26 March 2019, Sofia Event Center
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The event

Our cities and mobility systems are on the edge of a decisive shift. New technology is already reshaping urban life as we know it, but the end result is yet unsettled. The framework, however, is clear. Cities have more pulling power than ever, and with it a growing responsibility to provide better decision making, better understanding and protection of the environment, and ultimately better user experience to rising citizen numbers.

The best solution that we know so far is smarter cities. Structures and local governments using data from citizens, devices, and assets to manage traffic, transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste, law enforcement, information systems, schools, libraries, hospitals, and any other service for their citizens.

Many cities have begun this journey, but none have yet reached the final destination. Now is the time for conversation, connection and innovation, which will shape the future of cities and mobility systems. People are already informed and connected to everything, everywhere, all the time. Now is the time for city builders and the business to figure out what this means for the places we live and move in, and how they should respond.

Why Attend: 
The annual SMART CITIES AND MOBILITY FORUM is already becoming the leading platform in SEE for the transforming mobility and urban living concepts. It is a meetup of the policy, business and citizen sectors, where you can get up to date with and explore new trends, business models and policies in urban development and mobility technology.

Key topics:
- smart city management
- green, electrical, autonomous mobility
- smart utilities
- smart and sustainable buildings and homes

When and where:
26 March 2019
Sofia Event Center

Registration fee:
100 BGN excl. VAT 

Deadline for registration: 
24 March 2019


  • Yordanka Fandakova

    Yordanka Fandakova Mayor of Sofia

  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Karl-Heinz Paqué

    Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Karl-Heinz Paqué Chairman of the Executive Board, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

    Karl-Heinz Paqué studied economics at the Universities of Saarbrücken , Kiel and Bristish Columbia, Vancouver (Canada). After a research stay at the Center for Study of Public Choice, Blacksburg (Virginia) he received his doctoral degree in economics at Kiel University where he worked in different positions up to Director and Professor at the Kiel Institute of World Economics. Since 1996, he is Professor of International Economics at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. From 2002 to 2008, he was Member of Parliament of the State of Saxony Anhalt, from 2002 to 2006 as State Minister of Finance and from 2006 to 2008 as Leader of the Liberal parliamentary faction. He returned to Magdeburg University in 2008 and was Dean of the faculty of Economics and Management until March 2018. He received an honorary doctorate from Miskolc University, Hungary, in 2012. On 20 May 2017, Professor Paqué was elected Vice-President of the Liberal International Executive Board. Professor Paqué was Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom from 2014 to 2018. He was elected Chairman of the Executice Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom with effect from 26 September 2018.
  • Marco Steinberg

    Marco Steinberg Founder and CEO, Snowcone & Haystack

    Marco Steinberg is the founder of Snowcone and Haystack, a Helsinki based strategic design practice focused on helping governments and leaders innovate. Previously Steinberg was an Associate Professor at the Harvard Design School and founder and director of Strategic Design at the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra. He is author on numerous books on design & innovation.
  • Dominic Weiss

    Dominic Weiss Head of the Smart City Agency of Urban Innovation Vienna

    Dominic Weiss manages the Smart City Agency. His main interest lies in the research and development of multidisciplinary urban systems, where social inclusion, technology, and creativity play a key role. Dominic Weiss graduated in Political Science and European Studies from the University of Vienna. He then worked for the European Union Department of the Vienna Business Agency in Vienna and Brussels. Within this role, he was responsible for funding and strategies. In his position as an EU expert, he has been involved in a number of transnational projects concerning IT solutions, environmental technologies, and renewable energy sources.
  • Frans-Anton Vermast

    Frans-Anton Vermast Smart City Ambassador, Amsterdam Smart City

    Since 2008 Frans-Anton Vermast MBA (1969) has been Strategy Advisor and International Smart City Ambassador for Amsterdam Smart City and Chief Technology Office of Amsterdam, winners of iCapital 2016. He is a global expert in searching for opportunities for novel appliances and services that make cities and their regions an inclusive society and a more habitable place for people to live, work and play in pleasantly. Next to a strategic and broad general knowledge and experience in this field for almost 20 years Mr Vermast specialises in citizens engagement and governance- and finance models to facilitate collaboration in a quintuple helix. As the main question should be ‘What city do we want to live in?’ and cities are about "ECO systems and ego systems", he concentrates on helping cities facilitate their (digital) transitions via open innovation platforms as well as cross silo approaches. His objectives are to facilitate social innovation and a sustainable-liveable environment to boost social and economic benefits based on open data and open algorithms. Ethics, gaining (back) trust of citizens and ownership of data to citizens are important topics he focusses on too. Mr Vermast is very interested to elaborate on these themes and to learn from others. In addition, the private sector regularly calls on Mr Vermast his opinion and advice; this includes big consultancy firms, communication incumbents and NGO’s, local SME’s and start-ups. Mr Vermast had the privilege to be a jury member for the European Capital of Innovation 2018. He is a visiting speaker at Leiden University and Radboud University Nijmegen and a guest lecturer at the Universities of Applied Sciences of The Hague and HAN. Mr Vermast is experienced in national and international training both professional and as a volunteer with political parties.
  • Toomas Sepp

