UBB launches the Challenge YOU pre-accelerator programme in partnership with Junior Achievement Bulgaria

United Bulgarian Bank, Junior Achievement Bulgaria (JA Bulgaria) and its subsidiary The Edge: R&D have launched the Challenge YOU pre-accelerator programme. The practical programme for starting an own business aims at supporting the successful realization of entrepreneurial initiatives of student start-ups. Within three months the participants will form a team, which is going to further expand its idea, develop a prototype of its product or service, as well as present a business case for the project.

The programme is open to Bulgarian students – holders of Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctor’s degrees from all specialties and universities, who have ideas for starting a business of their own in the following domains: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), fintech, health industry, clean energy, agro-innovations and other business ideas, related to technology innovations.

Within eight Saturdays during the months of March, April and May, the students will participate in intensive workshops and trainings, which combine theory with practice - a course for designer way of thinking, series of mentoring afternoons, Demo day and final competition, where the winner - whose idea will be financed – is going to be announced.

The Challenge You pre-accelerator programme is the next logical step in the educational approach, which our organization has been applying for many years now. By implementing innovative models like this one, we aim at helping young people realize their ideas in practice, while providing them with the practical training needed to build up their entrepreneurial competencies, mentoring and expert consultancy assistance. Thus we realize our vision for creating entrepreneurial young people, who are proactive and enthusiastically fulfil their dreams. I am happy to say that the current project is exactly focused on that and fully reflects the mission of our organization. I would like to especially thank our partners in this initiative – UBB - for understanding and supporting the need of such actions.” - Milena Stoycheva, Executive Director of JA Bulgaria and The Edge: R&BD, noted.

The participants were also greeted by Ms. Svetla Georgieva, UBB’s Executive Director Risk, who addressed them with the words: “In society, there are many different perceptions as to what a bank is and what is expected of it. These are labels, layered for years. However - as young people who are making their first steps towards starting their own business and are here to learn how to be decisive - I will tell you the following: trust your bank, we share the expertise that has been accumulated for years, as well as responsibility towards our clients. UBB will teach you what it is like to have a solid partner behind you, in order to realize even your bravest dreams.”

Business mentors from the UBB team are going to support the start-ups with experience and advice in the development of ideas. All trainings and mentoring afternoons will be held in the creative workspace of Junior Achievement Bulgaria - JA StartUp Hambar in Sofia Tech Park.

The winner may be awarded financing, mentoring, consultation with specialized experts from the team of UBB and JA Bulgaria (a lawyer, a financier, an intellectual property expert, etc.), of total value up to BGN 10 000. The participation in the programme is utterly free-of-charge.

After the opening event, there will be 2 weeks remaining for inclusion of more people, willing to participate. The deadline for registration of student teams is 10th of March, 2019, which is also the start date of the educational sessions. Link for registration: https://form.jotform.com/90283942381965.