SpinOff Danube Alliance kicks off at the SpinOff Conference in Bulgaria

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The Spinoff Conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, on June 21st, 2024, will mark the launch of a newly formed network designed to support spinoff companies and enhance the innovation ecosystem in the Danube region.

The initiative, known as the Spinoff Danube Alliance (SDA), aims to be a central hub where spinoffs, technology transfer experts, and investment organizations from the region can collaborate, exchange best practices, and discuss the latest developments in science-based innovation.

“Our goal is to support the development of a sustainable spinoff ecosystem in the Danube region by connecting national frontrunners with international partners. Awareness, knowledge exchange about best practices, and a strong network will be key elements for the development of the sector in the region”  states Kaloyan Ratchev, co-organizer of the SDA and the Spinoff Bulgaria Initiative.

A new €85M Institute for Computer Science and AI opens doors in Bulgaria

The SpinOff Danube Alliance 

The Spinoff Danube Alliance aims to gather stakeholders to share their expertise and insights, which are crucial for the success of spinoffs and innovation programs in the Danube region. The goal is to improve the process of transitioning innovations from academia to the marketplace and to facilitate their integration into the broader business ecosystem. The sectoral focus of the initiative will be on ClimateTech and Artificial Intelligence, currently two of the most relevant topics in Europe and on a global level.

The emergence of such networks in Bulgaria and the broader SEE and Danube region is timely. Despite a significant pool of researchers and STEM students, the knowledge, awareness, and infrastructure for spinoffs are underdeveloped. Universities often lack structured processes and success stories. However, the ecosystem has begun to grow in recent years. Initiatives like Spinoff Bulgaria have generated interest in the spinoff culture, attracting national and international VCs and investors experienced in science-based innovations such as deep tech, life sciences, and cleantech. These investors are hopeful of discovering hidden gems among the science entrepreneurs in the region, which has seen significant growth.

The initiators of the alliance include leading technology transfer initiatives such as Spinoff Bulgaria and Spinoff AustriaVERBUND X,  AI Cluster Bulgaria,  INITS, New Venture Scouting,  Vangaivs, and the Austrian Institute of Technology. The initiative is supported by partners like Frauenhofer from Germany as well as by stakeholders from Slovakia, Croatia, and the wider Danube region.

The kick-off of the Spinoff Danube Initiative will be on June 21st at the Spinoff Bulgaria conference in Sofia. This will be the first of many conferences and meetings under the SDA umbrella, with further events planned for Austria and other locations in the Danube region. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to join.

Svetlin Penkov, Founder of Efemerei & AI Cluster Bulgaria: Bulgarian Startup Ecosystem

SpinOff Conference in Bulgaria

The Spinoff Bulgaria initiative, launched in 2022, aims to foster the development of high-tech companies in Bulgaria, originating from both academic/scientific circles and other companies. Its primary goal is to create an environment conducive to the growth of these companies, enabling them to offer high-value products and services that contribute to the modernization and innovation of the Bulgarian economy.

The goal is to support the creation of 100 spinoff companies by 2030 through a series of events, training programs, and a multidisciplinary approach combining expertise in technology, business, science, and engineering. Activities focus on stimulating entrepreneurial activity in fields such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and microelectronics, creating new jobs, and strengthening the country’s economic base.

The Bulgarian SpinOff initiative is a result of partnerships between several organizations, including the Biotechnology and Health Cluster, Artificial Intelligence Cluster Bulgaria, Venrize – spinoff factory, ISTEB, and various ministries, municipalities, professional associations, and universities.

The Spinoff Conference 2024 will be held on June 20-21 and will address topics such as financing, technology transfer, commercialization, project work, sustainability, and the role of artificial intelligence in addressing ESG challenges.

Report: The state of AI Innovation in Central and Eastern Europe


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