Cluster Sofia Knowledge City
Klaster Sofia Grad na Znanieto

Bulgaria: South-West (Bulgaria)
Dimitar Hristov
90% completed


About us

The vision of Cluster Sofia Knowledge City is to promote and participate in the process of transforming Sofia from a traditional capital into a Knowledge City that maintains a high quality of life and good governance by supporting the open innovation ecosystem. Its mission is to bring the efforts of the knowledge-intensive sectors with those of the municipality, the scientific, R&D, educational and financial organizations for implementing the Strategy for Smart Specialisation of Sofia.

The strategic objective of the cluster is to build its own model for a knowledge city and to turn it into a national and regional center for education, scientific research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. This is to be done through implementing smart technologies and mobilizing own and EU funding. Being an open association of an unlimited number of enterprises, science and education organizations the cluster is aimed at creating an "innovative ecosystem" based on the experience of leading Knowledge and smart cities in the world.

There are two main thematic industrial areas where the members will cooperate: Informatics and Information and communication technologies (ICT); and New technologies in creative and recreative industries.

Established - 25 October 2016
Staff in the management team - 1-5
Support services for upskilling and reskilling of companies workforce
  • Competence development
  • Lifelong learning
  • Vocational training

Cluster composition

  • 59
    Cluster Members
  • 42
  • 9
    Number of start-ups among SME's
  • 3
    Large Companies
  • 7
    Research Organisations, Universities, Technology Centers
  • 1
    Number of civil society members
  • 6
    Other Ecosystem Actors

The Cluster Sofia Knowledge Cluster City (CSKC), established in 2017 (, has prepared for Sofia Municipality several INITIATIVES / PROPOSALS for joint activities that can directly or indirectly create a favorable environment for an integrated approach to planning and implementing policies for the digital transformation of the city of Sofia through the implementation of the concept Sofia - a city of knowledge.


As of March 2019 the cluster brings together 45 companies, institutes, universities, and organizations from the knowledge industries, incl. ITC, creative and recreative business, research and development in the field of smart technologies, cybersecurity, medicine, etc. At the Knowledge & Smart Cities conference organized by the Cluster on 26 November 2018, the Mayor of Sofia Ms. Fandakova delivered a lecture informing us about a significant number of projects and initiatives in the field of smart cities and the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization of the city. The cluster management believes that it is time to unite the efforts of all the stakeholders in the smart city - business, local authorities, scientific and educational institutions (the triple helix players) to make the road map for the development of the industrial city to a smart city! Not only the technological advances push the city to such action, but rather the need for the city to provide better living conditions for its citizens, based on innovative business models and accelerated introduction of smart technologies in the city management. Below CSKC presents five activities (results, products) that can be successfully used (integrated) in a joint action between the Cluster and the Municipality in 2019:

1. A Sofia Smart City Marketplace platform is developed to collect, validate and present hundreds of technologies, applications, products, and systems applicable to the management of the city's processes and assets. The city will gradually become a "model" and "digital platform", following the good practices of cities like Dublin and Barcelona. CSKC will provide specialized departments and specialists from the municipality and municipal companies with open access to the database so that they are well informed and facilitated in the search for "smart city solutions". We believe that this will simplify and make more efficient the identification, validation, and application of the latest technologies and will encourage the process of choosing and implementing smart solutions for city development in such areas as ecology, cybersecurity, energy efficiency, urban mobility, e-government, and others.

2. The cluster finished a survey of the smart technology market, which provides information, conclusions, and recommendations on its state and trends in Sofia by 2025. This is a specific emerging market for the production, delivery, introduction, and use of smart products, processes, or services "that are integrated into asset management and city infrastructure”. The survey provides the municipality and other stakeholders with information about the market needs of the city's smart infrastructure, including Smart Transport, Smart Water Supply, Smart Construction, Smart Energy, Smart Security, Smart Education, Smart Health, and Smart Management. This information will serve as an integrated smart city planning process, following the guidelines of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). These guidelines have already been tested, incl. and with the participation of representatives of the Municipality on 26.11.2018 during the international conference Knowledge & Smart Cities.