    Toomas Sepp Head of Tallinn City Office

    Toomas Sepp has worked as the administrative leader of Tallinn City Office since 1992 and has been actively involved in the process of administrative reform of local government in both in Estonia and Tallinn since then. He has also been the main initiator and spokesman of e-services and e-governance projects in Tallinn City Administration. As a City Secretary Mr. Sepp is the highest civil servant in the Administration of Tallinn and his responsibilities cover management of Tallinn City Office and coordination of City’s human resource development, public relations, ICT, legal affairs, internal control, financial services and strategic development policy. Mr. Sepp is actively involved in local government training programs, lecturing both at home and abroad on public administration reform and new ICT solutions in local governance. Graduating as a lawyer from Tartu State University (1983), Mr. Sepp started his public service career in the Ministry of Housing and Public Utilities and the State Chancellery of Estonia. Parallel to his present employment as a City Secretary of Tallinn, Mr. Sepp has studied civil law and participated in a number of seminars on local government issues in Estonia and abroad.
  • Seppo Haataja

    Seppo Haataja Director of Smart City Tampere

    Seppo Haataja is director of Smart City Development at Business Tampere. He currently also heads the Mobility Working Group of the Open & Agile Smart Cities network (OASC). Previously, he headed the economic development program "Open Tampere" of the Finnish City of Tampere and acted as director of OASC from 2015 to 2017. Prior to this, Seppo worked 17 years for Nokia Mobile Phones (NMP) in senior manager R&D roles in various business units. He has established and managed R&D organisations for the Nokia Group as well as EU-level framework program consortia. Seppo has worked also abroad, two years in Cambridge, UK as a R&D site manager, and a year in Toronto, Canada as a visiting researcher. Before Seppo engaged with Nokia, he was researcher at the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT).
  • Oliver Juli

    Oliver Juli Head оf Program Office, Aspern Smart City Research

    Oliver Juli joined Siemens AG in Austria in 1989, initially as a software expert in the telecommunication business. Until 2012 he worked for Siemens in different countries (Germany, Croatia) and different businesses (telecommunication, healthcare) as project manager and technical sales as well as product line manager. In 2013 he was project manager for the foundation of Aspern Smart City Research GmbH & Co KG. Currently he acts as head of ASCR program office for smart city projects in Vienna. He is an expert in strategic methodologies with many years experience in business development and project management.
  • Michal Kraus

    Michal Kraus Head, Prague Smart City Department

    Michal is the head of the Smart Prague department; he handles science, research and innovation at the Data Platform Department. He is responsible for forming the Data Platform strategy in connection with the overall Smart Prague 2030 concept. Michal has more than 15 years’ experience in ICT, in particular in the realisation of software projects, implementing new solutions and managing implementation teams. He studied computer technology at the Czech Technical University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering; he later studied economics and, as a post-graduate student, obtained an Executive MBA.
  • Elitsa Panayotova

    Elitsa Panayotova Coordinator, Sofia Green

  • Ben Hill

    Ben Hill CEO, b3 new energy

    Ben was described recently in the press as "a man who perhaps more than anyone has led clean energy into the European mainstream", which is nice recognition from his peers for 33 years of chasing seemingly impossible goals. A serial entrepreneur, Ben has created, managed and sold his own companies as well as creating and managing companies or new divisions of companies for others. Today, Ben advises some of the most exciting and innovative companies in the energy storage, Solar PV and e-mobility sectors, from Europe, US, Asia and Middle East. Prior to setting up his own consultancy company (B3 New Energy Ltd), Ben was instrumental in the creation of Tesla’s Energy business working closely with Tesla’s leaders to create the strategy, offer, organisations, and products which lead the world today, also supporting the rapid expansion of charging infrastructure. Before moving to Tesla, Ben helped Trina Solar move from a pure module manufacturer, to the No.1 solar company globally in many metrics. He led the diversification of Trina into project development, energy storage and a ‘solution rather than product’ offering. Prior to Trina Ben managed Europe, Africa and Middle East for BP Solar breaking many glass ceilings in order to ensure solar would be become the "mainstream" generation source that it is today.
  • Dr. Piers Clark

