Words from Milena
Words from Stefan
Gratitude to Sasha Bezuhanova
Calendar of events 2013/2014
Milena Stoycheva – Where education meets business
Successful Collaboration between Business and Education:
the Partnership with Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria
AmGen: Supporting innovative Students’ Ideas in the
Our impact through the impressions of our teachers
Our impact through the impressions of our students
JAB Business Volunteer program
Succes story – Ivaylo Hristov
Succes story – Georgi Kadrev
Winning essay from the „Manager for a Day” essay
Letter from the Auditor
Because entrepreneurs are made not born
Why do we bring economic education and
entrepreneurship to the world of young people?
Because we believe that business education is not
only about financial success but it is a mixture of
entrepreneurial attitudes and skills, which make the
young generation more responsible and increase
their sense of the world’s social, economic and
In 2013 and 2014, we continued spreading our ideas
by means of our programs and initiatives and we
attracted new partners and contributors. This year
we started a strategic partnership with the bio-tech
company AmGen that will cover medical universities
and biology faculties across the country. We also
launched the program “My first company” jointly
with Coca Cola HBC Bulgaria. Business understands
the need for practical education for the students
and gladly responds to the introduction of novel
mentorship programs, traineeships, or company
on-site visits and workshops. Uniting our efforts,
we are trying to diversify the forms of cooperation
with the business community in order to prepare
self-confident students who are willing to tackle
all sorts of challenges and be leaders within their
organizations. Business volunteers (both corporate
and individual) welcome the cause of JA because
they also believe that entrepreneurial skills and
qualities like team work, consensus-building,
problem-solving, resilience, leadership, project
development and many others are not taught at
the university and they can only be mastered in an
environment which ensures a working link with real
In 2013, we started a new initiative called “Financial
innovation camp”, which is the culmination of
our financial literacy program. It is a competition
realized with the contribution of Citibank in which
all students from high schools in Bulgaria can take
part. Working in teams, the students have to present
an innovative solution to a challenge from the field
of personal or public finance. This initiative gives
young people an opportunity to show their financial
acumen responding to a challenge that has a direct
impact in the real world, to learn more about good
practices and economic instruments in the financial
management sphere, and to gain knowledge from
leading financial experts.
We are firm believers in the power of cross-cutting
partnerships. That is why we make efforts to involve
all possible stakeholders to invest not only their
money, but more importantly their hearts and souls
for the sake of the young generation’s future. More
than 3000 teachers, who are rightful innovators and
leaders in their communities, make sure that our
programs reach as many students as possible around
the country. In the last academic year, more than
600 business volunteer mentors and more than 350
companies and government institutions got involved
in passing on their experience to young people. The
mentorship program for the Company Program
and the Startup Program is an especially incredible
achievement because in it professionals from all
walks of life commit to a long-term contribution that
develops the entrepreneurial mindset and business
management skills of thousands of teenagers in the
country, shaping our future business class.
CEO Junior Achievement Bulgaria
We believe in the boundless potential of
The way we live and work has changed profoundly
– and so has the set of skills we need to participate
fully in and benefit from our hyper-connected
societies and increasingly knowledge-based
Junior Achievement offers experience-based learning
programs that are designed to influence the life of
young people so that they feel confident to welcome
every challenge in real life. Business is a whole area
of knowledge which we carefully adapt to the world
of children so that they can be inspired to continue
their education and to seek opportunities in every
problem and every issue. We put heart in what we
do because we believe in the boundless potential of
young people and in the power of partnership and
120 high-school student companies and 45
university startups have entered the race for the best
student-run mini company in Bulgaria in 2014 – the
Youth Business Forum Rising Stars.
Thanks to the consistent work of organizations like
Junior Achievement, the European Commission has
put entrepreneurship education at the heart of its
commitment to innovation, sustainable job creation
and response to the high youth unemployment rates.
Throughout its history, Junior Achievement has
developed meaningful and effective relationships
with its partners, including schools, administrators,
teachers, parents and business.
The hallmark of the organization is the inclusion
of volunteers from local businesses and civic
organizations in the educational process. The
dynamic interaction between students and volunteers
with practical business experience promotes active
learning while bringing theory to life. More than 350
corporations, companies and government institutions
volunteer to host students in “Manager for a Day”
and over 40 businesses and government entities
support JAB operations through financial or in-kind
contribution each year.
With the support of business, we believe we give a
big impulse to the future leaders of the world. By this
cooperation, we are trying not only to improve the
financial and economic literacy of the students but
also to give them an opportunity to create contacts
with business, which may help them in the future.
Social contacts are very important in order to
succeed in a rapidly changing, highly competitive
and increasingly global marketplace.
We would like to extend the most heartfelt gratitude
to our contributors, sponsors and partners and we
believe that together we can improve the life of the
Junior Achievement Bulgaria
Sasha Bezuhanova is now an Honorary life member of
Sasha Bezuhanova – an extraordinary business woman – stepped
down as a Board Chairperson for JA Bulgaria in the past year. During
her more than 10-year tenure, Sasha helped the organization grow
from strength to strength and establish itself as the leading provider
of entrepreneurship education in Bulgaria. Thanks to her personal
efforts, dedication and commitment, the JA name and brand
became recognizable not only in Hewlett Packard, managed by her
with sweeping professionalism, but among the Bulgarian business
elite as a whole, which led to the forging of many new partnerships
in support of our organization’s activities that last until today.