3. The cluster finalized a strategic framework with an action plan for transforming Sofia into a smart city (Sofia Smart City) - development with recommendations for updating the existing Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization of Sofia and for creating a road map and model for an integrated plan for the construction of Sofia Smart City.

4. A project for the remote determination of fine particulate pollutants (PM) on the territory of Sofia was prepared in the design phase. The project envisages the implementation of a highly scientific comprehensive research approach developed by the member of the cluster - the Institute of Electronics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, for control and monitoring of pollution based on the re-equipped Lindar Station owned by the Institute.

5. A system (software solution) was implemented by the cluster member David Holding for analysis, planning, budgeting, management, and reporting of the repair activity and the technical support of the public lighting layer of the transport infrastructure of the Sofia Municipality. Geo-spatial information on the type, ownership, condition, and attributes of over 100,000 public lighting objects has been digitized.


Below are presented proposals from CSKC to Sofia Municipality for jointly use of the above-mentioned activities and results:

1. First initiative

CSKC OFFERS an agreement for the joint use of the Sofia Smart City Marketplace, which will benefit the process of transforming the city into a smart city. We will provide open access for the municipality and its structures to a specialized database from where validated records on solutions can be retrieved and also direct consultations can be made to solve the challenges of Sofia as a smart city. This activity will also be supported by the Expert Council of the Cluster. The implementation of the tasks and budget participation of this joint action can be broken down as follows:

  • Development, testing, and launching of the platform – it is a cluster engagement, implemented on the basis of directly attracted and ensured funding that is already in the process of being implemented;
  • Marketing and attracting the solutions vendors interested in providing public authorities with access to data on the features and applicability of their developments/innovations – it is a cluster engagement, based on the available administrative capacity, networks, and funding of own ad campaigns;
  • Administration and operational support of the platform - commitment of the cluster, based on fee revenues from the vendors of the technological solutions;
  • Collecting, describing, introducing, updating, evaluating, and validating the records of technological solutions in the database - a joint commitment to implementation on the basis of an annual budget divided equally between the two sides. The budget is intended to cover the costs of recruiting technology experts to describe and validate technological solutions (The platform contains 87 technological "fields" of the "smart city" and can realistically enter about 170 - 200 records in the database for the first year).
  • Participation of the municipality in the co-financing of this joint action can be done through a framework agreement between the cluster and, for example, the Sofia Development Association or one of the municipal companies, using the best practices of internal budgeting. The platform will remain the intellectual property of the cluster but will function in favor of the municipality. Later, it will open and connect with other cities in the region such as Belgrade, Nis, Athens, Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Bucharest, Cluj, etc., thus increasing the smart-technology market and creating new needs stimulating the transformation process. town. It is believed that this joint initiative will contribute to launching the systematic management of the smart cities process.

2. Second initiative

After receiving the results of the survey of the smart city technology market in Sofia CSKC proposed a joint information day or business breakfast with the representatives of the leading technology companies in the city and with the other "stakeholders", incl. investors and financial organizations to familiarize them with both the needs and prospects of the market and with the latest guidelines for an integrated approach to stimulate the development of this market at the urban level. The commitment of the Municipality would be to provide the appropriate conditions for the participation of the leaders of the technology companies and the stakeholders in Sofia. The cluster will assist in preparing, conducting, and presenting the results to the Forum, which can be carried out jointly with the Sofia Development Association.

