5 Ideas Won Awards in the Best NGO Business Plan Competition
5 Ideas Won Awards in the Best NGO Business Plan Competition
03 February 2017
On February 2nd 2017 in Vivacom Art Hall, Sofia was held the official award ceremony for the winners in the 6th Annual Competition for the Best NGO Business Plan. It is organized as part of the NGO Entrepreneurship Program carried out by the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law (BCNL) in cooperation with UniCredit Foundation and the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

"We are proud of this Program because it has proven for the 6 years in which we have organized it that the best thing in it are the opportunities: for the participants – to find support to develop their ideas; for our partners – to support inspiring social businesses; and for us – to develop the potential of NGOs for entrepreneurship and to stimulate them to look for financial sustainability."
, stated Luben Panov, member of the Board of BCNL and director of the NGO Entrepreneurship Program.

Maurizio Carrara, Chairman of UniCredit Foundation, said:"Solidarity and civil commitment, supported by innovative projects, can be translated into modern sustainable and competitive business. In this sense, supporting and investing in social entrepreneurship in Bulgaria can also help to create concrete opportunities to access to the labor market and this gives new directions to make a change regarding the employment issue".

This year's jury was composed of:

•    Anna Cravero (UniCredit Foundation)
•    Veselka Vutkova (Vivacom)
•    Violeta Nedeva (America for Bulgaria Foundation)
•    Krum Alexiev (UniCredit Bulbank)
•    Maria Cherneva (Bulgarian National Television)
•    Metodia Chadikovski (Roche)
•    Ralitsa Krasteva (Siemens)
•    Diana Todorova (SAP)
•    Yana Balnikova (Telus International)

Winners in the competition (prize 7000 BGN each):

•    Maria's World Foundation – the prize will be used to develop the catering services and the "Svetove" ("Worlds") café as a chance for supporting the employment of young people with disabilities.
•    „Eyes on four paws" Foundation - their idea is to create a hotel for dogs, which provides care for pets in the period when their owners travel. The profit will be invested in support of Foundation's programs for training dog guides for blind people.
•    "Animus Association" Foundation – the received support will be used to open a foodplace "Blaga Baba Blaga", which will offer home made snacks made by single elderly women or women victims of violence.
•    Sea club "Friends of the sea" – Varna will develop in a sustainable manner the activities of the social enterprise "Together on board." It provides vocational training courses in marine specialties "Diver" and "Leader of vessels up to 40 GT at sea", where 20% of the revenues are invested in similar, but free vocational training courses for young people without parents from poor families and unemployed young people.
•    Association "IDEA" will start catering services, which are going to enhance the chances for the Social tearoom to employ young people who grew up in social and economic exclusion.

This is the 6th annual edition of the program and its aim is to stimulate NGOs to start mission-related business activities. In this year's edition of the program 59 NGOs applied with their business ideas from more than 20 cities and villages across the country. After the selection process, 22 out of them joined the program, where they had business planning and presentation giving trainings. 17 of them developed their business plans and presented them in front of the jury.

For a second consecutive year, as part of the award ceremony, we also organized a Bazaar of social enterprises, with many of our previous contestants that have been part of the program throughout the years. Twenty five organizations had the chance to present themselves and their products before the wider audiences, as well as representatives of the NGO and business sectors.

Additional information about the participants in the Bazaar, which have been supported by the NGO Entrepreneurship Program

•    "HOPe SOAP" workshop of the Foundation for social change and inclusion makes boutique soaps, as well as their newest entrepreneurship initiative "Hope Restaurant". The workshop`s mission, as well as the restaurants, is to support disadvantaged young people to develop their own labor skills and find a job.

•    "Hug me" Art Atelier of "Hug me" Association, Sofia, produces art objects and books. On the Bazaar they presented their angels collation. The mission of the Atelier is to reveal the creative potential of children and young people from the social institutions; thus overcoming the discriminatory attitudes towards them.

•    "Betel" Foundation, Sofia, manages a workshop for restoration of old furniture. Its mission is to help people in their fight with various types of addictions.

•    At the Bulgarian society for birds protection they  manufacture badges and identification guides for birds in support of the two environmental protection centers that are governed by the BSPB - Poda and Eastern Rhodopes

•    "Concordia" Atelier of "Concordia – Bulgaria" Foundation, manufactures ceramic products and decorative candles. Its mission is to encourage the employment of people from vulnerable groups.

•    "Cancer patients and friends" Association from the city of Burgas has a workshop for making dolls and souvenirs, which is used as a method for overcoming the stress and negative emotions of women cancer patients.

•    Young people with intellectual disabilities are making martenitzas, souvenirs and glycerin soaps in "Maria`s Worlds" Foundation, Sofia. The mission of the foundation is to support the young people to have a more successful labor realization, including through supported employment programs and intermediation for employment.

•    "Hrankoop" Cooperative, Sofia, presented within the bazaar baskets of various farm products.

•    "Listen up" Foundation works to support the complete integration of deaf people in to the society. They showed to the public their service for video sign language translation in real time.

•    Association "Riviera" – the Association has a workshop employing young people with intellectual disabilities and at the Bazaar they presented souvenirs and their latest series of martenitsi.
•    Studio "Alos" – they are currently participants in the program. "Alos" is building an educational program for digital art, directed towards children.

•    Foundation "Gender Alternatives" works for the protection of women and girls in all spheres of public and private life, so that they have the opportunity to realize their potential.

•    The social enterprise of the National Alliance for working with Volunteers supports women, who have not completed their secondary education, nor have qualifications or work experience, to be integrated as part of the labor market.

•    Sea club "Friends of the Sea" - Varna prepares unemployed young people and youngsters without parents for various sea related fields with the aim of their realization to the labor market.

•    Focus of the Association "Step by Step" is the support of youth initiatives, sports, development of entrepreneurship and innovation.

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