The Fund of Funds and the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski have launched the second edition of the national competition for Best Youth Startup in Bulgaria. The application window is open for young people aged between 18 and 29. The competition gives individual participants or teams the opportunity to develop their projects, showcase their entrepreneurial skills and gain valuable experience during a 6-week mentoring programme before the final pitch of their ideas to investors. Applicants can register their interest by 17 April 2023 using an online form on the initiative's website.
Individual participants or teams from across the country can submit their applications. Students from all Bulgarian universities and all specialty areas, as well as upper school students - 11th and 12th graders - can apply. Proposals from all fields and sectors and at various stages of realisation are eligible, from an idea, through a prototype to a product already placed on the market. Submissions will be divided into categories (conceptual, early or advanced stage, and by age group) to schedule the training phase so that it most adequately covers the needs of the participants and maximizes the progress of the projects relative to the stage of project development at which they enter the competition.
Successful applicants will have the opportunity to develop their ideas through mentoring, training and meetings with founders of successful startups, and the top ten teams will pitch to a panel of expert judges and investors at the finals on 7 June 2023. Participants will be able to benefit from an equity investment, join accelerator programmes and incubators, internships at partner organisations, mentoring hours with successful company founders, the opportunity to participate in Bulgarian and international competitions, cash and incentive prizes from partners.
This is the second edition of the national competition held by the Fund of Funds and the Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. The partners of the 2023 competition include more than 20 entities from the startup and investment environment in Bulgaria, including business associations, investment funds, financial institutions, NGOs supporting science and entrepreneurship, international platforms for angel investments, acceleration and startups, media outlets.
The national competition Best Youth Startup in Bulgaria was held for the first time in the summer of 2022, with 36 startups participating. This year, the organisers would like to scale up the initiative and establish it as the most significant and popular national youth competition, a springboard for young entrepreneurs to make their ideas for their own businesses come true. The project aims to encourage the implementation of innovative ideas in Bulgaria and to increase the entrepreneurial culture of young people, including idea generation and development, business planning, marketing, presenting to investors, etc.
Partners of the Best Youth Startup in Bulgaria 2023 include the Bulgarian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA), fund managers for private equity and quasi-private equity investments of the Fund of Funds: Innovation Capital, Vitosha Venture Partners, NV3, Morningside Hill Capital Management, Silverline Capital, the Bulgarian division of the global entrepreneurial network Endeavor, the Bulgarian Association of Robotics and Automation (PARA), the largest Bulgarian angel network CEO Angels Club, the Bulgarian Stock Exchange (BSE), the platform for investment in startups SeedBlink, the Bulgarian unit of one of the largest pre-accelerators in the world Founder Institute, the Investment Council of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), the Ministry of Innovation and Growth (MIG), the Association of Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE), TeenNovator, Junior Achievement Bulgaria, the Executive Agency for the Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (BSMEPA), United Bulgarian Bank (UBB), SIS Credit, the Association of Young Scientists, the School of Economics of the Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski, etc.
Further information and a link for submissions are available at the competition’s website.
You can read about the participants and the winners in the first edition here.