3. Third initiative

Based on the results of the survey and the developed strategic framework with the Action plan to turn Sofia into a smart city (Sofia Smart City) CSKC offered to allocate funds into the budget of the Municipality for 2019 for the following key activities:

  • an update of the Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization Strategy of Sofia that will be needed to involve the municipality in the implementation of a number of programs and to attract grants in 2019 and in the next planning period;
  • A synergy of "Vision for Sofia" with the Strategic framework for Sofia Smart City (developed by the cluster) and preparation of Roadmap of Sofia - smart city.
  • Preparation and adoption by the cluster of an Integrated Planning Regulation for the Digital Transformation Process of the City, covering the structure, methods, financing and implementation of the strategic documents and the Sofia Smart City Roadmap including: smart Transport, smart Water supply, smart construction, smart energy, smart security, smart education, smart healthcare, and smart management.
  • Development and adoption by the CSKC of a new methodology for the establishment of public-private partnerships compliant with current legislation and financing of the design, development and implementation of tangible and intangible assets for smart city management.

With these activities and with the budget co-financed by the Municipality, CSKC believes that on the one hand, Sofia will be able to mobilize an internal resource for a new, more efficient way of working and to create new business models (like PPP) between the municipality and the other stakeholders. This will increase the city's capacity to attract investment and to be effectively involved in EU specialized funds in the form of building sustainable partnerships to create Sofia - a Smart city.

4. Fourth initiative

The cluster OFFERs that the Lidar station, which is owned by the Institute for electronics at BAS and which has been reconfigured under a contract with the Sofia Municipality from 2015, should continue to be used jointly after the completion of the project for the purposes of monitoring the pollution with PMI. The station can also be considered as a working prototype, on the basis of which a project for a modern city-owned Lidar station will be developed. This can be accomplished through the continuation of the 2015 Treaty. At the Institute of Electronics, there are currently three Lidar Observatories, which are currently performing only scientific tasks. With this proposal, we plan to adapt an existing room in the Institute building so that the lidar monitoring covers a maximum volume of urban space (currently it covers only a small segment of the northern territories of the municipality and the northern slope of Vitosha mountain). The tasks to be addressed through this proposal and the way this project can be implemented is to be described additionally.

5. Fifth initiative

CSKC OFFERS to the already developed by our member David Holding system to add other activities of the municipality and to extend the scope in the direction of collecting information about the public lighting networks, layers for the road network, communications, waste and ecology, planning, and management of the repair activity as well and to evaluate and compare costs in different work scenarios. For this purpose, it is proposed to develop and implement a new development/system in the municipality to realize these new functions and capabilities. The description of the existing system, the tasks to be solved through it and the way in which such a project can be carried out is to be described and presented additionally.

Legal form of the cluster organisation
Languages spoken
Bulgarian English French German Polish Russian Spanish
Link to the team description on the cluster organisation website
Other label

Management team

Dimitar Hristov
Cluster Manager
Adelina Hristova
Milena Koleva
Project Manager
Dimitar Filipov
Internationalisation Responsible

Sectorial and industrial focus

Sectoral industries
Information and communication:J63 Information service activities
Sectoral Industries (NACE 4 digit)
Cross-sectoral industries
Digital Industries
Industrial Alliances and Ecosystems
Technology fields
Y\: General tagging of new technological developments:Technologies or applications for mitigation or adaptation against climate change - Y\: General tagging of new technological developments:Y04 - Information or communication technologies having an impact on other technology areas
S3 EU priority areas


Support services provided

Advisory Services
Development of human resources, such as staff mobility, access to training
Location branding

Support services for upskilling and reskilling of companies workforce

Competence development - Lifelong learning - Vocational training

Support programmes

EU Programmes

European Programmes

Name & description

Project name

871552 — MediaMotorEurope — H2020-ICT-2018-20/H2020-ICT-2019-2

Cooperation activities

International cooperation

Targeted countries


Transnational cooperation

Targeted countries


Transnational support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs - Support to collaborative activities/etc. - Other