    Dr. Piers Clark Founder and Chairman, Isle Group

    Piers is Chairman of the Isle Group. Isle is a technical, specialist water consultancy with offices in the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, the USA, Australia, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Isle works with over 200 utilities around the world. Piers was previously the Managing Director for the private equity fund Global Water Development Partners (GWDP), a Blackstone portfolio company. From 2010-14 he was the Commercial Director at Thames Water, the largest of the UK water companies. Piers was responsible for all of Thames Water’s non-regulated business activities. Piers also served as Interim Asset Management Director for Thames Water. Prior to joining Thames Water, Piers was Managing Director of Mouchel’s Regulated Industries leading a team of 3,000 staff providing engineering consultancy and operational maintenance services in the water, energy, environment and rail sectors. In 2006, Piers helped establish an innovative funding mechanism for technology companies, called TAG (Technology Approval Group). TAG bridges the gap between venture capital investors and the water company end-users and has resulted in over $1bn being invested in water-related cleantech companies in recent years. He is a Board director for the IFC-backed Haiti-based water kiosk business Dlo Haiti, and a Non Exec Director for Modern Water plc. He has a PhD in Civil Engineering.
  • Ionut Farcas

    Ionut Farcas Commercial Transformation VP for Europe and South America, Schneider Electric

  • Richard Clegg

    Richard Clegg Partner, Wolf Theiss

    Richard is an equity partner at Wolf Theiss with particular career specialization and expertise working in and with the technology & regulated sectors. He facilitates, negotiates and advises on national and international projects for investors, corporations and entrepreneurs, including M&A, equity fundraising & ICOs, technology joint-ventures & partnerships, and commercial & blockchain contracting. His work in 2018 has included projects in Europe North America and Australasia. Richard is a qualified solicitor in England & Wales and the Republic of Ireland. Outside of his professional work, he is an investor in a number of innovative European and international technology companies and technology funds.
  • Peter Gaspar

    Peter Gaspar IoT Fellow, A1 Telekom Austria Group

    In his 20 years in the telecommunications industry, Peter has worked for multiple mobile operators in Austria and Slovakia. In Cisco (2007-2017), he took care of the technical consultancy for mobility and networking technologies in Middle East, Africa and Russia/CIS. In the last 5 years, he focuses on IoT solutions and infrastructure and has helped develop customer IoT solutions in the areas of Smart City, Asset Management, Retail and Transportation. In 2017 he joined A1 Digital to work as solution architect with focus on IoT connectivity, platform and architecture and supports customer solution development for fleet management, asset tracking, connected products and other.
  • Vasil Takev

    Vasil Takev Sustainable mobility and Fast-charging infrastructure Manager, ABB Bulgaria

  • Bjørn Utgård

    Bjørn Utgård Director of New Markets, EVBox

    Bjørn Utgård is the Director of New Markets of EVBox. With more than 60,000 charging points across 45 countries, EVBox offers a full suite of EV chargers ranging from 3.5 to 350 kW, alongside a charging management platform—Everon, which seamlessly incorporates EV charging into various infrastructures and business models. At EVBox, Bjørn directs the company’s expansion into emerging markets, partnering with resellers and service providers to deliver smart and reliable charging solutions to organizations, location owners, and consumers. Bjørn’s professional experience spans over 14 years in tech innovation, entrepreneurship, and policy development within the industries of sustainable mobility, renewable energy, and climate change.
  • Stefan Spasov

    Stefan Spasov Chief Executive Officer, SPARK, Eldrive

    Stefan Spassov specializes in corporate finance and business development with current focus in the EV mobility and car sharing fields. He has previously been actively involved in the telematics business and negotiated, consulted and led the successful acquisition of EuroGPS (now Viasat Technology) by the European leader in usage-based-insurance Viasat Group. Since August 2017, Stefan is the CEO of eMobility International and leads the expansion of a national charging stations infrastructure and promotion of EV mobility. In parallel, he led the successful launch of the first electric car sharing service in Bulgaria (SPARK).
  • Irena Mladenova

    Irena Mladenova Manager, Resalta Bulgaria

  • Stéphane Rénie

    Stéphane Rénie Head of CSR, ALD Group

    Stéphane Rénie is Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for the ALD Group. He began his career at Renault in 1992 and spent more than 15 years in various managerial positions in advertising, strategic marketing and BtoB sales, both in France and abroad. In 2009 he joined Carat, the #1 Global Media Network, as managing director in Paris and was responsible for managing French and international accounts. He moved to ALD Automotive in 2010 as Sales and Marketing Director and was in charge of managing relations with international clients and developing the Group’s global marketing activities, until he took over the CSR position in January 2018. Stéphane Rénie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management (BSc) from ESCP Europe Business School and a Graduate Degree in Political Studies from Sciences Po Paris, the Paris Institute of Political Studies.
  • Jakub Olek

