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accelerators and incubators from Bulgaria by vestbee
11 August 2022·5 min read

Valerie Stupnikova


Best Startup Accelerators And Incubators In Bulgaria

The Bulgarian VC and startup ecosystem has been steadily developing for the last two decades. As the country joined the EU and received access to its funding and economic benefits, new market players emerged, such as VC funds (like well-known Eleven Ventures and LAUNCHhub), innovative startups, and accelerators providing them opportunities for growth. What’s more, Bulgaria is a country that’s open to innovation and development, ranking 35 in the Global Innovation Index 2021 and creating a good environment for the development of disruptive businesses and innovative solutions.  

With that said, let's have a look at some of the most active Bulgarian accelerators shaping the startup scene. 

Innovation Starter Accelerator

Geography: Bulgaria
Preferred industries: education, healthcare digitalization, transport and logistics, FMCG, care for the elderly, eco-innovations
Funding options: €10K-€60K
Company stage: pre-seed

Innovation Starter Accelerator, owned by a Bulgarian Innovation agency, Innovation Starter, supports emerging Bulgarian startups with private capital. It provides equity and quasi-equity financing to innovative startups that focus on critical sectors in the Bulgarian economy. Additionally, Innovation Starter helps through vertical and horizontal integration with international and local businesses within three months. To get accepted, startups need to operate in Bulgaria, have their own supply process and product patent, a well-defined strategy, and a validated approach to one of the key sectors of the economy. 

Bulgaria Innovation Hub's Growth Acceleration

Geography: Bulgaria
Preferred industries: business services, energy, healthcare, social impact, financials, communication services, IT, education and parenting
Startup benefits: $10K AWS credits and $80K in additional products and services
Company stage: undisclosed

Bulgarian Innovation Hub is a private foundation that supports Bulgarian tech startups by offering acceleration. In addition, BIH promotes Bulgaria as a business and cultural attraction to the US market. The Growth Acceleration is an equity-free 3-week program conducted online or in person in San Francisco. It offers 27 workshops, access to the investor network and community resources, and guidance from Silicon Valley experts. 

Sofia Tech Park

Geography: Bulgaria
Preferred industries: information and communication technologies, life sciences, clean and green energy
Company stage: stage-agnostic

Sofia Tech Park is a state-owned initiative aiming to support Bulgaria-based startups and enterprises and improve the country's science, education, and innovation systems. The project offers an incubator that includes investment funds and educational organizations; a forum that organizes thematic events; and a laboratory complex with 11 labs for research and development. Additionally, Sofia Tech Park has a club, where startups present their products and services in front of club members, and a coworking space. And as for the investments, the project established partnerships with Bulgarian and foreign VC funds, angel-investor clubs, and organizations that support tech development in Bulgaria, like Endeavour Bulgaria, Innovation Starter Box, Tech Tour Global, and more.

Cleantech Bulgaria

Geography: global
Preferred industries: green industry, environment, science, education
Company stage: stage-agnostic

Cleantech Bulgaria is a business network that partners with the EU initiatives operating in sustainable energy and climate change, Climate-KIC, and InnoEnergy. The organization supports SMEs, businesses, universities, and governmental institutions in strategic partnership development, project and business management, and pilot projects. Additionally, Cleantech Bulgaria finances tech startups and organizes various initiatives and programs, like the Light Bootcamp, which is part of the Tech2Market accelerator program. The camp includes online courses and webinars for manufacturing startups. 

Black Sea Clim Accelerator

Geography: Bulgaria and Romania
Preferred industries: cleantech, circular economy, green transport, clean manufacturing, recycling projects, sustainable buildings, etc. 
Grant: €300K
Company stage: early-stage, MVP, growth

Black Sea ClimAccelerator is organized by EIT Climate-KIC. It is a three-stage project lasting a year under Climate-SAFE, a so-called Simple Agreement for Future Equity. The accelerator aims to tackle climate change issues by offering funding, mentorship, workshops, and expert advice throughout the program. Startups in the validation phase will get a two-month training, green companies will receive support with the idea development, and companies in the advanced stage can expect mentor support for the scaling phase. 

Bosch Startup Harbour

Geography: Bulgaria
Preferred industries: sensor-based networks, AI, green tech, physical workplaces & metaverse
Company stage: early-stage

German Bosch is expanding its scope to other European countries and organizing a funding program in Bulgaria. Bosch Startup Harbour holds two projects, Berlin Scholarship Program and a Co-Innovation Track in Bulgaria. The track offers mentoring, collaboration, matchmaking, and access to resources and know-how.

Eastern Europe Virtual 2022 

Geography: online
Preferred industries: undisclosed
Entrance fee: €449
Company stage: pre-seed

Founder Institute is an international organization that helps startups organize acceleration programs and raise funding. Eastern Europe Virtual is a four-month virtual program that includes feedback sessions with mentors, access to backend course tools, and virtual networking. The invited experts are from such businesses as Eleven Ventures, UiPath, Balkan Capital, Sofia Angels Ventures, Microsoft, Amazon, and more.  

Able Activator

Geography: Bulgaria
Preferred industries: undisclosed
Participation fee: 590 BGN (for students), 790 BGN (for young professionals)
Company stage: idea-stage

Able Activator is a 6-week entrepreneurship program providing mentorship, business know-how, networking, and access to the Able community. The program includes six modules covering leadership and management styles, problem validation experiments, value proposition, design thinking, pricing strategy, go-to-market strategy, and more. Additionally, Able Activator includes a demo day and offers a scholarship. 

Beyond Pre-Accelerator

Geography: global
Preferred industries: digital innovations in healthcare and medicine, smart cities & urban mobility, creative industries
Participation award: €5K 
Company stage: idea-stage

Beyond pre-accelerator helps create world-class innovations, targeting entrepreneurs that want to develop lean technology startups. The program ensures its members with resources to build MVP and lecturers from MIT, Stanford, or Berkeley. Additionally, Beyond provides mentorship, connections with VC funds, business angels, and a robust ecosystem of partners in the EU. Plus, the pre-accelerator program awards participation in a startup festival in Europe, Gen-E, to represent Bulgaria. The nearest application process is planned for September 2022. 

Related Posts:

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Best Startup Accelerators and Incubators In Slovenia (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)

Best Startup Accelerators and Incubators In Estonia (by Dorota Potępa, Community Builder, Vestbee)

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