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Advance CSO Sustainable Growth

30 November 2022

We believe that the vibrant civil society – independent, active, robust - helps the democratic institutions we elect to provide fair opportunities for all in a transparent way. Our vision is that CSOs can be autonomous and resilient, be both a corrective and a partner of the institutions, protecting our rights and freedoms and driving the development of our society. In this crisis of the decade and region, the organizations of the civic society will be the ones to help reduce the impact of disinformation, propose solutions that help communities take next steps and make progressive decisions, and, through dialogue, strengthen democratic institutions.

Resume of the project:

We work in a very complex political and social environment that will continue to be influenced by hybrid attacks. In this crisis of the decade and the region, CSOs will be the ones who will help reduce the influence of disinformation and will propose advanced decisions that help communities to develop.


The solutions we propose are focused on investing efforts to the advancement of civil society organizations along 3 main directions of action:

  • Increase support for developing cross-sectoral entrepreneurial collaborations;
  • Response to attacks by building more resilient and authoritative CSOs with a stronger narrative that reaffirms civil society’s role as a key driver of our society;
  • Scale-up the recognition of CSOs work.

I.     Unlocking the potential of social enterprises by building up the Entrepreneurship for NGOs Program and fostering cross-sectoral entrepreneur collaborations.

1)    Building up the Entrepreneurship for Non-Profit Organizations Program

Level 1: Start-up business program (for beginners): will support small teams to start-up their entrepreneurial ideas. Through trainings, mentoring and meetings with businesses we will build motivation for more organizations to find mission related social business activities that they can start.

Level 2: Scale-up business program (for advanced): will boost already developed SEs and those who have passed the first level to scale-up their potential.

2)    Foster cross-sectoral entrepreneur collaborations

We will explore and propose new opportunities for SEs to establish sustainable partnerships that will help their growth:

  • Facilitating collaborations between SEs and small businesses to set up joint ventures
  • Facilitating connection between SEs and companies on social procurement
  • Establishing joint venture model for SEs management

BCNL will enlarge its social entrepreneurship activities by launching a new joint venture opportunity -  a physical shop which will operate as a Hub where SEs that have passed through the Entrepreneurship for Non-Profit Organizations Program and currently are part of the DarPazar online platform will have their own space to share resources, clients and risks (resource sharing and co-management).

3) Promoting inspiring stories of SEs


II. Improving the environment for CSOs

In fulfilling its mission, BCNL will continue its efforts to work and advocate for an enabling legal environment and enabling digital civic space where citizens can enjoy their right to freedom of association:

1)    Enabling legal environment

To ensure the enabling legal environment, we will maintain our policy watchdog function and carry out joint campaigns.

2)    Enabling digital civic space

Our priority is to ensure that participation in the digital age is not just mediated by online tools but is empowered and enhanced by them. We target the establishment of safeguards, so the trustworthy technologies development that ensure the participation is effective, that our rights are not abused and digital environment is inclusive.  


III. Accelerating the sustainable growth of CSOs as community drivers

We will accelerate the speed of development and sustainable growth of Bulgarian CSOs as community drivers by building their capacity for resilience and positive narrative. We will also invest in the further development of BCNL as a sustainable legal center for the private sector.

1) Building CSO capacity for sustainability

2) Building positive narratives

3) Investing in the sustainability of BCNL as the “legislative” and “innovation” center for the sector


We plan to do all these in the next 36 months and we are thankful for the trust and the support we have from America for Bulgaria Foundation.


Budget asked from ABF: 981 770 BGN

Own contribution: 142 400 BGN.


The America for Bulgaria Foundation (ABF) is an independent, nonpartisan, and nonpolitical American grant-making foundation working in partnership with Bulgarians to strengthen the country’s private sector and related democratic institutions. Thе Foundation seeks to enhance the longstanding legacy of goodwill and friendship between the American and Bulgarian people to promote US-Bulgaria people-to-people contacts.  For more information, please visit