Day Two Of Colorful Thinking
This Sunday, March 29, the second and the last day of the fourth annual conference of StartUp@Blagoevgrad took place in the America For Bulgaria (ABF) Theatre. Another wave of innovative people took the stage with the hope to convey their messages to the young audience.
The day started with a personal video message from Bob Dorf, co-author of The StartUp Owners Manual. He expressed his disappointment for not being able to take part in the event this year. Still, Dorf conveyed a message toward the audience to appreciate the conference “as a time to listen and to learn.”
The first speaker to talk about social entrepreneurship was Boyan Benev, CMO MammothDB. His lecture was based mostly on The Venture by Chivas, a competition which gives the opportunity to entrepreneurs to pursue and realize their ideas.
This is an event that inspires business-oriented people to search for innovations not only in technology, but also in other various spheres. The competition offers the chance of winning $1 million for the most promising startup. Benev ended his lecture by explaining that when we talk about social entrepreneurship, we know that percentage of the money that the business makes go to charity. However, “it’s not an NGO because people still need to have sustainable profit,” he added.
Next on stage was the founder of the Transformatori Association, Delcho Delchev, who also talked about
social entrepreneurship.The main goal of his team is to transform public places in order to create more beneficial environment for the public and make them more involved in their surroundings. Delchev gave an example of what they do by showing a short video of street artists, invited by his team to paint over electrical boxes around Sofia. The project was important because it made people more sensitive to the public space and showed how with less money it is still possible to accomplish big impact on society. The company is also involved in 3D printing and is developing smart design to improve the street environment.
Elena Marinova, Chair of the Board of Trustees at AUBG and President of Musala Soft, took over the stage with her talk about “the strength to fail and the inspiration to succeed.”She explained that the path to success in not very easy and people should learn how to manage the whole process. “Learn from your mistakes. Build on top of it. Inspire yourself,” was the motto of her presentation. Marinova emphasized that people should work more on their strengths. Also, future entrepreneurs should explore and travel.Angel Sultov, member of the audience asked, “What was the most difficult moment on your path to success and what the most rewarding one?” She explained that the difficulty occurred “the first time I had to fire someone” and the most
rewarding is “everytime I see my team achieving something.”
After a quick coffee break, seven young entrepreneurs gathered onstage for a pitching and discussion panel led by AUBG Assistant Professor Milena Nikolova.At the beginning, all of the guest speakers presented their prospective business ideas. Silviya Renusa talked about B.Guard – a bicycle theft prevention accessory. Sergi Sergiev offered an innovation in public transport with an app called Tickey. Iliyan Oprev encouraged the audience to appreciate handmade production by using ARTery. Zdravko Genchev spoke about MaxCart – an easier way to create and control private business. Alexander Dimitrov explained the technology of Novalogy’s energy boosting glasses called ayo.Natanail Stefanov presented kuknall – a product designed to lessen stomach problems.
After the short presentations, the speakers were joined by Milena Stoycheva, CEO of Junior Achievement Bulgaria. She shared her opinion on the importance of education and concluded, “Education is [the] key.” Altogether, they shared their experiences, the obstacles they met, and the failures some of them faced while developing their entrepreneurship ideas.
The next speaker to appear on stage was Alexander Dourchev, CEO at All Channels Communications and a professor at AUBG and NBU.Dourchev shared his experience on how to handle a developing business after the start. The first advice he gave the audience was to “hire smarter people than you
and constantly admit it to them.”
Along with that, Dourchev also said that setting clear goals is the foundation of future success. Another crucial part of managing a company according to him is turning mistakes in one’s stride, rather than giving up because they happened. Most importantly, Dourchev focused on how important it is to fight about one’s aspirations and for people to always enjoy what they are doing in order to reveal their full creative capacity.
Olaf Guikema, founder of TriplePro, took over the stage after Dourchev. Guikema talked about the so-called “guerilla marketing” and explained how he is integrating it inside his company.He shared that in order to
start using this type of marketing, one needs to acquire the guerilla thinking. This process includes creating intrinsic motivation for people involved, learning how to combine math with creativity, and dividing one’s ideas into steps to follow. Guikema also mentioned that by using this type of method, he’s offering his employees more spare time and enough space to reveal their creativity.
The last speaker for the conference was Teodor Panayotov, a young entrepreneur, who focused his lecture on exponential organizations.Panayotov talked about the rapid growth of current technology and market diversity. He shared various examples, showing decrease in the price of outdated technology, compared to the moment of its release. “Any company designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to
failure in the 21st ,” Panayotov quoted David Rose.In conclusion, he mentioned common marketing strategies used by companies to reach customers. Teodor Panayotov’s speech marked the end of the annual StartUP@Blagoevgrad 2015 conference.
After the conference, Deyan Slanchev, President of StartUp@Blagoevgrad, shared his appreciation toward the whole team.He said that this year was particularly hard for the club, but also very successful because they managed to organize StartUp Weekend for the first time and eight Open Coffees as well.“Despite some technical problems that we had during the event, I think that the conference was the perfect end of our team efforts,” Slanchev said.
Second-year student Ralitsa Tsoneva attended the event for the first time and she didn’t have any clear expectations from the conference. “Nevertheless, the lectors, the whole team and the organization that they have pulled up surprised me and I did not feel how the time had passed,” she said. ”I actually experienced the spirit and got home with a little bit more sparkle and ambition in me.”
Xhulia Rami, fourth-year student at AUBG, also expressed her good impressions of the event, “the speakers were very motivational, and I was very impressed how most of them were so young and successful. So let’s hope one day it would be us.”
Olaf Guikema, one of the guest speakers, said, “My general impression was pretty good, I had the feeling that the organizing team had everything under control.” He also added that he “ made a mistake in my presentation where I left out one slide which would motivate the audience to interact more. But there was still some interaction and questions, so I was not unhappy with how they played their role.”
The fourth annual StartUP@Blagoevgrad conference took place on March 28-29 at the ABF Theatre Hall under the motto “Think in colors.” Read more about the opening day here.
This article is the joint effort of AUBG Daily’s owls Rumina Mateva and Marina Penkova.