21 entrepreneurs from different sectors – IT and software, food industry, real estate, media, as well as a non-profit organization, are selected to participate in the programme
16 June 2022
For the fourth consecutive year, Endeavor network of entrepreneurs has launched the Dare to Scale growth programme, selecting 12 companies from different sectors to participate in the new round of the programme. The programme is implemented with Postbank as the main partner, the support of Software Group, the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion Agency (BSMEPA) and SeedBlink as a capital partner. Media partners of Dare to Scale 2022 are Forbes Bulgaria, The Recursive and Bloomberg TV Bulgaria.
All selected companies meet the pre-set criteria – having an established product or service on the market, a turnover of at least BGN 200,000 in 2021 and up to 150 employees. The entrepreneurs were selected by mentors, the Board of Endeavor and managers of Postbank, Software Group and BSMEPA. The main questions during the interviews were related to the companies' growth strategy, business model and leadership potential. The 12 companies are represented by 21 entrepreneurs – founders of businesses from various industries such as IT and software, food industry, real estate and media. This year, for the first time, there is an open slot for a company that operates for the benefit of society/NGO. It includes the Bulgarian Startup Association – BESCO.
The programme will take place in Sofia and will last four months – from September to December 2022. Each company will have an individual mentor from the Endeavor network, who will hold regular meetings with its founders and will support them with its expertise. Entrepreneurs will undergo specialized training in four main areas: organization management, marketing, sales, business planning and capital raising. The participants can join networking events, during which they will meet and exchange experiences with key representatives of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The programme will end with the final Demo Day event, during which the participants will present their companies to a jury of established business leaders.
This year, the programme is upgraded by attracting a capital partner, which will provide additional access to funding to the participants. The final stage involves the signing of Endeavor's partnership with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), with whose financial support consulting company PwC will provide experts to support entrepreneurs. Partners and directors from PwC's offices in Bulgaria and Serbia will work individually with all participants in the programme to help them with their experience and expertise in overcoming challenges and developing opportunities in their business.
Momchil Vassilev, Executive Director of Endeavor Bulgaria:
"In its fourth edition, Dare to Scale welcomes a remarkable group of entrepreneurs on the path to success. This year, there is a record-high number of applicant companies that meet the criteria for participation. The selection of participants in the programme also reflects our belief that a strong ecosystem also needs entrepreneurs working to improve the environment in which the "new economy" is developing. The candidates who have passed the careful selection reflect the colourful diversity of our entrepreneurial ecosystem and its growing maturity. This motivates the Endeavor team to continue to develop the programme so that it creates even more value for its participants. This year, the Seedblink investment platform will be our official main partner. This will give additional opportunities to entrepreneurs to accelerate their development with easier access to capital. We are in the final stages of launching our strategic partnership with the EBRD, with whose financial support PwC will consult the participants on the organizational growth of their companies. We believe that with this, Dare to Scale will continue to be the preferred growth platform of future business leaders."
Petia Dimitrova, Chief Executive Officer of Postbank:
"As a leader in the banking market, Postbank has always been inspired by innovative thinking, bold spirit and ideas that change the future. This is what we believe distinguishes the entrepreneurial ecosystem in which we invest together with Endeavor and the Dare to Scale growth programme. For the fourth year in a row, we have the pleasure and privilege to be part of this highly important project, which sets a new scale for young and ambitious companies, but also creates conditions for growth in the entire business environment in which we are all connected. We believe that no meeting is accidental and every challenge is an opportunity. We participate in the programme with confidence that we will be able to pass on all the valuable lessons we have learned and inspire future entrepreneurs to develop their full potential and desire to succeed."
Kalin Radev, founder and CEO of Software Group:
"I am glad that Software Group has been supporting the best accelerator programme in Bulgaria, Dare to Scale, for the fourth year in a row. I am very pleased with the record-high increase in the number of applicant companies that meet the selection criteria. This proves that together we are creating a stronger entrepreneurial environment in our country. I would like to congratulate the newly accepted companies and wish them an exciting and fruitful experience of growth!"
Boyko Takov, Executive Director of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion Agency:
"Each edition of the Dare to Scale programme not only supports Bulgarian companies, but also creates an environment for contacts and possible collaborations between the participants, which is very valuable. We are glad to continue our partnership with our colleagues in the programme so that business representatives can truly gain added value from proven entrepreneurs, which will help their successful development forward. The very fact that this programme has been attracting wide interest for four years now speaks volumes about its quality. I wish success to the new group of companies that are embarking on this adventure!"
Brief presentation of the selected companies in Dare to Scale 2022:
Appolica – a software company developing mobile applications and offering a full range of services for creating mobile products and customized solutions for companies at an early stage of development.
AvtoIkonom (by CarCentral) – a platform combining digital customer service in the automotive, insurance and leasing industries. It offers the first digital business model, "Car as a service".
BESCO - Bulgarian Startup Association – a non-governmental organization that connects startups, private and institutional investors, government and other stakeholders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
C4 Nexus – an e-commerce company that works with global brands to develop and maintain some of the most sophisticated solutions based on the Salesforce platform.
Flat Manager – real estate short-term management company through innovative monitoring software, allowing owners to earn more easily from their properties in Bulgaria and Romania.
GridBit (ADD Bulgaria) – the company provides reliable monitoring and automation solutions that help energy and industry companies better manage their assets and processes.
Healthy Bars – maker of protein bars with its own laboratory and fully automated production base. The company is export-oriented, and its products are sold in more than 39 countries around the world.
Pollenity – a technology that supports the monitoring of several types of parameters related to bees, which makes it easier for beekeepers to protect bee colonies. It also offers a platform that connects Bulgarian honey producers with end-users.
Sofia Electric Brewing – A microbrewery focused on the production of high-quality original beer and its distribution in Bulgaria and Europe.
Swipe BG – the first Bulgarian platform for easy purchase and sale of second-hand mobile phones, which have been checked by an authorized service and have an added warranty of two years. The company also develops technological and financial solutions for external programmes for the repurchase of smartphones from retailers and telecoms.
The Recursive – an independent media platform for news coverage in Southeast Europe. It focuses on innovation, entrepreneurship and trends in regional ecosystems that provide international visibility.
VEVS – a platform for creating websites with integrated software solutions for various industries related to business management and online sales.
Endeavor is an international non-governmental organization with offices in 40 locations that helps entrepreneurs with big ideas and businesses grow rapidly at a global level. Endeavor entrepreneurs have the potential to change their countries and the world – they can be a key factor in long-term economic growth, job creation and innovation. Endeavor provides selected entrepreneurs with access to markets, capital and talent in its network of over 4,000 mentors and investors worldwide. In Bulgaria, Endeavor started its operations in July 2015 in order to expand the organization's presence in Europe. Currently, the Bulgarian office has supported 100+ entrepreneurs from 50+ companies in three programs – Endeavor Global Programme, Regional Support Programme and Dare to Scale. These entrepreneurs have opened over 2,300 jobs and generated revenue of BGN 320 million last year.www.endeavor.bg