We know that this is not “goodbye”, as Sasha continues to support
JA and the educational ecosystem in Bulgaria through her current
projects. She established the award for young women entrepreneurs
“Entrepregirl”, which will be a lasting legacy in the development of
a more equitable approach to entrepreneurship in Bulgaria.
Sasha, we are extremely grateful for your amazing yearlong
contribution – a contribution that truly came from your heart
and soul! You are more than a friend of JA – you shaped the
organization to be the entrepreneurial leader it is today and inspired
so many young people!
Junior Achievement Bulgaria Board of Directors
Citi Country Officer
Embassy of the United
States of America
Senior Commercial Officer
Bulgarian Center of Women in
Junior Achievement Bulgaria
Country Managing Director
Bulgaria, Serbia & Croatia
National Advisor for
Microsoft Central & Eastern Europe
CEE Multi Country Public Sector
Nestle Bulgaria AD,
member Board of Directors
VAPTECH, Chairman Supervisory Board
Anglo-American School of Sofia,
member Board of Directors
Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce,
Chairman Managing Board
America for Bulgaria
A great “thank you” to America
for Bulgaria Foundation for
supporting Junior Achievement
Bulgaria’s programs “Company
Program” and “Business Ethics”,
the events “Innovation Camp”
and “Creativity Camp”, as well as
teacher trainings and seminars for
Many thanks to our partner
Citibank for supporting the
“StartUp Program” in AUBG and
UNWE and the “Banks in Action”
program nationwide. In 2013, we
started together a new initiative
called “Financial innovation
camp”, which is the culmination
of our financial literacy program.
Intel Business Challenge Europe
is a competition for innovative
products, smart technologies
and interactive web and mobile
applications. Junior Achievement
Bulgaria is the host of the
competition in Bulgaria thanks to
We give our thanks to SAP Labs
for supporting the “Company
Program” and the Youth Business
Forum “Rising Stars”.
Huyndai supports the Brilliant
Young Entrepreneurs Award and
Junior Achievement Bulgaria is
the local partner. In 2014, the
start-up company “Parking Sector”
received the ¤15,000 award to
develop their business idea into a
In 2013, Junior Achievement
Bulgaria started a strategic
partnership with the bio-tech
company AmGen that covers
medical universities and biology
faculties across the country. Big
Coca – Cola HBC Bulgaria
Junior Achievement Bulgaria
launched the program “My first
company” jointly with Coca Cola
HBC Bulgaria and we are grateful
for the support.
We give our warm thanks to
Nestle Bulgaria. The company
is supporting financially the
“StartUp Program” and in-kind
our initiatives “Manager for a
Day” and Youth Business Forum
Working with global partner
HP, Junior Achievement-Young
Enterprise has developed the
Social Innovation Relay. Locally
together with HP Bulgaria we
encourage students aged 15-18 to
develop concepts that could have
a significant positive social impact.
The first Smart Classroom was
opened with an official ceremony
in September 2013 in 23 High
School “Frederic Joliot-Curie”
in Sofia. It is a joint project of
Samsung and Junior Achievement
Bulgaria. We also give our thanks
to Samsung Bulgaria for the
support of Youth Business Forum
“Rising stars” 2014.
A warm “thank you” to
Nemetschek Bulgaria for the
support of Youth Business Forum
“Rising stars” 2014!
Sofia Tech Park
Sofia Tech Park was a helpful
partner in organizing the Youth
Business Forum “Rising stars”
2014. Big thanks!
A warm “thank you” to Walltopia
for the support of Youth Business
Forum “Rising stars” 2014 and
their signature “Entrepreneurial
spirit” award both for high-school
and university companies.
The Human Recourses
Development Center in Bulgaria
(HRDC) is a partner of ours and
we are thankful for the support
of “Manager for a Day” 2014
and Youth Business Forum “Rising
Ministry of Education in
Junior Achievement Bulgaria’s
programs are approved by
the Ministry of Education. A
cooperation agreement between
Junior Achievement Bulgaria and
the Ministry of Education was
concluded in 2012.
Ministry of Economy and
The Ministry of Economy and
Energy is the initiator of the
StARTs project, which aims to
introduce the practice of training
firms in arts schools (2013-
2014). The Ministry selected
Junior Achievement Bulgaria
to implement the project. We
express heartfelt gratitude for the
President of Bulgaria
The President of the Republic of
Bulgaria, Mr. Rossen Plevneliev,
was Patron of the Youth Business
Forum “Rising Stars” 2013 and
2014 and he kindly admires all of
our entrepreneurial initiatives for
the young people in Bulgaria.
Sofia Municipality Mayor Mrs.
Yordanka Fandakova was an
official guest at our events in
2013 and 2014 and delivered
inspirational speeches to the
audiences at “Manager for a Day”
initiative and “Rising stars” forum.
Mrs. Fandakova also bestowed
the prize to the Teacher of the
year of Junior Achievement and
Sofia Municipality, Mrs. Stefka
Manolilova, from 137 High School
Subway supported Youth Business
Forum “Rising stars” in-kind and
gladdened the participants with
sandwiches for lunch.
