The Program

ABLE Activator offers an exclusive 6-weekend entrepreneurship program that provides 30 ambitious self-starters with the knowledge, mentorship and network necessary to propel an idea to fruition.

Adopt the entrepreneurial way of thinking and strengthen your leadership qualities.

Toolkit

Learn how do develop a breakthrough idea and develop it into a ready-to-launch version.

Knowledge

Get access to business know-how and learn how to apply the lean approach in each new venture.

Opportunities

Become proficient at pitching to investors, potential future co-founders, accelerators and customers.

Mentors

Get tailored advice relevant to your project's needs from successful entrepreneurs.

Gain the skill-set and key competences to bring meaningful impact in every project you pursue.

Join ABLE and develop meaningful connections with the other members of the community and its wider network of partners and contacts.

Ecosystem

Expand your network to include successful founders and investors.

ABLE Community

Meet like-minded achievers and, potentially, your future co-founders.

ARE YOU READY TO ACTIVATE?

Schedule

Module 1

15-17 October 2021

3 full days

Location outside of Sofia

Leadership Mindset & Entrepreneurship 

The 1st module of the program is designed to introduce you to the broad definition of the diverse topic of entrepreneurship. You’ll learn about the different types of leadership and management styles and their key differentiating factors. We’ll use real life examples and tackle biases and filters that narrow our horizons, and address some common misconceptions regarding start-up ideas and entrepreneurship. In addition, during this long weekend, you’ll meet some of the most successful Bulgarian entrepreneurs, who will share their guiding principles for building a solid foundation for your future ventures. 

Module 1 is very intensive. It takes place at an undisclosed location outside of Sofia with activities starting from 9 am in the morning until 9 pm in the evening.

Leadership & Management Styles

Teamwork & Collboration

EQ & Enhanced Self-understanding

Start-up Idea Generation

Module 2

23-24 October 2021

2 days, first event starts on Friday at 7pm and sessions continue throughout the whole weekend

Location: Sofia

Start-up Immersion 

Module 2 is dedicated to Start-up Immersion and is when the final teams are formed. Participants will present project ideas they’ve come up with and, based on their interests and skillset, group in teams of 4-6 members. 

In module 2 , we will explore the lean methodology behind aligning your team’s idea with the market needs and engage in a series of exercises meant to help you gain actionable feedback from potential customers and build a solid foundation for a successful venture. We will present case-studies from successful companies and talk about some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that you need to keep an eye for when drafting and testing your market hypothesis. In addition, we will have workshops on communicating your product or service’s value, and the importance of testing and validating each hypothesis along the project development journey. 

Aligning Your Idea With The Market Needs

Problem Validation Experiments

Conducting Customer Interviews

Team Formation

We skip a weekend to take a breather

Module 3

5-7 November 2021

3 full days

Location: Sofia

Value Creation 

Module 3 is designed around creating a customer-centric product or service. This is the most intense weekend in the program.

We will have a workshops on Value proposition and Design thinking where you will learn how to ensure that your product or service is positioned around the customer values and needs by using prototypes to learn, test and refine concepts.  We will also talk about how you can define your ideal customers and the best ways to reach them. 

Here is when we’ll introduce the business mentors who will work individually with each team, and provide guidance and advice throughout the program. 

Value Proposition

Design Thinking

Team Synergy

Mentor Introduction

Module 4

13-14 November 2021

2 days, first event starts on Friday at 7pm and sessions continue throughout the whole weekend

Location: Sofia

Business Model, Pricing and Go To Market (2 days)

In Module 4, we will explore the different aspects that we need to take into account in order to introduce a sustainable model to support the project We will introduce different approaches and methods to price setting, and how you can get the most value from the product or service you’re selling.

In the Go-to-Market workshop we will talk about the ways you can utilize your inside and outside resources to deliver your unique value proposition to customers and achieve competitive advantage. With multiple simulations and team work assignments, we will explore keystone GTM concepts, from defining the bullseye frameworks and unique selling propositions of various companies, to examining the degree of product-market-fit of each of the teams’ startup idea. 

Each team will get the chance to deliver their first pitch in front of a hand-picked jury of representatives of the Bulgarian startup ecosystem and get useful feedback on their progress, and how they could improve different aspects of their projects. Throughout the program, there will be a total of 4 pitching sessions in front of a jury, plus a Grand rehearsal and the consequent final Demo day.  

