Meet Open Sofia’s founders Giuseppe Di Benedetto, Anastasiia Dehtiarova and Manuel Gajo

How it all started and what we have in mind for the Bulgarian international community

Written by Giuseppe Di Benedetto and Anastasiia Dehtiarova, edited by Lindsay Martin.


The idea of a platform for the international citizens of Bulgaria starts with the Facebook group “Foreigners in Sofia & Friends.” Established in 2015 as a self-help forum, the group grew organically over the years. After many events and gatherings, it has now become the largest international community in Bulgaria, connecting more than 32,000 people from around the world. 

For Giuseppe, Manuel, and Anastasiia, Open Bulgaria doesn’t just bring practical value to the internationals in this country. It gives the community a sense of belonging and helps them feel at home in a new country, providing reliable information, support, networking opportunities, cultural and recreational initiatives.

Since the lucky pitch event where the founders met and started working together, the Open Bulgaria team has grown and set ambitious goals for the project. Contributors from all over the globe joined to design and deliver www.openbulgaria.org, crafting helpful content, developing new institutional and corporative partnerships, and opening new paths of collaboration with public partners and other NGOs.

Our skilled multicultural team has built Open Bulgaria using a lean startup approach. It's been a challenging and beautiful journey, especially during these difficult times. Our next steps are now the growth of the partnerships network, and the release of a full version of the platform, with more news and services for the community. 

Open Bulgaria wants to connect and inspire the international family. Like a beautiful tree, we are ready to grow and bear countless fruits of collaboration, support, innovation, and social impact.


Watch the video to learn more about Open Bulgaria from the founders themselves.