Rising Stars Junior Achievement, Bulgaria competition for school and university student startups

Photo: jabulgaria.org

It was a hotly contested race for the top positions at the 11th startup forum Rising Stars organized by the Bulgarian branch of the Junior Achievement NGO in Sofia. 260 school and university students and over 150 education companies and startups took part in the regional competitions in the country which shortlisted 35 school and 12 university student companies for the final round. Their teams presented different technological products and new technologies targeted at protecting the environment and making use of various natural resources.

Here is Milena Stoycheva, CEO of Junior Achievement, Bulgaria, with the names of the award-winning companies and their projects:

“First place among the university student companies is the Sofia University team called Bevine. Their product is connected with developing a comprehensive solution for winemakers that provides constant data regarding soil and atmosphere indicators using sensors placed in the vineyard. On the basis of this data the vine growers follow recommendations – when and what action to take to protect their plantations. This will improve productivity and efficiency in winemaking and the best thing about it is that the company will be able to develop its product on other markets as well. That is the reason why they were selected to take part in the international Junior Achievement competition in Norway at the end of this month.

Second place went to another university startup – a mobile application that connects real estate buyers and sellers directly and helps in renting accommodation, bypassing the real estate broker and guaranteeing responsibility when offering this kind of service on the real estate market.

Third place in the best university student startup went to The HUB Ground‘s job-seeking platform for IT experts developed by students from the American University in Bulgaria. That is a pressing problem on the labour market and they can be highly successful in Bulgaria but also in other European countries. European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel awarded the EIT Raw Materials’ “Fostering innovation-drive entrepreneurship in the raw material sector in schools” prize to a team from the school of mathematics in Varna. It is called RE3D and manufactures a fiber for a 3D printer made out of recycled bottle caps.

The incentive award went to Incendio team from Plovdiv who came first in the school student startup category. Their product is connected with making plates out of maize leaves which are degradable. Their product also has the potential for international development and they will represent Bulgaria at the international competition of all school student startups from Europe that will take place in France under the patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron.”

With the Rising Stars forum, Junior Achievement is marking two important anniversaries – the centenary of the launch of the student company programme and the centennial anniversary of the organization itself, founded in Boston in 1919. 100 years later the organization has never swerved from its target of supporting the development of education and the talents of the people who want to upgrade their skills in various spheres.

“Our organization is working towards establishing entrepreneurial education which includes way of thinking, conduct, skills, overall competences,” says Milena Stoycheva and adds that the initiatives of Junior Initiative, Bulgaria, set up in 1997, have proven their effectivity, with 30,000 students taking part in its programmes every year.


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