A warm “thank you” to the
new social network Yatoto for
supporting the Youth Business
Forum “Rising stars” 2014!
A big “thank you” to our Gold
partner of “Manager for a Day”
2014, Porsche Bulgaria!
Dundee Precious Metals
Dundee Precious Metals Inc.
supported “Manager for a Day”
2014 and Junior Achievement
Bulgaria says “Thanks”!
Partnership: Mentoring to
Develop the Architecture for
Innovation” is a project that Junior
Achievement Bulgaria started
with the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria.
In four mentoring weeks, the
project encouraged cooperation
among business, academia
and government in promoting
innovation. The U.S. Embassy
also supported the pilot JA
project “Social cohesion through
teaching entrepreneurship and
employability skills for young
people at risk”.
General Electric is a global partner
of Junior Achievement Worldwide
and locally GE supports our
programs for ages 6-12 –
“Ourselves”, “Our Families”, “Our
Community”, “Our City”, “Europe
Junior Achievement Bulgaria owes
its professional PR and Media
presence to our partner Publicis
Consultants MSLGROUP, big
September 18: The opening of the first smart
classroom in Bulgaria was at 23 High School in Sofia
November 18-24: Global Entrepreneurship Week
(GEW), hosted for the 6th year in a row in Bulgaria
by Junior Achievement Bulgaria, with over 150
Part of GEW were:
• November 21-22: Ice House Entrepreneurship
Program Facilitator Training – a program designed
to inspire and engage students in the fundamental
aspects of an entrepreneurial mindset.
• November 20: The “New vision” forum at
Radisson hotel, Sofia
December 7-8: 15 teachers have been trained
within the framework of the project “My life, my
finances – financial literacy for the youth“, which
took place in 10 Bulgarian cities.
of events 2013/2014
school and academic year
February 1: Junior Achievement Bulgaria launched
the “Green entrepreneurship for sustainable
development” project, its major elements being a
3-month online educational course and a one-week
Eco-camp in the autumn of 2014.
February 8: 60 high-school students participated in
the National competition “Innovation camp”
February 10: the “Business ethics” competition
encouraged socially responsible business behavior of
high-school students from around the country
March 12: Over 1000 high-school and university
students took part in the career orientation initiative
“Manager for a Day”
100% of the participants would
recommend the event
100% of the asked would participate again
Only 3% of the attendants had some
problems with the communication with
44% of the interviewed companies would
hire their “manager for a day”
91% of the companies are satisfied with
the “manager” and only 9% claim that
there is more to be asked or done. None of
them finds the “managers for a day” not
50% of the companies took part in the
event with the purpose to make the
company they represent more popular.
21% of the corporations and organizations
joined the event in search of young
trainees (future employees).
April 12-13: Bulgaria participated for the second year in a row in the NASA International Space Apps
Challenge. Junior Achievement Bulgaria was a main logistics and administration partner of the event.
April 12: TITAN Virtual Enterprise Competition final – part of the annual educational competitions calendar
of the Ministry of Education
April 27-29: For first time in 2014, we organized regional trade fairs within the Company Program in 4
regions: Varna, Pleven, Blagoevgrad and Plovdiv.
May 11-12: 150 young economists from 30 cities participated in the second national competition in
financial literacy “Financial innovation camp”.
May 15: National competition “Best Social Enterprise”, in which student companies presented their social
and environmental activities on-line.
June 6: The Youth Business Forum “Rising Stars” awarded the most perspective student companies among
120 schools and 16 universities.
June 20-22: A specialized course for trainers of entrepreneurship programs in secondary schools took place
with the financial support of the Ministry of Education. The trainers are experienced teachers who have
implemented JA programs successfully in their schools in the course of several years.
July 2-4: JA-YE Europe Enterprise Challenge took place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The winning university
start-up company from Bulgaria, KSEN Cosmetics from the Sofia University, took part in the competition.
July 3-4: Information seminar for principals of high schools. Over 65 principals of different types of
secondary schools learned more about JA programs and initiatives and how they can be integrated in the
school curricula. + survey results
July 22-24: 25th JA-YE Company of the Year Competition in Tallinn, Estonia. The student company BeeHive
from Rakitovo took part as a Bulgarian national winner, sparkling a lot of interest with its innovative bee hive
made out of recycled paper.
Interview by Aleksandra Dzhandeva,
Ms. Stoycheva, let’s start with something positive
– you communicate with young and ambitious
people daily, what do they inspire you with?
I get inspired when I find that they have a very strong
desire and willingness to believe in themselves and
seek their own paths to presonal development. I
notice more commitment and responsibility. Another
thing is their desire to govern their fate and future.
Moreover, I believe that they have much more
optimism, which comes perhaps from the fact
that they have greater access to information and
opportunities. I even have the feeling that it is set
in their DNA to be more curious and to search for
Therefore, I think education should be rather an
environment where they can develop their curiosity
and abilities, to supply them with the necessary skills
and tools, but also to promote their free thinking.
You mentioned the easy access to information –
what do young people most frequently lack?
I think that they lack a set of skills that are
related to general economic literacy, a common
business culture, a common behavior - to perceive
opportunities as economic expressions to find the
exact form of the things that could be developed and
to pack it in the right format.
