The Sofia Tech Park team joined Startup Europe Week Sofia 2018. Part of the events under the Pan-European Entrepreneurship Initiative took place in the Business Incubator of the Science and Technology Park at the Microsoft Innovation Center on March 6 and 7.
Sofia has been participating in the initiative for the third consecutive year. The forum was attended by representatives of ministries and government agencies, investors, representatives of successful start-ups. The event is traditionally supported by the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria and was opened by its head, Mr. Ognian Zlatev. Mr. Igor Tassic, CEO of Startup Europe Week, congratulated Bulgarian participants on a conference video connection. He stressed the importance of unity in building the European entrepreneurial ecosystem and giving a real European perspective to the local event.
Sofia Tech Park team presented to young business the opportunities provided by the infrastructure as well as the forthcoming development of the science and technology park. “We are also a kind of start-up, because the park has been functioning for about 2 years and is in the stage of development of the functionality and animation of the individual units,” said Todor Mladenov, head of the project “Projects and Analyzes” in Sofia Tech Park.
He stressed that the park is a complex organism that is currently being loaded step by step to achieve maximum efficiency. Mladenov believes that the development of the innovative ecosystem can be achieved through business-focused research and development projects as well as serious investments to develop expertise not only in the science and technology park but also in universities. “Infrastructure has been created. There are funding funds, but this will not be enough without encouraging state policies for the development of the environment, including start-ups, “Mladenov said. He emphasized the importance of business activity to science, which will help improve the functionality of their innovative products and services. A problem for the development of the ecosystem is also the lack of a single information platform for business, information on research and development infrastructure, consultations, funding opportunities (both EU instruments and private funds), linking incubators and innovation hubs in Europe and etc.
The Startup Europe Week Sofia 2018 program included discussions on various thematic panels. Juliet Hubenova, project and business consultant, stressed the importance of finding a suitable market for the new product or service. Societe General Expert on Alternative Forms of Investing, Mikhail Komitski, said that time and resources should be invested to reach a prototype before bank financing. Lawyer Biljana Dimitrova warned the audience to be very vigilant in the selection of business partners and the conclusion of shareholder agreements. Investors, educational programs and organizations supporting entrepreneurship – Endeavor, Eleven, Bulgarian Venture Capital Association, Founder Institute, Start It Smart, EDIT.BG – presented the opportunities offered to beginners and advanced entrepreneurs. The good examples of successful entrepreneurs in the program this year were Bulgarian companies with international presence such as Roobar and ShopUp and Bulgarian solutions for social challenges such as FoodChain, GreenBuz, SmartFabLab, Listen to yourself – the first language gesture service in Bulgaria.