    Jakub Olek Government Relations Director, Central & Eastern Europe at Lime

    Jakub Olek is Government Relations Director, Central & Eastern Europe at Lime. Jakub has served before as Public Policy and Government Relations lead in Central and Eastern Europe for Ofo and Santander Group. Prior to joining Lime he had been involved in market entry projects also for BlaBlaCar and Amazon. Lawyer by education, with several years in consulting business (KPMG).
  • Dobromir Simidchiev

    Dobromir Simidchiev CEO, Hydrolia

  • Toni Richard Crisolli

    Toni Richard Crisolli co-founder, Smart Cities Education Initiative SCEI

    Toni is a technologist, facilitator and trainer with over 16 years of experience in stakeholder education. In 2013, Toni co-founded the Smart City Education Initiative SCEI, which aims to become a leading hub of smart city stakeholder in the Western Balkans - providing knowledge-transfer, match-making and education for the numerous stakeholders involved in city innovation. Toni is Senior Project Manager at the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and one of the organizers of the annual Smart City Festival. In his private time, Toni is an active content creator, streamer and YouTuber.
  • Erik Bergqvist

    Erik Bergqvist Market Development & Partnerships, VOI

    Erik works on the Market Development and leads Partnerships in current and new markets at VOI. Before joining VOI, Erik spent more than six years abroad studying International Business and Finance and working as a Public Policy and Strategy Associate, Financial Analyst and Consultant in Shanghai, Boston, San Francisco, Budapest. During his time living from East to West around the world, he identified the serious need of smarter, greener and more effective mobility options in growing cities across the world. Hence, his passion for the micro-mobility space and how he believes e-scooters it is set to transform how people move in cities.
  • Iva Petkova

    Iva Petkova Sustainable Cities Fund

    Iva Petkova has over 10 years of experience in the evaluation and monitoring of projects funded by SCF and ESIF. Since 2008 Mrs. Petkova has been working at FLAG, where she participates in the evaluation of administrative capacity and public procurement, in the assessment of the eligibility and compliance with the requirements of the respective Operational Program, in the evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the projects by the municipalities. Since 2011, Iva Petkova is involved in the implementation of JESSICA Initiative under the Urban Development of Sofia - she participated in the process of application to the EIB, in the development of the Fund's policies and rules, in the preparation and implementation of sustainable urban projects financed by the SCF under OPRD 2007-2013. Iva Petkova holds a Master’s Degree in European Studies and in International Relations from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski ". Within the framework of the Sustainable Cities Fund, she performs the functions of a Key expert for Urban Regeneration and Financial Instruments.
  • Dr. Kiril Velichkov

    Dr. Kiril Velichkov Sustainable Cities Fund

    Dr. Kiril Velichkov has more than 20 years of experience with European programs, working under PHARE and Socrates programs, and also responsible for European projects within Southeastern Europe at the Goethe Institute. He has consulted Bulgarian and foreign ministries and has been an independent expert of the European Commission. He has an experience as a university lecturer.
  • Philippe Vangeel

    Philippe Vangeel Secretary General, AVERE

    With great technology and brilliant people, Philippe Vangeel found his way as Secretary General in one of the fastest changing and growing technologies: electrical vehicles. There is nothing greater than finding opportunities for new technologies that will change the future. This electrification is overlapping promising climate solutions, ecology, mobility and possible disruption of our future transport. It results in major challenges for the industry, academy & policy.An engineer by background, Philippe has always worked as manager in the electronic sector. Preceding his role as a Secretary General of AVERE, he has worked an an innovative entrepreneur in e-retails, security and the medical sector.
  • Kaloyan Karamitov

    Kaloyan Karamitov Coordinator, Urban Planning and Transport, Vision for Sofia

  • Radoslav Rusev

    Radoslav Rusev Co-founder and Member of the Board of Directors, Hydrolia

  • Zdravko Donkov

    Zdravko Donkov Managing Partner, Smartity

  • Mihail-Ernesto Mihailov

    Mihail-Ernesto Mihailov Business development, Theoremus

    Mihail-Ernesto Mihailov has 25 years of experience in the field of information and communication technologies. He has participated in a number of large scale ICT projects in Bulgaria and Europe. In 2009 a project for remote real-time cardio-monitoring at St. Ekaterina Hospital won Bulgarian "IT project of the year" award of Computerworld. During the last 6 years Mihail is focused in the area of IoT specifically IoT applications in Smart City. He is actively working on projects for Smart waste collection, air quality monitoring and intelligent urban mobility.
  • Dimitar Ivanov

