Starting today, 12 April 2021, Dare to Scale program is open for application – a four-month growth program designed for entrepreneurs and businesses which have already passed their early stage of development and are planning to expand. The program is organized by the Bulgarian office of Endeavor – the global network of entrepreneurs – with Postbank as its main partner and the support of Software Group and the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA). The Dare to Scale 2019 and 2020 editions won the Best Accelerator or Incubator Programme award at the at the Central European Startup Awards (CESA) in Bulgaria.
Dare to Scale is open to entrepreneurs from all economic sectors, regardless of the Bulgarian region they are based in. To be eligible, they need to have already launched a successful product or service on the market, to have generated a turnover of at least BGN 200,000.00 in 2020, to have a staff of no more than 150 employees and, most importantly, their business needs to have a potential for global growth. The programme is open to both well-established companies that have been operating for years, and businesses that have been recently launched. Applications must be submitted here by 30 April 2021. Candidate companies will be subjected to a selection process where mentors and business leaders from Endeavor’s network will shortlist the candidates.
Dare to Scale is a four-month program from September 2021 to December 2021. As with the previous edition, the organizers intend this year’s program to be a hybrid initiative of real-life events in Sofia and online events, whenever necessary. The companies’ founders will have the chance to take part in specialized trainings in four major areas: Marketing, Sales, Business Planning and Capital Raising. Each company will be assigned a personal mentor from Endeavor’s network who will meet regularly with the founders and will support them by offering expertise. Participants will be able to attend real-life and online events where they may exchange experience and meet the main players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The program will close with the Demo Day final event where participants will present their businesses before a panel of well-established business leaders. More details on the program are available here.
Twelve companies joined in the last year’s edition of Dare to Scale. They went through trainings; mentor sessions led by entrepreneurs and experts such as the founders of Telerik Vasil Terziev and Svetozar Georgiev, the founder of Telelink Lyubomir Minchev, the website manager of Uber Alexander Popov. On 2020 Demo Day, the company RPA was awarded for its participation with a EUR 200,000.00 investment by the partner organization F27. As a follow-up to its participation in Dare to Scale, the company Out2Bound onboarded a new client with which they are launching a large-scale project and has established key contacts in Romania concerning the upcoming establishment of their office in the neighbouring country. Since the launch of the programme in 2019, companies have received more than 150 hours of mentoring.
Momchil Vassilev, Executive Director of Endeavor Bulgaria:
“What makes Dare to Scale unique is the very clear focus the program places on practical challenges that companies face in the early stage of their growth. The program links these challenges to the background and expertise of Endeavor’s mentors who have already walked a similar path and are able to help by offering practical tips. Over the years, Dare to Scale established itself as an important element of the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the country, whereby with our previous edition we supported companies that have generated sales of BGN 72 million. While participating in the program, they managed to raise additional investments, enter new markets and develop new strands of their business.”
Petia Dimitrova, Chief Executive Officer of Postbank:
“With two exceptionally successful years, the Dare to Scale programme has come to be seen as a sustainable development model that infallibly recognizes and encourages those projects that create real value for the entrepreneurial environment in the country. It is essential for us to be a part of this process, to support the ambitions of companies that strive for scale in their business, thus altering the entire ecosystem. I am convinced that this is the mind-set that drives us ahead. Ours is a time of ample challenges but it is them that will measure our stability and our skill to learn and grow. For a third year in a row we at Postbank will share with entrepreneurs our high expertise and experience in order to support them in the most essential stage of their business development and to become a part of their growth. We will focus on the potential of successful partnerships that allow us to make innovations and enhance the opportunities within the ecosystem. We see this as an investment in the future and a chance to be a part of the change that drives us ahead.”
Kalin Radev, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Software Group
“I am glad that Software Group is a partner of Dare to Scale for a second year in a row. In the last year’s edition, we had the pleasure of meeting entrepreneurs from various business sectors and of supporting their ambitions and dreams of success and growth, and of witnessing the impressive results the accelerator program has helped them achieve. I expect that the interest and attendance will be even greater this year and I wish good luck to all participants!”
Boyko Takov, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency:
“It is my great pleasure that BSMEPA once again participates in one of the most successful entrepreneurship programs in the country that has yet again proven that there are great companies operating in Bulgaria and with the appropriate guidance and mentorship they are capable of developing their business in line with the highest international standards and be successful on foreign markets. I encourage businesses to apply for the third edition of Dare to Scale because they will gain the knowledge of true value that they need to expand their business, on the one hand, and to go through the complicated economic situation of the last year with the support of experts, representatives of the most developed sectors of economy.”
Endeavor is an international non-governmental organization with offices in over 40 markets that helps entrepreneurs with big ideas and a business grow quickly internationally. Endeavor’s entrepreneurs have the potential to change their countries and the world – they may be a key factor for long-term economic growth, opening of jobs and innovations. Endeavor provides the selected entrepreneurs with access to markets, capital and talents in a network of over 4,000 mentors and investors on a global level. Endeavor Bulgaria launched its activities in July 2015 in order to expand the organization’s presence in Europe. To date, the Bulgarian office has supported over 70 entrepreneurs from over 40 companies that have opened over 1,700 jobs and have generated revenue of BGN 320 million in 2020. www.endeavor.bg.