Summer Entrepreneurship Program (SEP)

Program Description

The Summer Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) provides a short-term, non-degree, experiential learning opportunity for 20 Bulgarian students from all accredited universities in Bulgaria.

During five weeks of intensive entrepreneurship training, participants learn the business fundamentals necessary to succeed at any entrepreneurial venture. Classes are taught at leading U.S. business schools, such as Babson College, by renowned faculty and successful U.S. entrepreneurs, and executives. The curriculum consists of both core business classes and functional skills.

Topics covered during SEP Include:

Functional Skills Business Skills
-Communication -Business Model Canvass
-Design Thinking -Market Research & Experimentation 
-Leadership -Feasibility Analysis
-Negotiations -New Venture Strategy
-Effective Teamwork -Entrepreneurial Finance
-Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback -Professional Selling
-Networking -Business Presentation
-Go to Market Strategy

Projects

Business concepts learned in the classroom are reinforced through practical application to the team venture projects. As part of SEP, participants work in teams (ideally five to six people per team) to develop a new venture.

Participants’ progress is gauged through daily individual and team assignments related to the venture projects. Participants learn how to successfully present (“pitch”) their ideas through almost daily presentation drills (“rocket pitches”). Midway through the program teams give a short presentation on their venture ideas to a small panel of faculty for feedback. At the culmination of the program, each team gives a fully developed presentation to a panel of investors and seasoned entrepreneurs. The goal of these presentations is to receive valuable feedback from the panel about the viability of the venture idea business plan.

Eligibility:

  • Applicants must be Bulgarian citizens who currently reside and study in Bulgaria.
  • Applicants must be full-time regular students at an accredited university.
  • Applicants must be fluent in English.
  • Applicants must have completed at least two years of undergraduate study at an accredited university in Bulgaria before participating in SEP. Graduate students currently pursuing a master's degree are also eligible to apply.
  • Applicants must have a proven record of high academic achievement.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate leadership skills and an aptitude for entrepreneurship.
  • Applicants must demonstrate a strong interest in global citizenship while also demonstrating a strong interest in giving back to their country and community.

The SEP application process entails the completion and submission of the SEP Online Application and SEP Supporting Documents. The deadline for submission of your application is as follows:

SEP Application Deadline

  • Applications should be submitted no later than 11:59PM Bulgarian Time on February 1, 2015.
  • All supporting documents should be uploaded to the application website no later than 11:59PM Bulgarian Time on February 1, 2015.

1. SEP Online Application

To apply to the Summer Entrepreneurship Program, please visit the SEP Online Application platform. After you have registered (created your login username and password), you can begin your online application.

2. SEP Supporting Documentation

Here is a list of the required SEP Supporting Documents:

  • Two Letters of Recommendation: To send a recommendation request to your recommenders, please go to the online application's Main Menu and select the option "Add or Edit Recommendation Request". Upon completion of the required information, your recommenders will receive and automatic email from our system. The email will contain instructions and recommendation templates in Bulgarian and English. To ensure that the templates upload properly, we strongly advise that your recommenders use Firefox or Google Chrome browsers. Your recommenders must complete and upload their recommendations no later than 11:59PM Bulgarian Time on February 1, 2015.
  • Academic Transcripts: We strongly encourage you to request your official academic transcript (with stamp and signature from your university) as soon as possible. Your official transcripts should be mailed to:

Елена Руменова Хаджисотирова
Bulgarian Young Leaders Program
П.К. 280, П.С.София 13
1113 София 13

IMPORTANT: If you are currently a first year Master's degree student, please mail a copy of your undergraduate diploma along with "Уверение" from your university certifying that you are in your initial year of your Master's program.

  • Certification Form: Тo complete your SEP application, you need to print, sign, scan and upload the SEP Certification Form. The form can be downloaded from the SEP Online Application platform.

For more information, please contact the program administrator at bylp@iie.org.

