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2020.pdf (accessed on December 1, 2020).

  35. 35.

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  36. 36.

    Ibid.

  37. 37.

    Ibid.

  38. 38.

    Digital Cities Challenge (2019). Available at https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/sites/default/files/2019-07/Assesment_Report_SOFIA_0.pdf (accessed on December 14, 2020).

  39. 39.

    Andonova V, Nikolova M and Dimitrov D (2019) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Unexpected Places, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

  40. 40.

    Hope K (2018) Bulgaria battles to stop its brain drain, FT. Available at https://www.ft.com/content/51f1bd86-d6cc-11e7-ae3e-563c04c5339a. (accessed on March 3, 2018).

  41. 41.

    Bulgarian Association of Software Companies (2020) BASSCOM Barometer 2020. Available at https://www.basscom.org/RapidASPEditor/MyUploadDocs/BASSCOM_Barometer_2020_BG_.pdf (accessed on January 17, 2020).

  42. 42.

    O’Brien C (2018) Bulgaria rising: Can a growing startup movement reinvent the country’s economy? Available at https://venturebeat.com/2018/03/23/bulgaria-rising-can-a-growing-startup-movement-reinvent-the-countrys-economy/. (accessed on May 19, 2018).

  43. 43.

    Schmutzler J, Andonova V and Pérez-Lopez J (2021) “The role of diaspora in opportunity-driven entrepreneurial ecosystems: A mixed-methods study of Balkan economies” International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal. Available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11365-020-00708-4

  44. 44.

    Ibid.

  45. 45.

    Andonova V, Nikolova M and Dimitrov D (2019) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Unexpected Places, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

  46. 46.

    O’Brien C (2018) Bulgaria rising: Can a growing startup movement reinvent the country’s economy? Available at https://venturebeat.com/2018/03/23/bulgaria-rising-can-a-growing-startup-movement-reinvent-the-countrys-economy/. (accessed on May 19, 2018).

  47. 47.

    Fund of Funds (2020) The Fund of Funds Established a Fourth Alternative Investment Fund. https://www.fmfib.bg/en/news/153-the-fund-of-funds-established-a-fourth-alternative-investment-fund (accessed on January 17, 2021).

  48. 48.

    Fund of Funds (2020) The Fund of Funds Established a Fourth Alternative Investment Fund. https://www.fmfib.bg/en/news/153-the-fund-of-funds-established-a-fourth-alternative-investment-fund (accessed on January 17, 2021).

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    TechCrunch (2021) LAUNCHub Ventures heading towards a USD85 million fund for South Eastern European startups. Available at https://techcrunch.com/2021/01/12/launchub-ventures-heading-towards-a-85m-fund-for-south-eastern-european-startups/ (accessed January 17, 2021).

  50. 50.

    Andonova V, Nikolova M and Dimitrov D (2019) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Unexpected Places, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

  51. 51.

    Ibid.

  52. 52.

    DESI, Digital Economy and Society Index (2020) Available at https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/digital-economy-and-society-index-desi (accessed on December 27, 2020).

  53. 53.

    Ibid.

  54. 54.

    The Geography of Europe’s Brain Business Jobs: 2020 Index (2020) Available at https://www.ecepr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Brain-Business-Jobs-2020-Index.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

  55. 55.

    Ibid.

  56. 56.

    Ibid.

  57. 57.

    Sofia Economic and Investment Profile, November 2019 (2019) Available at https://investsofia.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Sofia-Economic-and-Investment-Profile-2019-EN.pdf (accessed on January 5, 2021).

  58. 58.

    Andonova V, Nikolova M and Dimitrov D (2019) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Unexpected Places, Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.

  59. 59.

    Georgieva T and Yalamov T (2020) Economic Resilience through Innovation. Available at http://www.arcfund.net/fileadmin/user_upload/arcimages/INNO_2020_ENG_WEB.pdf. (accessed on January 6, 2021).

  60. 60.

    Georgieva T and Yalamov T (2020) Economic Resilience through Innovation. Available at http://www.arcfund.net/fileadmin/user_upload/arcimages/INNO_2020_ENG_WEB.pdf. (accessed on January 6, 2021).

  61. 61.

    Ibid.

  62. 62.

    Ibid.

  63. 63.

    Ibid.

  64. 64.

    Andonova V (2021) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Innovation in the Balkans in Cahen, F., Casanova, L., Miroux, A., (Eds.) Innovation from Emerging Markets: From Copycats to Leaders, Cambridge University Press, 150–182.

  65. 65.

    Georgieva T and Yalamov T (2020) Economic Resilience through Innovation. Available at http://www.arcfund.net/fileadmin/user_upload/arcimages/INNO_2020_ENG_WEB.pdf. (accessed on January 6, 2021).

  66. 66.

    Andonova V (2021) Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Innovation in the Balkans in Cahen, F., Casanova, L., Miroux, A., (Eds.) Innovation from Emerging Markets: From Copycats to Leaders, Cambridge University Press, 150–182.

  67. 67.

    Ibid.

  68. 68.

    Georgieva T, Yalamov T (2020) Economic Resilience through Innovation. Available at http://www.arcfund.net/fileadmin/user_upload/arcimages/INNO_2020_ENG_WEB.pdf. (accessed on January 6, 2021).

  69. 69.

    Andonova V (2021) “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Innovation in the Balkans” in Cahen, F., Casanova, L., and Miroux, A. (Eds.) Innovation from Emerging Markets: From Copycats to Leaders, 2020, Cambridge University Press, 150–182.

  70. 70.

    Ibid.

  71. 71.

    Andonova V (2021) “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Innovation in the Balkans” in Cahen, F., Casanova, L., and Miroux, A. (Eds.) Innovation from Emerging Markets: From Copycats to Leaders, 2020, Cambridge University Press, 150–182.

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Andonova, V., Betov, C., Krusteff, M., Soultanova, N., Obushtarova, I., Garzik, L. (2022). Sofia Innovation System. In: Garzik, L. (eds) Successful Innovation Systems. Future of Business and Finance. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-80639-2_15

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