The Summer Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) provides a short-term, non-degree, experiential learning opportunity for 30 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:
||-Business Model Canvass
||-Market Research & Experimentation
||-New Venture Strategy
|-Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback
||-Go to Market Strategy
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.
Note: The recruitment for SEP 2014 is now closed. Please check back in November 2014 for information regarding the next round of recruitment.
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
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
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.