The Bulgarian office of Endeavor has selected entrepreneurs from 10 Bulgarian companies with great growth potential to participate int the pilot edition of its new growth program, Dare to Scale – the first program of this type in Bulgaria aimed at companies which have passed the phase of early growth and are starting to scale up. The pilot project is being implemented jointly with Postbank and with the support of one of the Bulgaria’s biggest software companies, ScaleFocus, and the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA).
The selection of entrepreneurs from the 10 companies has been carried out by Endeavor’s mentors and the experienced managers and experts from Postbank, ScaleFocus and BSMEPA. Entrepreneurs from 35 promising companies were interested in joining the program. All of them met the preliminary conditions – to have own proven product or a service on the market, to have reached a turnover of at least BGN 200,000 in 2018 and, most importantly, their business must have potential for global growth, regardless of the sector it operates in or their location. In-depth interviews were held with the founders of the 24 applicant companies in the second round of the selection. The topics discussed included their growth strategies, business model and leadership potential. Endeavor and its partners selected entrepreneurs from 10 companies, a limit which was announced when the program was launched, to participate in the project. The IT sector is represented by the largest number of companies (five), followed by the retail sector (2), food production (2) and services (1). Nine of the approved companies are based in Sofia and one – in Plovdiv. The percentage of women among the selected entrepreneurs is high – 40%.
Dare to Scale is a four-month program and will take place from September to December 2019. During this period, the entrepreneurs from the 10 companies participating in the program will undergo specialized trainings and interactive sessions, led by successful entrepreneurs and leaders from Endeavor’s network. The training is focused on the core areas which are essential for each successful company such as organizational management, marketing, sales, financial planning and capital raising. The program will be carried out in Sofia.
Momchil Vassilev, executive director of Endeavor Bulgaria:
“The Dare to Scale program has set an ambitious goal to support entrepreneurs in one of the most challenging phases of the development of their business – that of early growth.
Relying on the resources Endeavor combines and the support of our partners in the program, we hope to fill the gap in the dynamically growing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria and help these really interesting companies build solid foundations for their future success. The jury had a tough task to select just 10 of them but I hope to meet some of the rest again next year. We are particularly glad that women account for 40% of the selected entrepreneurs, which is what once again distinguishes our country and illustrates the potential we have as a community.”
Petia Dimitrova, CEO of Postbank:
“We are glad we are implementing this unique project together and will provide an opportunity to 10 Bulgarian companies from different sectors to scale up and expand their business. We hope the companies we are supporting today will help other companies to grow successfully tomorrow.
It is a matter of business ideas of people with lots of enthusiasm and knowledge to realize them. We will be their mentor and trusted financial partner, we will offer them our know-how and expertise in order for them to achieve the success they deserve. I believe this socially responsible project will have positive effects on Bulgaria’s economy and competitiveness.”
Viktor Bilyanski, co-founder and CTO of ScaleFocus:
“We were pleasantly surprised at the enthusiasm and the level of all applicants in the program. The choice was tough because all of them have serious growth potential. We’re looking forward to the start of the main stage of the program, which is focused on the active training of the selected participants.”
Boyko Takov, executive director of BSMEPA:
“Participating in the selection of entrepreneurs for the program, I reinforced my indirect impressions formed in my work as an executive director of BSMEPA. There are companies in Bulgaria with world-class potential and ideas, and the only thing they need to scale up is someone who will help them by sharing their experience. The variety of fields the selected companies operate in shows that the Bulgarian business ecosystem has penetrated all economic sectors.”
Who are the selected companies
- Dev.bg – Bulgaria’s biggest IT network which organizes 180 events a year. Having created a large community and a strong brand, the company facilitates the recruitment of experts via the Hire Heroes platform.
- BG Service – An IT company with two main business strands – software development for other companies and supply of software services via a monthly subscription.
- Prospecto –The company behind Broshura.bg. Visiting the website, consumers can keep abreast with the latest offers and plan their shopping without having to use paper leaflets.
- Frudada –High-quality and healthy fruit and vegetable beverages and ice-cream.
- Gaida – Software solution for real estate agencies, enabling them to service their clients faster and more efficiently.
- FUNKT – Architecture studio, whose services are focused on offices and restaurants. The company also has own furniture line.
- More Noir – A state-of-the-art swimwear brand operating in the mid-high market segment.
- DNH Soft – A software development company focused on online trade and cloud services.
- Escreo – A company making paint which turns every wall into a writing board.
- Cheese the Queen – The company makes healthy plant-based foods as an alternative to dairy products. Its first product is ripened “cheese” of cashew with probiotics.
Endeavor selects and supports entrepreneurs with big ideas and businesses with potential to grow fast on a global scale. The organization has offices on 34 markets and the Bulgarian office is just the third one in Europe. The entrepreneurs, part of Endeavor, are those who could be a key factor of long-term economic growth, job opening and the creation of innovations. They have the potential to change their countries and the world. Endeavor provides the selected entrepreneurs with access to the markets, capital and talent of its network of over 4,000 world-class mentors and investors. The entrepreneurs part of Endeavor’s network opened over 1.5 million jobs and generated over USD 1.5 billion revenues in 2018 alone. Endeavor focuses on companies, which are already successful in their business but need more expertise, contacts, capital and resources to make the next step in their expansion.
About Endeavor Bulgaria
Endeavor Bulgaria was launched in July 2015 with the goal to expand the presence of the organization in Europe. Bulgaria is just the third European country where Endeavor opened an office after Greece and Spain. The organization is backed by a board of directors consisting of 13 successful entrepreneurs and business leaders who believe in Endeavor’s mission to strengthen the local entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing Bulgarian entrepreneurs with access to Endeavor’s global network of markets, capital and programs, staff and training. So far, 26 entrepreneurs from 16 companies have successfully passed the selection process and have joined the network. Out of them, the office currently is actively supporting 13 entrepreneurs from nine companies, who opened over 500 jobs and generated revenues of over BGN 75 million in 2018.