These gaps are still due to the fact that our
educational system lacks the integral approach in
which education is the environment where young
people can develop. Still prevails studying by heart,
the type of materials that are not so much related to
analytical thinking and teamwork, which actually are
the things that happen to be utterly required for a
person to find his/hers way and to do well.
Generally speaking - the young people should focus
on their behavioral culture, soft skills, how to present
their idea, communication skills, the ability to talk
about what you know or what you did.
You develop many programs aimed at young
people. Describe a generalized model of
knowledge you offer?
Our model is progressive – i.e. upgrading skills and
knowledge from an early age to a higher course.
Gradually completing, expanding of this culture and
The idea is that the children should learn from very
small that they should be well oriented in their
environment, to think economically about everyday
life and about how they fit in this environment
and how they can contribute to its development.
For example, they learn from an early age about
the family budget and what are the roles in it
and consequently this helps them to shape their
Another key element in our programs is that they are
associated with the practice. This is done with the
participation of practitioners and real cases.
Let’s talk about the role of the teachers - how
it has changed over the years, what are your
It is very difficult, but of great significance to explain
the huge importance of the personal development
of the teacher and how important it is to work with
In our work we try to put teachers in the same
conditions in which the students work, i.e. they
pass through the programs in a similar way and this
changes their behavior and thinking. They begin to
see themselves in the role of mentors and advisors,
not the people who directly say something which
should be memorized and reproduced necessarily
the same. When their role has also changed, they
become more flexible in the environment in which
they work, and this consequently changes the school.
We have schools, we have worked from the start
with – we observe that over the years they become
more modern, they naturally have begun to work
with the parents, business representatives, they
attract ideas and people. They have started to turn
the school into a center, where all members of the
society gather and the behavior of children and their
future are shaped.
And how has the business changed – has it
learned to believe in the power of youthful
Certainly there are processes of opening, of
desire by the business world and companies to
participate in the educational process. They see
that this interaction is a two-way one and leads to
development of staff. It’s not so common and not so
trivial for an employee to face a group of teenagers
or to be in a university, and be able to present what
he/she does in a way that engages the audience.
This helps the business people as well – to realize
their real position and role, to develop their
communication skills, presentation skills, teamwork,
to show that they deserve to be at this position and
that they can impart knowledge.
In the whole world the business work model
and behavioral model towards the customers
has changed and the companies become more
entrepreneurial. In other words – they become more
open and demand their staff to be more engaged
with what they do, to be more innovative, to think
outside the box and to feel owners of what they
produce or do.
Recently we notice that there is more engagement
in the educational sphere even in the Bulgarian
companies. Something that was more difficult
before. Nowadays we have many consultants,
including the representatives of the state
administration and of the small business, who work
not only in the big cities. They all understand the
importance of being engaged in this change.
Why do we avoid using the cliché that the
education prepares people who are not ready for
the business world? What is the reality through
It really hurts me that the educational law was not
accepted. It is very old. There should be changes in
the curricula and these changes should be in a way
that reflects the future trends, not the present.
It should be based on something that in 20 years’
time will lead to good results. There should be more
focus on economic literacy, general education,
entrepreneurial and communication skills, digital
culture in the syllabus.
Do you work with universities or colleges – what
changes are needed in this sphere?
It is more than clear that our universities are not
competitive enough. It is difficult to represent
the actual market trends; they are not orientated
towards imparting skills to the students that could
help them when they go into the business world in
order to start something on their own.
We work with 16-17 universities at the current
moment on our startup project, which helps
students create their own business. However, this
is not because we want everybody to become a
businessman/ businesswoman, we simply want
to engage their mind so they could see their
professional realization in the economic field.
This is also a reason why there should be a reform in
the universities. The environment should change, it
should be something more, a place to face problems
and challenges. These people are mature in their way
of thinking, they come up with solutions and in the
university these things could happen – there could be
a conversation, to solve cases and problems, not to
study by heart.
Young people should learn how to draw a conclusion
and have results.
You mentioned the startups – are they the key
to the future independence of every ambitious
For me it is very curious how this trend became even
a part of the education. When we started working in
Bulgaria 17 years ago, entrepreneurship was at first
an incomprehensible word, after that a bad world, it
was even interpreted narrowly only as someone who
invests in construction activities. Afterwards it was a
word, which was related only to the business, it had
nothing to do with common knowledge.
The society needed a lot of time to accept the
fact that this is a way to show that a person is
economically orientated in one’s field and to think
how to develop oneself. Now the situation is similar
with the startups.
Our university program has existed for 8 years, but in
the last 3-4 years it became popular – everybody now
talks about startups, even at times they do not know
the meaning of the word. Startup is the opportunity
and realization that you can develop an idea into an
It is nice to know that students and businesspeople
start to see in entrepreneurship another opportunity
for career development. I am very pleased to see that
this is happening – the startups have changed the
behavior and the understanding in our field, they
made it more dynamic.
How do you teach the business world to believe
in the startups?
The business world believes when it sees results.
When the companies started recognizing the people
with whom we have worked, they became aware
that it is necessary to make an investment and to
work with us. Business learns from results.
