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Innovation Academy 2021: fostering student startup culture to create Bulgaria’s future entrepreneurs

The team of Flower in a Test Tube from Sofia University’s Biology Department won second place in Innovation Academy 2020. image: ©Innovation Starter

Early student entrepreneurs from over 15 universities are applying in this year’s competition for start-up business ideas Innovation Academy: Bulgaria Innovation Hackathon. The event’s final is set to take place on June 4-5th and will be aired live online. Startup enthusiasts can apply by mid-May.

Entrepreneurship skills bring value to startup ecosystem

“Innovation Academy 2021 is opening the doors to successful early-stage business, useful contacts, funding opportunities, and skills for success. Entrepreneurship and proactivity skills are key in every aspect of life –from significant causes and private projects to launching and growing a successful business. Whatever career path students may choose, these transfer knowledge and skills will help them succeed and will bring value to our ecosystem,” said Venetsia Netzova-Angova, Investment Manager at event organizer Innovation Starter.

Speaking to Trending Topics SEE, she said that the competition evaluates candidates based on their ideas and their potential to resolve real-life challenges. They will be looking for projects with clearly defined target audiences, well-developed action plans, and strong innovative components.

So far, the Innovation Academy has trained over 4,000 students in more than 370 teams. Over 15% of their entrepreneurial ideas, including CheatBurger, EduBots, ParkNShare, and StudyHub, to name a few, have been successfully launched and are in their actual implementation phase.

Innovation Academy marks EduBot’s road

Dimitar Serafimov from EduBots image: ©EduBots

“Innovation Academy 2020 gave us the foundation that we missed in the form of marketing, finances, and goal-setting. After completing the Academy, we were invited to join their Accelerator Program, which led us to our first financing round,” Dimitar Serafimov from student company EduBots told Trending Topics SEE. EduBots is building training kits for kids to learn robotics and won the third prize in last year’s hackaton.

Serafimov is confident that projects such as the Innovation Academy give students a chance to get a taste of real entrepreneurship and varies fields of business. “The opportunity to talk to experts and, more importantly, get their feedback about your work, was extremely useful,” he added.

+++EduBots: The Teenage Entrepreneurs Working On Making It Easier For Kids To Learn Robotics+++

The winning team in this year’s Innovation Academy: Bulgaria Innovation Hackathon will receive financing from the European Investment Bank and a chance to visit the European institutions in Brussels with the institutional support of the European Commission in Bulgaria.

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