Business Modeling

Product-market Fit

Go-to-market Strategy

Pricing Strategy

We skip a weekend to take a breather

Module 5

20-21 November 2021

2 days, first event starts on Friday at 7pm and sessions continue throughout the whole weekend

Location: Sofia

Marketing, Sales & Negotiations (2 days)

In module 5 we will focus on your  project’s overall game plan for reaching prospective consumers and turning them into customers of your product or service. We will have a panel dedicated to Marketing strategy and Storytelling, where building on your value proposition, we will explore how marketing can help you fuel growth and help you reach the most effective way. 

Our Sales workshop will provide you with insights on the sales process and what makes a great salesman. From connecting and building long-lasting relationships with potential customers to creating and maintaining strategic partnerships, we will talk about the drivers which enable a company to position itself and its offering in a meaningful way.

Networking and adopting a spirit of inclusiveness is an integral part of ABLE Activator. We want you to feel confident when stepping on the stage in front of the jury at the final Demo Day, which is why in the last weekend before the final pitch, we will hold a networking session with program alumni to help you prepare and answer any questions you may have.

Marketing & Storytelling

Sales

Negotiations

Networking

One additional week to prepare and expand on the feedback from the last pitching session and the lessons drawn from the panels in Module 5. On the following Tuesday and Wednesday is when we will have the Grand rehearsal and the pearl of the program - the final Demo day.

Demo Day

1 December 2021

Wednesday, 7pm

Location: Sofia

Demo Day

The Demo Day is the culmination of ABLE Activator. This is when the teams deliver their final pitches in front of a specially selected jury of industry leaders and representatives of the Bulgarian start-up ecosystem with proven success track record.

Each team will have 5 minutes to showcase their product or service, after which we’ll dive into a 2-minute Q&A session aimed to clear any further questions that the members of the Jury may have.  Each project’s  potential, progress and impact will be measured and the Best-performing team for the current edition will be announced.

The day is a celebration of everything that the teams accomplish throughout the program: self-exploration, team formation and the hard work necessary to fuel progress; the achievement of first milestones such as an MVP, first customers or revenue. It’s about the pure grit, drive and determination that the team goes through in order to create something new and innovative, and, hopefully, something with the right product-market fit to deliver positive impact. 

Grand Final Pitch Event

Hand-picked Jury from the Start-up Ecosystem

Representatives of the ABLE Community, Sponsors & Partners

Announcement of the Best-performing Team

Module 6

3-5 December 2021

3 full days

Location outside of Sofia

Welcome to the ABLE Community

Module 6 is all about fun and networking – we want to give you, all the graduates of ABLE Activator, the chance to get to know the members of the ABLE community better.  We will also hold an official ceremony where we will present each graduate of the program with their well-deserved certificate. You will also be invited to join the Association of the Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs and become part of the most active entrepreneurial society in Bulgaria. 

Welcome to the Community Retreat

Graduation Ceremony

Certificate Giveaway

Team Building Activities

Wednesday sessions

Apart from them weekend and Friday evening activities, during the course of the program we will hold additional Wednesday events, some of which exclusive only for participants of ABLE Activator. These events are designed to acquaint you with the stories behind the successful companies from the Bulgarian startup ecosystem, expand your network of contacts, and supplement your knowledge and understanding on different topics with regard to leadership and entrepreneurship.

Each Wednesday, we will host a different guest and give you the chance to get to know their stories better in a dedicated  Q&A session. Some of our guest speakers have been Daniel Lorer (Маnaging Partner at BrightCap Ventures), Genoveva Christova (Co-founder of Ligna Group),  Ned Dervenkov (Vice Chairman of the board of BESCO – The Bulgarian Start-up Association), Todor Gigilev (Founder of DreamX), Nikola Yanev (Marketing Manager at Eleven venture) and others.

Scholarships

ABLE Activator aims to promote entrepreneurial culture and the adoption of leadership skills early in the career path amongst university students of all backgrounds and fields of study.  

We believe that students need to be encouraged  to pursue their passions, and be given the toolset to build and develop meaningful and impactful projects as early in their professional life as possible. For this reason we provide a total  of  3 full and 5 half-free scholarships for the most prominent students.  If you want to be considered for a scholarship, please indicate so it in the specified field in the application form 

Participation fee

The early signup fee is 490 BGN, which increases to 590 BGN after the early signup deadline expires. For information on the early signup deadline for the current edition of ABLE Activator, follow this link to the Apply page.

The participation fee is discounted from 820 BGN due to the COVID-19 and our continuous effort to support the proactive self-starters, who aim to bring positive change in the world. 

