Summer Entrepreneurship Program (SEP)

The Summer Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) provides a short-term, non-degree, experiential learning opportunity for 30 Bulgarian students from all accredited universities in Bulgaria and young professionals under 35 years-old.

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.

  • Applicants must be Bulgarian citizens who currently reside and study in Bulgaria.
  • 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. Аpplicants who are graduate students and young professionals are also eligible to apply. All applicants must not be older than 35 years as of the application deadline.
  • 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 2016 SEP application has closed.

Please revisit this page next Fall for details regarding the 2017 application.

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 6 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, running or being part of companies and NGOs. Here is a list of some of the SEP alumni start-ups:

Dobromir Ivanov SEP '11 Stigni.bg
Evelin Velev SEP '11 Obecto; Useful At Night
Elisar Bashir SEP '12 Bleuprint
Alexander Tsvetkov SEP '12 PhantomLogin
Todor Gigilev SEP '12 Dreamix
Alexander Dimitrov SEP '11 AYO
Georgi Parvanov SEP '13 GoBox
Emil Goranov SEP '11 Zapoznaj.me
Pavlina Desheva SEP '14 Doglar
Todor Sarakchiev SEP '12 Espressimo ; Karikaturi
Vladimir Vasilev SEP '14 Jobio
Elena Nikolova, Iskren Mitev, Yasen Rusev SEP '13 CREO
Asen Georgiev SEP '12 BatteryLand
Veliko Minkov SEP '14 Intuitics
Kiril Christov SEP '14 CityZen
Petya Kamburova SEP '13 and Petar Tzachev SEP '15 MyOptio
Martina Radeva SEP '13 and Branimir Brozig SEP '14 Irchitect
Margarit Ralev SEP '15 Ralev.com; WiFi; BDG; Localancers; Raz.bg; UMNO
Iva Tsolova SEP '14 Sitterzone; Zaslushaise
Aleksandar Tsvetkov SEP '12 Phantomlogin
Nikolay Angov SEP '12, Krustina Atanasova SEP '13 and Nikolay Petrov SEP '15 Innoled
Evelina Prodanova SEP '14 BrainWorkshop
Magdalena Stefanova SEP '10 CocoFarm ; SofiaNanny
Natanail Stefanov SEP '11 Impressign

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

SEP 2015 Episode 1 - "New York"

SEP 2015 Episode 2 - "Boston"

SEP 2015 Episode 3 - "San Francisco"

The Successful Entrepreneur (Sofia Echo)

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 2015, our participants shared their experiences in the below blog entries:

SEP 2015 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: I am a college graduate. Can I apply for SEP?

A: SEP accepts working professionals up to 35 years of age as of the application deadline.

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, 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.

© 2016 Institute of International Education, Inc. All rights reserved.