Long-term ecosystem impact has been in focus in Bulgaria over the past week with the approval of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan and the launch of INSAIT, the first AI institute in SEE. Driven by the same mission, Endeavor Bulgaria has recently announced the start of the application process for its Dare to Scale growth program that aims to help the most promising and impactful Bulgarian companies advance.
The 4-month accelerator program targets founders who are beyond the early stages and who are already running profitable businesses to enable them to accelerate their growth. With the main goal to nurture local scale-ups to become globally competitive, growth-oriented, and resilient companies, Dare to Scale features tailored workshops, mentorship sessions, networking events, and capital raising support.
“The Bulgarian entrepreneurial ecosystem is maturing more and more. It has already created its first unicorn but, more importantly, an environment is developing in which many other entrepreneurs have systematic support in terms of both access to capital and know-how for their market development and organizational growth. This year the Dare to Scale program will be upgraded with new elements such as capital support for the best representative companies and expert assistance from one of the leading consulting companies in the world,” highlights Momchil Vassilev, Executive Director of Endeavor Bulgaria.
Each year, Endeavor Bulgaria selects a cohort of 5 to 15 startups to enter the program. Interested entrepreneurs can apply before the 30th of April, 2022.
Is Dare to Scale for me?
The program is industry-agnostic and welcomes all Bulgaria-headquartered startups that have 2021 annual sales of a minimum of €100K, and a maximum of 150 employees.
Taking place between September-December 2022, Dare to Scale provides founders with group workshops dedicated to key business topics, as well as warm introductions to business angels, executives, and local VCs. Specialized training falls within four main areas – marketing, sales, finance, and HR. More specifically, the curriculum includes workshops on product-market fit, GTM strategy, sales, and organizational processes, budgeting and business planning, fundraising, storytelling, recruitment, and retention.
Each startup gets matched with an individual mentor who works closely with the founders and advises them how to solve their specific business challenges. In addition, the program concludes with a Demo Day during which they can pitch in front of prominent jury members, VCs, Endeavor mentors, and some of the most successful Bulgarian entrepreneurs.
Being selected as a Best Accelerator Program at the CESA for two consecutive years, Dare to Scale has gathered a network of more than 40 mentors with strong industry, investment, and entrepreneurial experience. Among them, there are Vassil Terziev, Managing Partner at Eleven Ventures, Viktor Bilyanski, co-founder of Scalefocus, Petev Mitev, co-founder of Chaos, and Kalin Radev, CEO of Software Group.
So far, more than 60 entrepreneurs from 32 startups have participated in the three editions of Dare to Scale, and 5 of them have raised a total of €1M in total funding after their participation in the program including Dexycon and RPA Consulting.