Social Entrepreneurship in Sofia Bulgaria 26-27/6/2018

Social Entrepreneurship in Sofia Bulgaria 26-27/6/2018

Ron Beirens
Lecturer entrepreneurship TQM personal finance at the advanced bachelor international management
Vives Kortrijk Belgium

Jef Tavernier
Lecturer social entrepreneurship
Vives Kortijk Belgium

We had never been to Sofia Bulgaria before, among the few things we knew about was the wonderful exhibition about the gold of the Thracians. Bulgaria has 7.3 million inhabitants and has a GDP per capita of $ 8064. That is roughly one fifth of the GDP of countries like Belgium, Germany, Finland and France. Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007. According to official figures 12.5 per cent of the population is working abroad. This is the highest percentage in Europe. According to our partners in Sofia the real percentage is much higher. But there seems to be promising activity in Fintech.

The Cyrillic alphabet

I thought I would be lost with the Cyrillic alphabet. The Cyrillic alphabet was developed by a monk named St. Cyril – hence the name. For tourists it could be a major difficulty, but they are so kind to add Latin names in a smaller font under the Cyrillic name.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

We had to brush up our very limited history knowledge of Bulgaria. We remembered the name Alexander Nevsky. He rose to legendary status on account of his military victories over German and Swedish invaders while agreeing to pay tribute to the powerful Golden Horde. Metropolite Macarius canonized him as a saint of the Russian Orthodox Church in 1547.

Our role in Social Entrepreneurship


The innoventer center’s mission is: “In view of the common needs and challenges of the Balkan-Mediterranean area such as slow growth, weak competitiveness, low levels of entrepreneurship and a lack of innovative entrepreneurial training in the field of vocational training and non-formal learning, the project INNOVENTER combines strengths and opportunities of the partners to address these challenges by creation of a learning framework to promote social entrepreneurs competences and skills”

We were invited as observers for the INNOVENTER Social Entrepreneurship programme. We presented the Impact driven business model and links with Social Entrepreneurship. From our experience with the ECMT+ project we were able to contribute to the project.

We also made recommendations for the training programme and for the further development of the INNOVENTER programme. Afterwards we contributed further by collecting examples from Social Entrepreneurship for people with working disabilities, web-based data on Social Entrepreneurship and videos. We found an interesting toolkit that is useful for training for secondary schools and higher education. ECOOPE, a project co-funded by the European Union that intends to spread cooperative entrepreneurship as a viable tool for European youth, an online library of guides and resources on cooperative entrepreneurship teaching developed by the ECOOPE consortium.

The pack will prove useful to teachers and Professors (vocational training and guidance, secondary schools, University, Business Administration, Social Economy, Entrepreneurship…), co-operatives, future entrepreneurs and individuals interested in alternative ways of creating employment. It includes the following documents:

We recommend you visit the website and download the extremely useful material ECOOPE toolkit.
You can download all of them by clicking here: Complete Toolkit or

Ron Beirens (left) Jef Tavernier (right) observers for the workshop

More details in our next blog.
Ron Beirens and Jef Tavernier