International support activites

Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs

Further information

Greece - Thessaloniki

Cluster Sofia Knowledge City took take part in the 10th cluster mission in Thessaloniki, Greece on September 13-14, 2017. A few weeks ago, the Cluster became a member of the European Cluster Cooperation Platform (ECCP) . The cluster was represented by Dimitar Hristov, Vice Chairman of the Management Board. The overall objective of this event was to provide the clusters, which are active in the cultural and creative industries, circular economy, mobility, smart cities, green technologies, energy efficiency and Agro-technology with better opportunities for international partnership. The cluster wanted to stimulate better access of products of its members to new markets (internationalization). It was aimed also to facilitate the members to easier access to new distribution networks, channels and human resources in their priority areas by creating networks for cooperation with other clusters in the Balkan's and European's countries. During this meeting the cluster signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Cluster House of City of Nis, Serbia and became member of the initiative The Balkan & Black Sea Cluster Network.


Cluster Sofia Knowledge City took part in the European Cluster Matchmaking Event 2018, a meeting organized by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP). The meeting was held in Brussels within the framework of the EU Industry Day on 21-23 February 2018. The event brought together high-level politicians and cluster managers to discuss actions to further development of industrial competitiveness in Europe. The cluster representative in the forum was Adelina Hristova, the internal communications expert at the cluster. She held useful meetings with more than 22 cluster representatives from 10 countries from a total of 130 cluster managers and representatives. At the meetings, clusters had the opportunity to exchange know-how, good practices and lay the foundations for potential cooperation. Adelina participated actively in two of the parallel panels:

  •   Clusters and partnerships for stronger EU value-added chains;
  •   Role of the skills in future employment.

By participating in this event Cluster Sofia city of knowledge has achieved the following:

  •   Found potential partners for participating in European and international programs.
  •   Exchange of experience and knowledge in the field of cluster management
  •   Provide prospects for future internationalization and access to new markets for cluster members
  •   Collect information about upcoming events and forums that are appropriate for the cluster.

United Kingdom

At the end of July and the beginning of August (30.07-03.08) Deyan Pushkarov - Marketing and PR Expert and Adelina Hristova - Internal Communications Expert on the cluster visited the United Kingdom and participated in a number of meetings with organizations from the city of London and the city of Peterborough.

The meeting with Future Cities Catapult was very beneficial and interesting in terms of an organization that not only supports the process of transforming cities into smart cities through state-of-the-art information technologies and the Internet of Things, but rather uses the concept of managing knowledge and its impact on the economic development of the cities with an extraordinary focus on citizens. Possible joint activities in the smart cities area and infrastructure innovation projects were discussed.

The representatives of the cluster visited two of the most successful business accelerators - Collider Accelerator, which is one of the five top seed accelerators in Europe and The Bakery. During the meetings, a few pieces of evidence were presented regarding the inclusion of large companies in the process of setting up new businesses and attracting a wide range of stakeholders to create a successful entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem. Collider Accelerator presented information about their experience in the commercialization of innovation in marketing and advertising, and The Bakery explained how they were attracting big companies and their approach to establishing a good reputation for the accelerator.

Of great importance for the cluster was the meeting with London & Partners, an agency directly involved in promoting the work of the Mayor of London. Its main objective is to create an international reputation for attracting foreign investors to the city. The agency presented the methods and marketing tools it uses to attract investors and talents for the implementation of smart city projects. The London Tech Week event, which attracts over 55,000 attendees and high-tech businesses, is a good example.

Later that day a discussion visit was made to NESTA, a foundation for research and innovation promotion across a wide range of economic sectors. The Foundation presented its experience in exploring the smart technology market. The organization's initiatives and activities to support smart cities, social causes and innovations in public benefit were discussed.

The meeting with Opportunity Peterborough, an organization supporting business development in the area, focused on the marketing and the engagement of local companies to support Peterborough's smart growth as well as exploring approaches to attracting and retaining talent in the city. Also, during the meeting the opportunities of the organization for establishing a partnership with the municipality to work on future & smart cities projects, the circular economy, tackling urban challenges and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, were discussed.