Another thing it learns even better from is when
the company’s staff participate in any of our
competitions, initiatives, even in the teaching
process. Then they see the advantages in the
communication and in the practice. The staff is one
of the best ways to engage afterwards the whole
the Partnership with
Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria
1. Which are the most valuable practical
dimensions of the collaboration between business
and education, which you can identify as a
partner of a JAB’s program?
This year we are starting a strategic partnership with
Junior Achievement for the development of young
people and with huge desire we are starting the
program “My first company”. Its aim is to combine in
an innovative way the efforts of the academic world
and business and to show how they can collaborate
effectively in the benefit of students. Business is
the place where you demonstrate the knowledge
accumulated in the process of education. The earlier
the link between business and education starts, the
more useful it will be for the young people. For us
their growth/development is our main priority – they
are the next generation which will take decisions for
the development of the business and will rule the
company. For this reason it is important to develop
their entrepreneur spirit from an early stage, as
well as to stimulate their thinking as owners of the
business. Theoretical knowledge accumulated during
the education process is significantly important
but it can increase easily in the practice field and
in the real entrepreneurial environment. With this
aim an innovation camp was organized in the
Coca Cola office, during which the students had
the opportunity to work on real business cases and
to give effective solutions. During their work they
were consulted by the company team and teachers
from the represented universities. The results were
evaluated by Coca Cola managers and young
entrepreneurs who have already taken part in Junior
Achievement initiatives. With the accumulated
knowledge the students develop their own business
plan which is close to the real activity of a company.
That is how interesting ideas for new products and
activation of the market were born which gives a
fresh and non-traditional point of view, which for
sure is useful for the business.
2. Is there something else which can be done so
that education is connected with business even
more effectively within the program “Start UP
program” (“My first company” with Coca-Cola) of
which you are a partner?
During the innovation camp in Coca-Cola, the
students shared that they are not familiar enough
with the real business cases in which they can
enforce the learnt theory and they need an
experience in business environment which is beyond
the theory. A huge part of the abilities of the
successful entrepreneur are not covered in depth
in academic preparation but are accumulated with
a real experience: leadership abilities, negotiation
abilities, time management, presentation skills,
team working. They are as important as theoretical
knowledge and only when they are combined
effectively they can lead to real results which are
in the long-term benefit for the business and the
young people. In this direction we believe that
frequent meetings between representatives of the
business and students are of a crucial importance.
The initiative “My first company” includes working
with mentors of Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria who share
their experience voluntarily in order to decrease
the distance between the real business world and
universities. This approach started with the first
edition of the initiative and within it 5 student
companies worked with business mentors who
helped them with useful practical advice. The
mentorship program turned out to be very effective
in the preparation of the students for the national
competition for the best student company and for
sure it will be developed in the future years.
manager at Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria
in the Biotechnology Field
1. What are the most valuable practical
dimensions of the collaboration between business
and education that you can identify as a partner
of a JAB’s program?
The most significant advantage of the connection
between education and business is that they are
helping each other to become more useful for each
other. Or in other words, business identifies its
practical needs and education adapts its programs to
ensure a prepared staff. Each employer prefers hiring
well prepared employees which answer the current
requirements and can become effective very fast.
On the other hand, young people get an opportunity
even during their education to gain a clear vision
about certain professions and to build their desires
for a future professional realization which will best fit
to their abilities and ambitions.
2. Is there something else which can be done so
that education is connected with business even
more effectively within the “Start UP program” of
which you are a partner?
I think the program is very good and it helps
develop the spirit of entrepreneurship, which is by
default not very well represented in the educational
programs in Bulgaria. Since the progress of the
innovative technologies and profiles is growing
faster than the actualization of the educational
programs, the conduction of such projects will give
enormous impulse for the knowledge. I will give
an example with the biotechnologies which are
the most innovative field in the medicine and they
are already used in the treatment of a number of
diseases. However there is almost nothing mentioned
about them in the educational curricula of doctors,
pharmacists and biologists. In this direction I think
it is appropriate to expand the collaboration and to
diversify the forms of cooperation with the business,
especially in the field of innovations.
Ph.D. Krasimira Chemishanska,
M.D., MBA, CEO of AMGEN Bulgaria
through our Teachers
Which JAB programs do you teach?
I am familiar with all JA programs, I have worked with the programs for
primary and secondary grades. In the last year I worked on “Europe and
me” in 4th grade and project “Success”. I have worked with colleagues
on “Economics for success” – 8th grade and the organization of an
event in the elective course “Entrepreneurship and Business”.
What do the JAB projects give to your students?
Precious economic knowledge – for professions, society, resources,
the business world, financials, leadership skills… and a comprehensive
expansion of the content in all subjects. The children learn from an
early age about the world of career choices and are career oriented
afterwards. Last but not least, they are taught how to work in a team
and are given amazing opportunities for contribution.
What do the JAB programs give to you?
An enormous willingness to work and improve myself (regardless of
my experience), many opportunities to apply the innovations in the
education as well as the opportunity to see that my students have
If you had to describe JA as an emotion, which one would it be?
I love these programs. They are a positive charge, aspirations, success.
teaches JA Programs
at 119 High School, Sofia
Which JAB programs do you teach?
In high school in 11th grade – Student Company, 12th grade –
entrepreneurship, IT specialized education 9th-11th grade on the JAB
syllabus, project “Success” secondary school – “It’s my business” and
“Economics for success”.
