StartUP@Blagoevgrad Conference 2021: A Glimpse into the Future
The annual StartUP@Blagoevgrad Conference, organized by AUBG students, invites progressive minds from Bulgaria and abroad to talk about the innovations in their fields. Channeling the theme of this year -- "A Glimpse into the Future", the speakers talked about the latest trends and developments on topics ranging from innovations in finance and cryptocurrency to biotechnology, sustainabilty and artificial intelligence. The hybrid event took place on Nov. 23 and the audience could either attend it in-person with a green pass at the Dr. Carl Djerassi Theater or watch a live streaming in partnership with Launchee.
The program of the StartUP Conference was divided in three panels. The first one focused on innovations in finance, AI and cryptocurrency, the second one featured experts on renewable energy, sustainability and aerospace, and the third one centered around the latest bio technologies, electric vehicles and robotics.
Teodora Vasileva, Vice-President and Co-Head of StartUp@Blagoevgrad, spoke about the major takeaways from the conference, saying that people who wish to achieve success need to learn as much as they can on crypto, blockchain and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). "Investment is changing,” Teodora said. “The concept of the universe around us is changing and we are going to a place where physical goods are no longer that important. NFT's great success in the market is just the beginning and its potential is so great and the opportunities are so vast."
Teodora also spoke about innovation in medicine and organ transplantation."Medical development is getting closer and closer to the sci-fi movies," she said. "After a decade, we will [probably] be able to 3D print functioning organs. From what we saw at the conference, it seem like in the future imagination will be the only limit, which I find both scary and fascinating!”
The conference gathered experts from all paths of life who shared practical knowledge with the students to inspire them for a more sustainable future. "[We] understood that you do not have to be fluent in computer languages in order to work with the developing technology, you just need the right mindset to implement what you need in your business," Teodora said. "This conference was like a stream of knowledge flowing from professionals in their particular fields. And I think this is the whole point of university clubs — to give the people the knowledge they need and to encourage them to follow their dreams and believe that they can turn into success stories!”
Traditionally, many Bulgarian and international companies partner with the student clubs at AUBG. Alexandra Dimcheva, Treasurer and Head of Sponsorship at StartUP@Blagoevgrad, explained the importance of the partnerships. “Making long-term relations with different companies is an integral part of sustaining the club over time,” Alexandra said. “Working on creating partnerships not only helps StartUP in financial terms, but also provides hands-on experience on how sales work in the real world. In such a way, the members of the club not only work for the AUBG community but have the chance to see how the AUBG community works for them too.”
“Depending on the department which a member is in, they gain new skills and learn to polish the ones they already have,” said Nikol Peeva, President of StartUP@Blagoevgrad. “For example, our Marketing department focuses on graphic design and social media marketing, and our IT department focuses on both front and back-end development. Members in the Sponsorship department solidify their sales skills, and those in Speakers build very strong communication skills. No matter what a member does, these skills are fully applicable to their professional career."
As a marketing freelancer and now a full-time employee of IBM, Nikol said she applies the skills she gained from the StartUP marketing department at her job. "We have actually noticed a pattern, which shows that the department of which a student is member, influences what job they get during university or post-graduation," she said. "No matter what industry a member pursues their professional career in, the time spent in StartUP and the experience they attain while organising our events mold them into a well-rounded professional ready to step foot into that industry."
“If I was to say one thing about the club this year, it is that they are absolutely the most hard-working team I could have wished for,” Nikol said. “Each member of the club brings something so original to the team and every single person has their very own creative spark. And when you put them all together, magic happens.”