Innovation Station Brings Social Change in Bulgaria
Innovation Station: Social Change Starts Here -- the first-ever social entrepreneurship competition in Southwestern Bulgaria – will bring together socially conscious high school and university students on campus Feb. 7 - Feb.9. Organized by AUBG's Better Community Club, the event aims to motivate Bulgaria's youth to work on creating a better future for the country.
"We have been working on the idea of a social entrepreneurship competition for over a year," said Asya Velichkova, AUBG student and Better Community Club President. "Our strategy was to bring together talented students from all over Bulgaria and AUBG's top professors and the most successful NGOs in the country. This is how Innovation Station came to be. We want to launch the shuttle of social change together with the most courageous, smart and kind young people who are not indifferent to social problems and are ready to confront them and solve them. The whole team has been working tirelessly for months and we are sure that we will be able to turn the race into an annual tradition that creates a better future for Bulgaria."
"This social entrepreneurship competition is proof that there are smart, well-educated and enterprising people from Generation Z, people who care about the society they live in," said AUBG Professor Sabina Wien, who serves as Faculty Advisor to the Better Community Club. "The AUBG students worked day and night to organize the competition and I am sure their efforts will be successful. As long as young people are socially conscious, there will always be hope."
Over 50 students coming from all corners of Bulgaria will take part in the competition. The students will work on social problems in teams. They will receive mentorship from 12 non-governmental organizations: Arete Youth Foundation, University for Kids, Teach for Bulgaria, PINK Foundation, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Trust for Social Achievement, Ideas Factory, Active Bulgarian Society, the Bread Houses Network, Single Step, Khan Academy and the Public Environmental Center for Sustainable Development.
Members of the entire AUBG community have embraced the initiative. Representatives of AUBG's Acceleration Program Elevate will help the participants with insights on how to do a successful presentation while the Broadway Performance Club and Dance Crew will perform on stage. Bulgarian companies and AUBG alumni from near and far helped fund the event.
Jury at the competition will be social entrepreneur Kalinka Vasileva, Vanya Ananieva, who manages Intellect – the Schools for Languages, entrepreneur Sergio Espinoza, AUBG Professor Timothy Cleary who teaches business technology, AUBG alumnus, writer and journalist Daniel Penev ('16), marketing specialist and EMBA grad Georgi Malchev ('04) and EBRD policy officer Fidanka Bacheva-McGrath.
The big prize for the winning team will be a fully funded attendance at the International Forum for Social Entrepreneurship in Baku, Azerbaijan. There, the students will have the chance to meet change-makers from all around Europe and discuss the role of social entrepreneurship on the Old Continent.