What do the JAB projects give to your students?
“Georgi Benkovski“ High School, Pazardzhik, puts emphasis on the
results from the major specialization, which the youngsters follow after
they graduate their primary education. “Entrepreneurship and business”
– participation in different initiatives such as “Manager for a day”,
“Creativity camp”, “Student company”, open-air integrated lessons,
which are the base of the entrepreneurial way of thinking, studying the
basis of small and middle-sized business development. These things
motivate them to continue their education in Bulgaria where they can
study economics-related subjects after they graduate. For the past 6
years, my students have applied at these universities and after they
graduate, they manage to become successful at the labor market. That is
why I argue that JAB is a foundation whose main purpose is to motivate
and to guide young people to find themselves in their professional
What do the JAB programs give to you?
Many new contacts, partnerships, as a secondary and high school
teacher – motivation for my new colleagues to work on the JAB projects.
Thanks to JAB programs, my participation in different initiatives and
being a teacher of their programs, I have been nominated twice for
“Teacher of the year” from the pedagogical council of the school and
I have defended first professional degree in 2013 as I was developing
“Using ICT” in the concentration “Entrepreneurship - Student Company”.
Thanks to JAB programs, I proved myself to be a teacher with willingness
for integrated lessons, entrepreneurial and creative thinking. I am
thankful to the whole JAB team for showing us how to work in a
team, to be united, how to present our results and how to respect our
competitors and the work of others.
If you had to describe JA as an emotion, which one would it be?
A fluffy cloud in which everybody who gets in, whoever he is, whatever
he thought – goes out illuminated by kindness, positive thinking and
finds himself in life, i.e. the unreal becomes real.
A tale of kindness, creativity and friendship.
teaches JA Programs at
“Georgi Benkovski“ High School,
Ivona Velkova, 18 years old, from “Kozma Trichkov”
Secondary School, Vratsa
12th grade and taking part in the program “Student
Company” during 2013/2014 school year
Did you manage to put in practice what you
have learnt about economics, finance and
entrepreneurship from JAB programs?
Yes, in a very positive way. All initiatives of JAB are
connected with gaining skills for sound business planning,
marketing and advertising. The program “Student
Company” is the essential cross point where I managed
to show what I have learnt in different activities. During
its management I have learnt more about shares, about
sharing the capital, establishing the profit, making
different marketing strategies and creating a good team.
My communication skills have improved and I managed
to impress everyone with new skills and knowledge. I
gained different experience from each competition where
I took part. My abilities to work in a team have improved.
Marketing is one of the basic sciences which are presented
in the JAB activities. I can say that during the competitions
I cultivated my marketing skills and knowledge and
I am very proud of the results. With the help of the
student companies I developed very useful organizational
experience. The basic thing is to achieve good profit with
less expenses, I saw the finance field form a different
point of view as something necessary and easy. One of the
most important things for a successful business which I
learnt during my activities is to manage to cooperate and
adapt quickly to an unfamiliar environment. Owing to
these activities now I think in a more innovative way and
see different business opportunities everywhere. I see a
solution in every program.
What are your impressions from the work with
mentors in the programs?
I have taken part in JA’s “Student Company” program for
two years. During these two years we had mentors who
were all the time right next to us. One of the basic things
which a mentor has to do is to listen carefully to the
students and to see things from their point of view. During
these two years the business mentors of JAB were part
of our small family in the “Student company” program.
They believed in us and accepted our vision, supported
us all the way and taught us how to think innovatively.
Everyone gained different experience from the work with
mentors. For me personally, it helped me to improve my
team work, I learnt to listen to people, how to make good
presentations and how to think innovatively.
Alexander Panayotov, part of the company
“Parking Sector”, won the “Hyundai Brilliant Young
Entrepreneurs” award at the national JAB business
forum “Rising stars” in June 2014.
Alexander is a Computer science senior at the
Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics, Sofia
University. During the 2013/2014 academic year he
took part in “Start UP Program” and in “Manager
for a day”.
The company “Parking Sector” uses technology in
order to eliminate the problems associated with
finding a parking space.
What business experience did you gain as a
participant in JAB programs?
One of the most valuable advantages of JAB programs is
the practical experience in the world of business, which
I earned and continue to earn. I learnt what it is to be
an entrepreneur, how to start a business, what to pay
attention to in a startup company, how to recognize
business opportunity, how to structure a business model,
how to reach customers and clients. I also learnt how to
prepare a successful presentation and how to develop a
team. I got answers to these and many others questions
and all of this in the context of my project, my problems
and difficulties concerned with it. Another valuable thing
I got was the mindset! To build a startup company is
difficult and mistakes and failures are an integral part of
the path of an entrepreneur. I realized that it was not scary
to fail, but we must learn from our mistakes and move on.
Last but not least, I learned how to represent my business
effectively in order to find funding, attract investment
partners and others.
