What is key for emerging companies to achieve success? Concentrated effort, efficient goal-setting, and a great deal of work have proven to be among the best practices for prospective startups to rely on, but how can one start? Enrolling in an acceleration program can be useful for startup teams who do not have a clear idea about how to implement such best practices and optimize the performance of their businesses. A prominent example of such a program is Endeavor Bulgaria’s Dare to Scale program, which has been educating Bulgarian startuppers about business growth and expansion since 2019, with its two editions outlined as Best Accelerator Program at the CESA Awards in 2019 and 2020. Organized by the Bulgarian office of the global entrepreneurial network Endeavor, with main partner Postbank and the support of Software Group and the Bulgarian Executive Agency for Small and Medium Enterprises (BSMEPA), this year the program is set to start in September with a cohort of between 5 and 15 companies.
Entrepreneurs from all spheres of the economy and from all regions in Bulgaria can apply for Dare to Scale. Eligibility criteria for candidate companies are that they are headquartered in Bulgaria, have up to 150 employees, their 2020 annual sales are in the range between €100K and €20M, and, most importantly, that their businesses have the potential for global growth. Both well-established companies that have been operating for years and those that have started relatively recently can participate in the program.
Candidates can apply until April 30, 2021, from here and get the chance to reach the interview stage of the program (happening in May) with the ultimate goal of entering the accelerator.
Ready to transform
The duration of Dare to Scale is four months – from September to December 2021. It will be executed in a hybrid form, thus combining physical events in Sofia and virtual sessions during which founders can exchange experiences and get acquainted with the main players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Participants will get the chance to participate in specialized training in four main areas: organizational management, marketing, sales, business planning and capital raising. Along with that, each company will have an individual mentor from the Endeavor network, who will hold regular meetings with the founders and support them with their expertise. Among the mentors are well-known ecosystem players, such as Vassil Terziev, Managing Partner at Eleven Ventures, Lyubomir Minchev, Founder of Telelink, and Atanas Raykov, Biz Dev CEE and CIS Director and CEO at Viber.
The culmination of the event is the Dare to Scale Demo Day event, during which participants will present their businesses to a jury of established business leaders. Through group workshops, mentoring, and introduction to high-level executives, successful founders, and local VCs, the program can provide founders with useful resources and key insights to help them scale their ventures. So far, companies such as online retailing Prospecto, telecommunications Develiot, software company Abilitics, office productivity startup Escreo, and mobile payment company Checkout X, have participated in Dare to Scale, along with the 2020 alumnus cross-platform Robotic Process Automation startup RPA Consulting that recently raised around €500k investment from the Sofia-based Innovation Capital fund and local digital development alliance F27 which is one of the capital partners of Endeavor.