Within the last day, the cluster representatives visited two technology companies, Living PlanIT - the world's first UOS system, which together with the products it supports and combines, unlocks the full potential of data to make cities better, safer and more social living places and Universal TrustMe Engine with its product TrustMe ™ - blockchain engine technology allows for the deployment of a trusted 3rd party platform where transactions are conducted and recorded on blockchains using pre-configured and automated blockchain contracts ('smart contracts'). Detailed information on the meetings, conclusions, and recommendations that were covered during the meetings was presented to the members of the cluster in September 2018.


A series of working visits were organized by the cluster in leading cluster organizations in Italy. These visits are aligned with the aim to build organizational capacity, internationalization, and successful partnerships. In July (16-20.07.) Milena Koleva - strategy and development expert at the cluster, visited Italy and participated in several working meetings with cluster managers of Emilia-Romana Associazione Clust-ER, Greentech, Agrofood, ICT, Building and Construction, Health and Wellbeing, Mechanics and Mechatronics in Bologna, EURAC Research institute and NOI Tech park in Bolzano as well as innovation centre Verona 311 in Verona.

Emilia-Romana is one of the most developed regions in Italy and the visited clusters are created under the innovation strategy for smart specialization. According to the cluster managers in order for a cluster to be successful research centers and scientific institutes should be actively involved. During the meeting with a team from the Institute for renewable energy at EURAC Milena was informed about the best practices of the cities of Bolzano and Trento and the region South Tyrol for solving the challenges of the use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. There was a discussion about particular ideas for cooperation within the programme Horizon 2020.

The meeting with the team of one of the most developed technology parks in Italy - NOI Tech Park was very insightful and useful for the cluster. Some of the leading research institutes are located in the park (Fraunhofer Italia, EURAC Research, Climate House Agency, etc.) together with NGOs, companies and other organizations. The park is aiming to become a leading innovation hub in the region with the main goal to support the development and transformation of Bolzano into a smart city. In alignment with one of the goals of the cluster to support the human resources development in the city, Milena visited also one of the successful innovation centers in Italy – 311 Verona. In addition to being a business accelerator, the center develops partnerships with big companies like Sharp for training young people and the preparation of human resources in digital and smart city technologies. The representatives of the center expressed willingness and readiness to provide technical assistance and support to create and develop such an innovation accelerator at the cluster in Sofia as well.


Dimitar Hristov, CEO of the Cluster held a meeting and discussion with Dr. Sara Cummings and Dr. Andreas Brandner in Vienna June 2018 to study the good practices of the Global Knowledge for Development Partnership ( ). The issues discussed were the management of the process of transforming cities into knowledge cities and guidance on institutional building the cluster as a platform for transforming Bulgaria's capital into a city of knowledge. Later Dimitar participated in a training organized by Vienna City of Knowledge on the Concept of Development of the City of Vienna as a City of Knowledge. During the training, he became acquainted with Vienna's vision and strategy of managing the knowledge process, the roadmap, the role of the municipality and the approach of positioning the strategy among the other stakeholders. The main topic was the identifying and preparing key programs and projects on which a city of knowledge is developed and how Sofia, based on the experience of Vienna, can act on cooperation with other Sofia clusters, people, organizations, companies, public bodies that join the vision - all those who are the ingredients of the triple helix in the city.

On June 12, 2018, Dimitar held a meeting with Bernhard Puttinger, Cluster Manager of Green Tech Cluster Styria, Gratz. During the meeting, he explored the experience of the cluster management, the form of partnership (ownership and funding), the management system, how to develop and implement the cluster strategy, good practices and cases of successfully completed internal cluster initiatives, the generation and management approach the innovation process, the gold labelling procedure for excellent cluster management, and the other awards the cluster has received as the most innovative growth project in the EU (European Commission) and the class Environmental Technologies №1 worldwide (ranking in the US).