You won the Hyundai Brilliant Young Entrepreneurs
award, how it changed the business development
of your company? What is next for you and Parking
Firstly, the Hyundai award motivated us greatly! We
worked hard and therefore we were self-confident even
before we won it. However, to receive recognition from
such an innovative giant as Hyundai, as well as the
approval of prominent business people, further contributed
to the motivation and determination to develop a
great company and create a great product. There is no
doubt that our service is the future of the search and
management of parking spaces. Awarding us with the
prize of Hyundai shows that established professionals
with great experience share our faith for the future of our
Besides motivation and more enthusiasm for work, the
financial incentive allows us to be flexible and focus on
building a solid company and elegant product! Now we
can even use professional services associated with the
daily administrative activities of the company. This saves
time and gives us the opportunity to focus on the real
work. Having financial resources, we can plan costs and
development in the short and medium term.
through our Students
MENTOR INNOVATOR – Junior Achievement
Bulgaria Business Volunteers Program
JA Business Volunteers
The JAB Business Volunteers Program started in 2010
and aims to attract more business practitioners in the
classroom to improve the educational process. This is done
by sharing of experiences from the world of business and
converting theoretical knowledge into practice. Business
consultants who are included in this project must be open
to change, have fun while working with young people,
and have the desire and ability to share their personal and
professional experience with young people of all ages.
For the last year, Europe-wide more than 130,000 business
volunteers entered the classrooms, were mentors of
student companies, were consulting future entrepreneurs,
or were part of the jury in various initiatives and events. In
Bulgaria we reached the hearts of many business people
and were able to attract them to our cause. Now we
have over 80 enthusiastic professionals who support the
ideas of our students. You can see some of them in the
promotional short movie we released in 2014 – in JA’s
Today, we are looking for people who embrace the mission
of Junior Achievement – to develop and implement
entrepreneurship education programs for young people
through a partnership between business and education.
Today we invite you to become part of our network of
business volunteers and mentors, sharing your knowledge,
skills and time with the future young entrepreneurs in
Bulgaria! See how at:
“Working with these young and ambitious people is
very inspiring and gives you the feeling that you’re
doing something really meaningful. Because you see
how change happens. Because the satisfaction of
shared knowledge and experience is great.”
Gergana Pavlova, JAB volunteer and co-founder of
“I think that the overall contribution of all volunteers
who operate real businesses is primarily in the fact
that we gave the students confidence that their
ideas hold real opportunities and that business is not
just an exchange of money and resources. It is an
emotion you have to show attitude towards. We help
them to get closer to the real business conditions.
This helps the students to become a bit more
responsible and better at their work.”
Alexander Milanov, PR and marketing specialist,
Bulgarian Industrial Association
Ivaylo Hristov is one of the most successful
young entrepreneurs in Bulgaria and a prominent
IT specialist. Over 4 years ago he founded the
company Komfo (www.komfo.com) with the help
of three partners. The company has grown now up
to 50 people in Sofia and Copenhagen and over
30 people of those are talented IT specialists from
1. Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ivaylo, I am an entrepreneur, experienced IT
specialist and a teacher.
2. How did you take the decision to start your own
business and how did you come up with the idea?
Since I was little, I was an entrepreneur by heart. The
idea about Komfo was born 5 years ago, when I and
my partners saw the opportunity for development in
the social networks. We developed a suitable software
solution to the business’ needs. Our software is helping
companies regulate successfully their presence in the social
networks and make actual sells. Our system offers unique
settings from creation of applications, management of
the communication from many channels, optimization of
adverts and successful tracking of the business results.
3. How did you meet JAB?
I took part in JAB’s program “Student Company”. With
the help of a few colleagues and friends we created a
student startup. Our idea was not only recognized, but we
succeeded in making a profit. This competition put me in
a real life situation in which I and my team had to fight
to create a valuable and relevant idea, to draw attention
toward it and to be trustworthy. The competition gave
me the unique opportunity to face real life challenges in a
startup as well as realize whether I truly wanted to develop
as an entrepreneur in the future.
4. How would you define “entrepreneurship” and
what qualities should an entrepreneur possess in
Many people associate entrepreneurship with setting up
your own business. To my mind, entrepreneurship is a way
of thinking, both in personal and professional life. This is a
way of thinking that guides you to think outside the box,
to be ready to look at already existing models in a new
way and to continue to believe in your project even when
everybody around you tells you that this is impossible. The
entrepreneur is a person who is ready to put a lot of effort
in what he believes in – methodical and consistent effort. A
key element of the entrepreneurial way of thinking is being
ready to take risks.
5. What would you say to the people who start their
Hard work and a great deal of commitment are needed!
Do not stop in front of the obstacles and never give up!
The greatest problem for the people with startups is
exactly giving up too easily in front of obstacles, which are
everyday life in the entrepreneurship. As a matter of fact
coping with the obstacles is the thing that defines which
business is successful and which one is not.
6. What is it like to do business in Bulgaria,
speaking from your experience?
As in any other country, doing business in Bulgaria has
its advantages and disadvantages. I do not think that in
Bulgaria you cannot do business, even in some aspects it
is exactly the opposite. Business in Bulgaria is done! I can
give an example with Komfo, as a business that has been
started both in Denmark and in Bulgaria. At the moment
there are many opportunities in Bulgaria for financing a
startup thanks to the venture funds.
7. What is your recipe for success?
Hard work and bravery to overcome the difficulties and to
find solutions. Very often exactly these challenges are the
source of interesting opportunities for the entrepreneur.
8. What are your plans for the future?
To continue to work hard!