Online Scholarship Software provided by WizeHive

Program Benefits

Selected applicants will participate in a five-week entrepreneurship training in the U.S., which will cover the following:

  • Travel to and from the U.S.
  • Travel inside the U.S.
  • Health insurance coverage for the duration of the program
  • Assistance with U.S. visa application
  • Tuition fees for all modules
  • Accommodations and meals

Participation in the highly useful and informative pre-departure orientation workshop in Sofia is mandatory.

Since 2010, SEP has graduated 5 classes. Most of SEP alumni have gone on to achieve great things assuming leadership positions in the business, government and NGO sector. Moreover, an increasing number of SEP alumni are realizing their entrepreneurship dreams by founding and running their own companies and NGOs. Here is a list of some of the SEP alumni start-ups:

 

 Dobromir Ivanov – SEP 2011  Founder and CEO of Stigni.bg 
 Evelin Velev – SEP 2011  Co-founder and Partner at Obecto; Co-founder of Useful at Night
 Elisar Bashir – SEP 2012  Co-founder of NGO Bleuprint
 Alexander Tsvetkov – SEP 2012  Co-founder and CEO of PhantomLogin
 Demir Tonchev – SEP 2010  Co-founder Print3D.bg
 Todor Gigilev – SEP 2012  Co-founder and Managing Partner of Dreamex,LTD
 Ivelina Hristova – SEP 2011  Founder of I-Hub
 Alexander Dimitrov – SEP 2011  Co-Founder of EnWake

 

Here is a list of online articles, videos and photos chronicling the SEP experience and its successes:

The Successful Entrepreneur (Sofia Echo)

Preparing Global Entrepreneurs (UNC Chapel Hill's Keenan Institute for Enterprise Newsletter)

Да сбъднеш американската си мечта ... в България

Наши студенти преминаха бизнес специализация в САЩ

SEP Gallery 

The 2010 SEP Experience

SEP First Impressions (Boryana Balkanska & Plamen Mitkov)

A Dream Come True (Velin Koychev)

Thoughts on Saatchi & Saatchi Presentation (Desislava Stoyanova)

 

During the summer of 2014, our participants shared their experiences in the below blog entries:

 

SEP 2014 Blog

Information about the ventures and venture teams

Recap of the group’s first week at Babson

Recap of the NYC Module

 

 

 

For more information, please contact the program administrator at bylp@iie.org.

Q: Can I apply if I am in my second year?

A: Yes, the program requires two years of study in Bulgaria. If you are already in your second year (full time, regular student), you can still apply as long as you will have completed two years by the time the program begins.

Q: What qualifies as a "strong interest in business or entrepreneurship?"

A: The Summer Entrepreneurship Program is designed to teach individuals from different educational backgrounds how to become entrepreneurs and develop and write business plans. Therefore, while applicants to the program are not required to come from business and economic backgrounds, they are expected to be extremely interested in learning how to start their own business.

Q: What expenses will be covered?

A: Thanks to the generosity of the America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) all of your SEP-related expenses, including international and domestic airfare and ground transportation, accommodations, meals, visa fees, as well as tuition at leading U.S. business schools.

Q: Will I have the chance to travel on my own while in the program?

A: No! The SEP program is extremely intensive and busy group experience. Therefore, there will be no opportunities for independent travel during the program.

Q: Can I apply for SEP if I am currently on Erasmus?

A: No! At the time of your SEP application stage, you need to be currently living and studying in Bulgaria at accredited university. 

Q: Is the pre-departure orientation workshop mandatory?

A: Yes, if you are among the selected SEP participants, your participation at the Pre-departure Orientation Workshop is mandatory. Please note, that if during this period, you are not in Bulgaria, you will have to arrange and finance your personal travel in order to attend the workshop.

Q: Who can translate my recommendation letters if they are not in English?

A: Most of the respective BYLP selection committee members speak Bulgarian. Therefore, although we prefer that your letters of recommendations are in English, this is not a requirement.

 

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