• “Bulgaria is a great place for start-ups because of our environment and eco-system”

    Interview with Radoslav Nikolov, Managing Director of SAP Labs Bulgaria, SAP’ software development center in Sofia . SAP will host the innovative 4-day training program for social entrepreneurs, STARTERY CEE.

    Bulgaria has a lot going on in the „start-up world“ in the last couple of years, right?

    Yes, our country has the right environment for entrepreneurship as well as for social startup companies. In the last few years the Bulgarian start-up ecosystem evolved and nowadays we see more and more young entrepreneurs. Young people started to believe that having an own business is not so scary but they also know that it is far away from being an easy activity – it requires a lot of dedication. Entrepreneurs are discovering the different opportunities for funding their ideas. We have a lot of talented people here in our country and we are sitting on one of the first places for having funds for startup companies within the region. The combination of these factors means very bright future for the start-up world in our country. I believe the start-up ecosystem in the whole CEE is going in a positive direction.

    What are the factors that have led to this positive development in Bulgaria?

    We have pre-accelerators like Start It Smart, investment funds like NEVEQ, LAUNCHub and Eleven, a lot of events and co-working places, different programs helping start-ups. We also have success stories and since last year we have the real example what a start-up company can achieve. Telerik, a software company that was founded 12 years ago from scratch, was sold for near 263 million USD. A couple of weeks ago a Bulgarian start-up “Melissa climate” won 500 000 EUR funding. The founder of the company was only 19 years old, when he started producing a device for energy efficient air conditioners management via a mobile app.

    Bulgaria is starting to attract the attention of the whole region with our innovative ideas, interesting start-up companies and knowledge. Start-ups now have tools and opportunities to finance their ideas. Having investment funds in Bulgaria is really helping the entrepreneurs and the ecosystem had a significant growth and progress in the last couple of years. The investment funds here are doing a lot to help the eco-system development by educating the young entrepreneurs how to present their projects in front of future investors, how to prepare their pitch, etc.

    How is SAP engaged with the start-up world?

    SAP has a global program to help promising start-ups in the Big Data, predictive and real-time analytics space develop new applications on SAP HANA and accelerate market traction. We help entrepreneurs with our technology, resources and large community. In fact, in SAP Labs Bulgaria we have a key role in the definition and development of the Cloud platform that these start-ups use - SAP HANA Cloud Platform. SAP also supports a lot of events and initiatives that help young entrepreneurs to develop their ideas, like STARTERY CEE – a program organized together with Ashoka and Social Impact.

    SAP will host the STARTERY CEE event in Sofia. Tell us more.

    It is an innovative 4-day training program for social entrepreneurs where they could be able to get familiar with the new methods of Design Thinking and the Business Model Generation. Our well experienced in Design thinking colleagues will help them with sharing their knowledge and expertise. The participants in the summit will have the opportunity to join a final pitch where three winners will be invited to a 2-week stay at the Social Impact Lab in Berlin. I am really happy that we will be the host of such an event, as the entrepreneurship spirit is something we have here in Bulgaria, as well as in our company. We strive for innovation and I believe this innovative spirit and environment can help the social entrepreneurs to develop their ideas during the summit.


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