Ivaylo Hristov is one of the most
successful young entrepreneurs
in Bulgaria and a prominent IT
Georgi Kadrev is one of the founders and a manager
He says about himself that he has been working with
programming since he remembers himself.
“When I was 11, I started studying programming at a
center for extramural student activities in Ruse, where I am
from. This was a natural continuation of my interests in
math and electric engineering which my parents developed
in me since I was little.
Later in the mathematics high school, I continued to study
informatics and to take part and win different competitions
for programming on regional and national level.
In 2003, I started studying informatics at the Sofia
University and meanwhile I started working.
In 2007, I came up with the idea for a platform for
automatic search, recognition and comparison of
pictures, which can be a successful business,” says Kadrev.
“In the next year with a couple of friends we took part
and won a national competition for business planning. At
this time I was studying “Technological entrepreneurship”
in Sofia University, and I was taking part in a Junior
Achievement program”, shares Kadrev.
In 2008, he took part in the “Student Company/ Start
Up Program” where he won second place in the national
competition “Best student company in Bulgaria” with
In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, he took part in the
same program but this time as a teacher, as part of the
“Technological entrepreneurship” faculty team of Sofia
University. “This is something which brings me satisfaction
and awareness that I help young people to overcome their
fears and to avoid the mistakes which I have made”, says
“The next two years were spent in hard work in my
free time “at home” so that together with other new
contributors we managed to develop the platform in
the way it is now. In 2011, we received our first financial
support from an outside Greek fund Openfund, and in
2013 we received a next investment from the Bulgarian
LAUNCHub”, says Kadrev about the history of Imagga.
“Entrepreneurship is a mindset and a way of life. For me
entrepreneurship is to believe in something valuable
and to pursue it, regardless of the outside circumstances.
The successful entrepreneurs are those who are determined
to find an opportunity to create something which brings
real value for a lot of people, and to have the patience,
creativity and perseverance to realize it”, emphasize Kadrev.
On the question about the recipe for success, Kadrev
answers that everyone who is starting a business first has
to find something which excites them, something they can
easily learn to do and something which brings good for a
lot of people.
Ambition, self-awareness, readiness to change, passion,
and self-confidence bringing about the feeling that you
are doing something valuable, is the recipe for success
according to Georgi Kadrev.
“At the moment the team consists of seven employees
(four of them are co-founders). We also have two trainees,
one is from the American University in Blagoevgrad and
the other is from Temple University in Philadelphia. We are
actively working on our technology for automatic tagging
(with key words) of pictures and we are offering it as a
solution for businesses with lots of pictures, we have done
the same with our solution for automatic analysis of colors
and compositions of digital images.
Our clients are mainly from USA and Great Britain and
we are trying now to cope with the technical adventures,
our main task is to give a clear vision of the things we are
making in front of a big audience of potential clients –
there is an explosion of such clients because of the boom
of digital images made by cameras, phones, mini devices,
etc. in the recent several years”, explains Kadrev.
Georgi Kadrev and Imagga
“Entrepreneurship is to believe in
something valuable and to
Essay by Vanya Grozeva, who spent the day at
America for Bulgaria Foundation
“Manager for a day” is an event with many years
of history. I first heard about it on a TV commercial
in 2008. But then I was 8th grade – not old enough
to participate, with no idea about my future as a
professional and to become a manager was not a
dream or desire of mine. The event didn’t cause a
flutter of my heart and I did not apply.
Six years later I am old enough to apply. The moment
is appropriate because now I have clear goals and I
yearn to become a manager. This time the news of
the event moved me. This time I had the desire to
take part. And I applied. And the answer was not
So here is the day. Alarm. Morning toilet. No
breakfast and no coffee today. Make up. Suit. Dress
shoes. Bus. Metro. “Sheraton” hotel. Adherence to
these nine steps provided me with the testimonial for
my managerial position – the badge. This is a joke of
After the nine steps it was time for 9 o’clock – the
beginning of a working day. The opening ceremony
ended quickly. The working day began. I, however,
will not hurry to end. Smile.
At “Sheraton hotel” I was welcomed by five
representatives of America for Bulgaria Foundation
which I was selected to manage that day. There was
a photographer. Definitely as a guest manager I was
expected, awaited and photographed! One more
During the day in the office as a manager for a
day, I received useful lessons on how to extend my
managerial position. Here are the lessons.
The manager has the power of a master, but he
shouldn’t be overmastering. He should be respected
by his employees and he should be respectful
to them. He should be well informed and open-
minded. He should filter out the information and
his words should be concise and meaningful. The
manager has to balance between work and fun and
something very important – to eat regularly and
healthily. The manager has to listen, to be candid
with his employees and with himself as well. He
has to address constructive criticism but he has
to appreciate the efforts. The manager should
encourage the employees. He has to require but also
to give. The manager should be grateful. The list is
long, but it is not too long for a girl with a dream.
The working day is over. Closing ceremony quickly
puts the end of the event. My day of being a
manager is over. A new one begins. Alarm. Morning
toilet. Breakfast and tea. Jeans. Shirt. Comfortable
shoes. Walking. University… And the most important
– a list. Brand new nine steps. Adherence to these
new nine steps maybe will help my dream come true.
This is a joke or… it is not?
Here is the end of my essay. But this is not the end of
the new story that just began!
MANAGER FOR A DAY.