“Nearly every problem has been solved by someone, somewhere. The challenge of our 21st century is to find out what works and to scale it up”.
The first training in Bulgaria for replication of social ideas, the Replication Challenge, took place in the picturesque village of Justina, near Plovdiv, from October 6 to 8, 2023.
See full information about the event here➤ A 3-day event for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their impact startups while learning from the best models of social enterprises.
18 young entrepreneurs from Ruse, Sofia, Blagoevgrad and Teteven participated in the event. They got to know more than 40 working ideas with a cause from other places in the world and chose from them their project to develop at the local level.
The participants split into 5 teams and worked on ideas for social enterprises in the areas such as: circular economy; waste recycling and organic farming; solidarity between generations; helping children in homes; mental health.
The goal of the initiative was to give young changemakers the opportunity to connect with entrepreneurs who are already changing the world and replicate their social projects at the local level.
The Replication Challenge event was held on the model of the French organization Snowball effect, whose mission is to multiply proven working businesses with a positive effect on society and the environment around the world.
Impactful solutions already exist. Let’s not reinvent the wheel!
Snowball effect trainersYoon-Joo JEE-DUCHATELET and Greta ROSSI, together with mentor Emiliyan Enev from Startup Factory, helped the participants to do market research and assess the possibilities of replicating the idea, shape tit after that and present it to the jury .
The jury consisted of:
1. Ms. Sasha Bezuhanova (investor, founder of MOVE.BG and the Bulgarian Center for Women in Technology)
2. Mrs. Simona Stilyanova (Osnova, Zero Waste Sofia, BlackPeak Capital, European Union ambassador in the field of climate)
3. Mr. Jan Bidan (TELUS, Maple Bear Schools).
The participants gave their best and within just 48 hours 5 promising business projects with a cause were born:
The RENT CYCLE team, Nia Viktorova, Viktoria Taneva, Emil Khairumyan, Kiril Kambitov and Nikita Kutsyy, received 1st prize for their object library project. The prize is mentoring and support from French Tech Sofia, WWF Bulgaria and Ingotify. Presentation of the project.
Team SO CAFE – Social Sister Society, Violina Docheva, Daniela Dimitrova, Kristina Ronkova, Anna Bilous, received the 2nd prize for their intergenerational solidarity project. The mentoring and support award is provided by CCI France Bulgarie and Open Coworking. Presentation of the project.
Team BEAN TO GREEN, Desislava Simeonova, Rosen Simeonov, Erin Sabrieva, Raya Markova, received the 3rd prize for their waste recycling and ecological farming project. The team receives mentorship and support from Startup Factory. Presentation of the project.
The CARE TO CREATE team, Yoana Shopova, Simeon Antov and Vera Altnova-Yaneva, also presented a great idea for a Community Center for children from homes to develop artistic skills. Presentation of project CARE TO CREATE.
The LOVE MENTAL YOU team, Yoanna Stoyanova and Lyubov Krasteva, also worked very hard on an idea to raise awareness of mental health in schools. Presentation of the project LOVE MENTAL YOU.
The award ceremony was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. The event was attended by the Ambassador of France to Bulgaria, Joel Mayer, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Maria Gabriel.
In her address to the young entrepreneurs, Maria Gabriel wished all participants:
I encourage you to always maintain your passion and motivation to bring positive social change and provide solutions to today’s challenges. Be bold, think outside the box and remember that all ideas have the potential to become successful projects.
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The event was financed by a project of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of France, and the organizers are: Association Startup Factory Rousse, the Embassy of France in Bulgaria and the French organization Snowball Effect.
Partners of the initiative are the “America for Bulgaria” Foundation, Sodexo Bulgaria (Pluxee), the French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, La French Tech Sofia, Ingotify, Open Coworking spaces, WWF Bulgaria, “Zoya” stores and the Specialized Institute of Francophonie in Administration and Management (ESFAM).
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Startup Factory is a non-profit organization founded in March 2015 by a group of young entrepreneurs working in the IT sector. What unites everyone is our willingness to support people who want to develop their digital skills and start their own business. Startup Factory offers video lessons for on-demand learning, organizes special events on trendy topics in the digital world, trainings in boutique groups and attracts lecturers with years of practical state-of-the-art experience. Check out our platform with video courses and useful resourses.