Ljubljana - Slovenia

On 12.06.2018 Dimitar participated in training with lecturer Igor Matjasic - Executive Director of DSE Group for studying cloudy cluster management technologies. During the training, important information was provided on how to improve the administration of an in-house cloud management platform, how to link the documents to the project management process and cluster tasks. The training process addressed specific areas of concern that cluster management requires, namely database management for the needs of the internal payment system, strategic plan approaches KPIs monitoring system, business plan development next year.

On June 13, 2018, Dimitar visited Technology park in Ljubljana and met the Technology Development Director Jernej Pintar. He explored at the meeting the management system of the park and the role of the park is turning Ljubljana into a smart and innovative ecosystem in partnership with other stakeholders. He received information and opinion on the work of clusters in Slovenia. Interesting information about the history and lessons learned from the development of the park, the governance structure, the business model used, the park's impact and results, good practices, case.

Sofia - China

At the last day of the Seventh annual Central Eastern Europe-China Summit, better known as “16 + 1” Summit, which took place in Sofia on 6 and 7 July, the Cluster Sofia Knowledge City was visited by Mr. Stanley Wei, Chairman & Managing Director, and Ian Jiang - Director International Cooperation from the Shanghai-based company Oneness International Group Limited. The company represents the interests of high-level investors and fund managers from Hong Kong and the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Prior to this meeting the guests from China and the cluster representatives prof. Dr Rumen Nikolov – Vice Chairmen of the Management Board and Dimitar Hristov - Managing Director were invited by prof. Dr K. Kostadinov, special adviser at the Minister, to take a part in a meeting at the Ministry of Science and Education.

All the participants in these two consecutive meetings were deeply inspired during the discussions. They were excited about the knowledge city concept and the smart city initiatives of the cluster and expressed their beliefs that many synergies to work together exist. During the meeting Mr. Stanley Wei stated that they believed in the three key pillars of values shaping the core foundations for sustainable economic growth:

  • Industry Integration - Integration and optimization of industrial resources, driven by innovation, to accelerate the growth and development of the regional economy;
  • Urban Management - Integrating the essence of Chinese and Western cultures, combined with innovation to optimize the sustainability of urban ecosystems;
  • Financial Innovation - Transferring advanced financial experiences and capital resources from the world, adapting it to the local economy, to create mutually beneficial collaborations. 

Mr. Stanley Wei remarked: “Our visions and values are in line with the 7th Summit of Heads of Government of CEEC and China, we believe that together we are deepening open and pragmatic cooperation for inclusive prosperity”. Both parties agreed with Mr. Wei’s concept that although Bulgaria’s economy is small, Bulgaria could create a suitable Eastern Hub for cooperation with China in this part of Europe and in Europe as a whole. Dimitar Hristov also outlined that there is a serious market for smart technologies, innovation spaces, and infrastructure, which can accelerate the transformation process of Sofia into a knowledge city. At the heart of this are education, science, and culture, and this is the reason for creating the Cluster Sofia Knowledge City. There was stated common understanding that the infrastructure investments are most successful in places where smart people live because they create a climate for attracting talent, increase the regional potential to generate innovations, and in result create new needs that have to be met with more and more investments. Following this meeting, the next step was a visit of prof. Rumen Nikolov in China, where he met Mr. Ian and both confirmed their expectation to start working on a concrete project, connected with the idea of the Sofia Knowledge park Development.

Connection to cluster organisation(s)

Profile name Location


Smart Region Flanders V.Z.W.


Membership in cluster networks, meta clusters and national associations of clusters

Profile name Location Network type
Knowledge4Development Partnership

Upcoming events

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Latest news and documents

News Published: 25.05.2020
Open call for deep-tech innovators
News Published: 25.05.2020
Welcome to MediaMotorEurope!
News Published: 23.03.2018
Information Day of the Sofia Knowledge City at the Smart Cities exhibition
News Published: 03.03.2018
Cluster Sofia Knowledge City signed a grant contract

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