    Dimitar Ivanov Qubiqo

    Dimitar Ivanov is an independent persona with entrepreneurial thinking and background in economics and management. He has direct experience in management, sales and business development in a multicultural business environment. Dimitar is one of the founders of Wato, an engineering and production company focused in the Water Sector. He has engaged the company in various projects in the Water sector in Bulgaria, the Balkans and Russia. The ultimate goal of any of the projects is to maximize the efficiency of water networks and their operation through a combination of services, products and know-how.
  • Nikolay Dimitrov

    Nikolay Dimitrov Business Development Manager, Selectium

    Nikolay Dimitrov has many years of experience in the field of Information Technologies. He has worked in various management positions at Hewlett Packard Bulgaria and Hewlett Packard Enterprise. At present, he holds the position of Business Development Director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise operated by Selectivum. Currently, he is actively working for projects with Small and Medium Enterprises in the country related to the establishment and maintenance of IT equipment, complete networking solutions and IoT in the sphere of SMEs.


08:45 - 09:20 Registration

09:20 - 09:30 Official Opening 
Galya Prokopieva, CEO, Economedia
Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor, Sofia Municipality 
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Karl-Heinz Paqué​, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
Plamen Toshev, Executive Director, Acronis Bulgaria

09:30 - 09:45 Keynote Presentation
Redesigning City Governance
Marco Steinberg, Author, Strategic Design Consultant, Founder of Snowcone & Haystack Helsinki

09:45 - 11:00 First Discussion Panel 
Defining Future Cities: Smart, Sustainable, Resilient. Learning from experience and early adopters’ mistakes 
moderator: Elitsa Panayotova, Coordinator, Sofia Green 

Dominic Weiss, Head of the Smart City Agency of Urban Innovation Vienna  
Frans-Anton Vermast, Smart City Ambassador, Amsterdam Smart City 
Toomas Sepp, Head of Tallinn City Office
Seppo Haataja, Director of Smart City Tampere
Michal Kraus, Head, Prague Smart City Department
Oliver Juli, Head оf Program Office, Aspern Smart City Research

11:00 - 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 - 12:00 Fireside Chat 
E-scooters and the Changing Urban Mobility Landscapes
Jakub Olek, Government Relations Director, Central & Eastern Europe, Lime
Erik Bergqvist​, Market Development and Partnerships, VOI 
Interviewer: Ivan Velkov, Vice Chairman, Sofia Municipality Council

12:00 - 13:00 Second Discussion Panel 
Recent Trends in Urban Mobility 
Moderator: Nikola Gazdov, Managing Partner, Renergy

Philippe Vangeel, Secretary General, AVERE 
Ben Hill, CEO, B3 New Energy
Stephane Renie, Head of CSR, ALD Automotive
Bjorn Utgard, Director New Markets, EVBox 
Stefan Spasov, CEO, SPARK, Eldrive
Kaloyan Karamitov, Coordinator Urban Planning and Transport, Vision for Sofia

13:00 - 13:45 Lunch 

13:45 - 14:00 Keynote Presentation 
Toni Richard Crisolli, Programme Coordinator, Smart Cities Education Initiative, FNF

14:00 - 14:30 Fireside Chat 
Urban Innovation - Financial and Regulatory Perspective
Iva Petkova, Dr. Kiril Velichkov, Sustainable Cities Fund 
Richard Clegg, Partner, Wolf Theiss Bulgaria

14:30 - 15:50 Fireside Chat
“Connected” Architecture and Intelligent Buildings
Interviewer: Zdravko Donkov, Managing Partner, Smartity

Ionut Farcas, Commercial Transformation VP, Europe and South America, Schneider Electric
Irena Mladenova, CEO, Resalta
Nikolay Dimitrov, Business Development Manager, Selectium

15:00 - 15:10 Keynote Presentation
Dr. Piers Clark, Founder, Isle Group

15:10- 16:10 Third Discussion Panel 
Smart Utilities: Incremental Changes or a Sector-wide Disruption
Session brought by A1
Moderator: Radoslav Rusev, Hydrolia 

Dr. Piers Clark, Founder, Isle Group
Vasil Takev, ABB Bulgaria 
Peter Gaspar, A1 Telekom Austria Group
Mihail-Ernesto Mihailov, Business Development, Theoremus 
Dimitar Ivanov, Qubiqo 


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