Sofia public-private fund for innovations matches public and private funds to provide on competitive basis seed funding for innovative cultural projects
The practice was introduced due to the following major considerations:- all structural funds in Bulgaria are managed nationally and there is no local/regional support in this field;-available public funding rarely supports risky initiatives/projects;-the city of Sofia believes that local policy makers and intermediaries can do more to foster innovations. Main objectives:1.To develop local creative ecosystem and local philantropy;2.To test models, alternative or additional to the measures supported by Structural Funds, for fostering innovation in Sofia. The local creative ecosystem could be develop by using the model of circular economy, as well as to promote the achieved result. The youth artist innovative expeditions, presenting the art from waste and the opportunities of circular economy can be promote. Using the opportunity of financing the innovative cultural projects, promoting the circular economy in waste management sector will have a positive impact on population and could support the generation of practical circular economy models. Such an example is project FIC2014-108 Look Around, approved for funding in 2014, that is related to the artistic interventions that will decorate the ugly urban facades by using the shiny side of old CDs. The idea is to make unique and impressive artistic interventions that not only embellish the urban space but also facilitate the interaction between citizens and art.

Resources needed

Annual budget in Euro: 50,000 to 100,000, plus 75,000 in-kind. Funding sources: Sofia private business raises funds annually, matched by Sofia Municipality.
Human resources are needed for fundraising, calls and grants administrations. Business is involved in the selection and overall management.

Evidence of success

- Sofia innovation performance annual improvement rate achieved of 2.5% (vs. 1.7% EU average);
- R&D spending in 2015 increased by 27.4% compared with 2014;
- Increase of the positive self-evaluation as an eventual entrepreneur of Sofia citizens from 27% in 2014 to 35.2% in 2015.

Difficulties encountered

The biggest challenge was to trigger change in the relationships and responsibilities of the three sectors: public, private and civic – in terms of city development and fostering innovations.

Potential for learning or transfer

Quotes from participants in a EUROCITIES study visit focusing on Sofia Fund for Innovations, 2016: “We are now aiming to develop a new fund in collaboration with Arts and Business NI and hopefully Arts Council NI (Central Government) which will allow us to try to access additional financial contribution from private businesses, whilst also enhancing relationships between public/private/ arts bodies.” Director of Tourist Economy Directorate, Belfast; “I would like to consider ways that we could introduce an innovation fund in Lincoln – providing small grants to the creative sector.” Lincoln, UK; “Šilutė is a small city, but a similar fund for innovations could be useful creating cross-sector partnerships and involving private sector into decision making.” Šilutė, Lithuania. You can find relative good practices on CircE Web site: Synpotic opportunities report and the Opportunities reports, etc.
Learning and/or transfer inspiration can be taken from all these quoted GPs.
Main institution
Sofia Municipality
Югозападен, Bulgaria (България)
Start Date
July 2013
End Date


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