 The fee mainly covers expenses  for the weekends outside of Sofia, including the final retreat. However, there are more costs embedded in the program which we cover through active fundraising and partnerships, including renting spaces, providing lunches, snacks and beverages for the coffee breaks, materials and many more. Furthermore, all our lectors, mentors and organizing team are donating their time, experience and expertise to deliver a high quality program. Therefore,  your strong commitment and dedication are appreciated in return.

There is also a staggered payment option, which allows for you to pay the participation fee in 2 installments – the 1st one before the beginning of the program, and the 2nd one a month into the program. 

The Ideal Candidates

We want to enable top achievers develop their full potential, chase after their dreams and turn their ideas into working projects.

The program is open to university students in theirs 2nd year of study or above and young professionals under 35 years of age.

Problem Solvers

Proactive solution-hunters on the lookout for new and creative ways to resolve an issue.

Challenge Seekers

Embrace difficulties with an open mindset and aim to bring value through creativity and innovation.

Determined Self-starters

Those who aspire to be entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, and bring impactful ideas to life.

ARE YOU READY TO ACTIVATE?

FAQ

We plan to conduct the program in an entirely offline environment. Before applying, we advise you to read through our measures for ensuring the health safety of everyone involved. 

The core trainings of the program take place outside the standard working hours. With the exception of Module 1 and 3 which are 3-day long (either Friday or Monday plus the following or respectively previous weekend), Modules 2, 4, 5 and 6 each start with a session on Friday evening (7-9 pm) and continue throughout the weekend.

In addition to these sessions, we host additional events each Wednesday, which are designed to acquaint you with the stories behind the successful companies from the Bulgarian startup ecosystem, expand your network of contacts, and supplement your knowledge and understanding on different topics regarding leadership and entrepreneurship. The Wednesday sessions aren’t mandatory, but we strongly advise you to attend, as they’re packed practical content and exercises which you can greatly benefit from.

Your presence at the core trainings of ABLE Activator is required as the program is very intense and missing any of the Friday or weekend sessions will greatly impact your progress. Any applicant unable to attend more than 90% of the classes is advised to postpone their participation for a following edition of the program. If you have any other specific questions regarding attendance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us through the contact form on the website.

Not necessarily. The aim of ABLE Activator is to develop each participant’s entrepreneurial mindset, enhance their leadership potential, and teach the methodology behind developing a successful venture. In module 2 all the participants will group into teams of 4-6, based on which start-up idea they choose to pursue. Those ideas will be generated by you, the participants in the program, and are not preselected by us.

In a special session during module 3 all the teams will pitch their ideas to each mentor after which, based on the project specifics and the experience and expertise of the mentors, the best team-mentor fit will be decided. All the mentors that we work with are successful professionals with solid entrepreneurial background and will help you with insights and advice, and guide you along the way of developing your idea.

Demo Day is the culmination of ABLE Activator. It is the final event where you and your team will pitch the project you’ve been working on over the past 2 months in front of our partners, distinguished guests and, of course, a handpicked jury of representatives from the start-up ecosystem. Each project will be evaluated by specific criteria and at the end of the event the best-performing team will be announced.

If you’re a student in your 2nd year of study (or above) or a professional under 35 years of age, you can apply by filling in the application form here. In addition to providing some basic details, you will also need to prepare 2 essays – one describing your entrepreneurial idea and a motivational letter describing why you’re the best candidate for the program and how it would benefit your personal and professional development.

The application process is divided into 2 parts: a written application (for more information you can refer to the above section) and an oral interview.


We will send you updates and further instructions for each step of the application process via email. We work with an independent team for the evaluation of your written applications and only the top 50 candidates will be invited for an oral interview.

The participation fee for ABLE Activator is designed to be 820 BGN However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the past year has been full of challenges, and has led our way of life to change dramatically. The changes we have witnessed proved that the entrepreneurial spirit that people possess makes them ready to face any obstacles that appear before them. Our continuous effort is to support the proactive self-starters, who aim to bring positive change in the world and for this reason, we’ve decided to reduce the tuition fee to 590 BGN until 2021. If you apply before 20th August, you will have the opportunity to pay the reduced price of 490 BGN.

There is also a staggered payment option, which allows for you to pay the participation fee in 2 installments – the 1st one before the beginning of the program, and the 2nd one a month into the program.

We offer 3 full and a limited number of partial scholarships for the top-performing students and young professionals with limited incomes. We’ve included a section on scholarships in the application form.

There is also a staggered payment option which allows for the participation pee to be paid in 2 separate installments.

We encourage all applicants to reapply for the program, if they don’t get selected for the current edition of ABLE Activator. It wouldn’t be precedent for a candidate to not pass the selection process the first time, but be chosen as an Activator for a following edition of the program.