SPREAD2INNO Press Release Second Innovation Academy – Bulgaria

SPREAD2INNO: Startup Innovation in Sofia, Bulgaria

One week after the first SPREAD2INNO Innovation Academy in Bologna, Italy, the second Academy took place in Sofia, Bulgaria, from 20-21 June, 2024. As part of the SpinOff Conference hosted by SpinOff Bulgaria, the SPREAD2INNO partner Cleantech Bulgaria invited the second set of winning startups from the local events to be part of a buzzing event centred around innovation, deep tech
and technology transfer.

Within the SPREAD2INNO Academy, startups participated in a series of insightful workshops, talks and activities, aiming to equip them with the skills needed to boost their innovations and bring their startups to the next level. The following programme was organised for the SPREAD2INNO Innovation Academy in Sofia: 

One-to-one meetings

SPREAD2INNO partners hosted one-on-one meetings for the participating startups, providing expert advice and individual insights. Topics covered included roadmaps to future milestones, tech due diligence, business model design, and public and private funds. In order to tailor the meeting specifically to the needs of the individual participants, the consortium prepared and deliveredbfeasibility studies to the startups beforehand. This ensured that the discussions provided maximum support for each individual startup.

Workshop: Business Model Strategies

As effective business models are crucial for startups not only to achieve entry into the market, but also in terms of long-term growth
and competitiveness, Katrin Singer-Coudoux from Fraunhofer IPK hosted a workshop on business model strategies. The workshop aimed to provide startups with necessary information and skills to navigate and thrive within the economic landscape of the EU.

Workshop: EU Funding Programmes

The workshop on EU funding programmes, hosted by Beatrice Sigurtà from Teseas, focused on EU opportunities for startups within the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and NextGenerationEU. A specific focus was put on space and the European Space Programme.

SPREAD2INNO Pitch Session & Award Ceremony

At the core of the SPREAD2INNO Innovation Academy was an exciting pitching session, where the invited startups were able to present their business concepts to an expert audience. On the second day, the three startups that stood out at the competition were awarded their tickets to the third and final phase of the SPREAD2INNO Acceleration Programme.
Congratulations to Solumar, SaferPLACES and Dataphoria!

Keynote Speech: Access to Finance and Funding Possibilities

In this Keynote Speech by Mohamed Fakihi, Investor and Bulgarian Angels Club member, participants were able to learn more about
startup funding and different sources such as venture capital, angel investors, and crowdfunding. The speech also went into the importance of networking strategies, financial forecasting, revenue projection and expense management.

Workshop: European Innovation Ecosystems

The workshop on European innovation ecosystems, hosted by Damir Haskovic from MINDS & SPARKS, gave startups insights into procurement opportunities in public and private sectors. Participants learned more about the innovation procurement landscape and the Innovation Procurement Marketplace.

Panel: Exploring Growth Paths and Opportunities for Startups/Spinoffs

On the second day, the Innovation Academy was closed with a panel discussion on paths and opportunities for startups and spinoffs.
SPREAD2INNO partners came together to share and discuss their insights into this topic, providing valuable information for the participating startups.

This second SPREAD2iNNO Innovation Academy was a successful closing of the second phase of the SPREAD2INNO Acceleration Programme, which will be followed by the third and final phase in autumn 2024. 

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