BVCA at Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow

The Bulgarian Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) joined the discussion at the Women in Entrepreneurship Roadshow in Sofia.

The #WER19 event was organised by the European Young Innovators Forum (EYIF) based in Brussels and it includes 10 cities across Europe. The goal of the project is to facilitate access to finance and knowledge for women entrepreneurs, as well as to provide them with top advice from experienced mentors in a two-day event that aims at empowering women and broadening their connections in the local ecosystem.

BVCA members and team gave insights and advice to entrepreneurs from investment perspective during a panel discussion. They presented a brief overview of the ecosystem in Bulgaria, positioning it as a regional leader in terms of financial instruments and deals, but also outlined the ambition to continue working on European and global levels. Zlatolina Mukova, Partner at NEVEQ Capital Partners, added that even though the Bulgarian ecosystem is now well developed and often seen as a regional leader, we need to be more sustainable and to accentuate on the science component in order to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship.

In regards to the gender bias, the panellists all agreed that in Sofia such bias is not visible from their experience – all investors look for ideas and good projects for investment, regardless of gender. According to Rossen Ivanov from BlackPeak Capital and Milen Ivanov from the CEO Angels club however, women stand out with certain criteria that are preferred for certain projects. According to Milen Ivanov, they often show bigger emotional intelligence and ability to handle stress, which is seen as an advantage. Mr Ivanov added that women could show bigger integrity and empathy, which is seen as very valuable for every team.

More than 35% of women in Bulgaria are in tech or science and the country leads the charts for women in ICT in Europe, according to Eurostat. Still, there are only 10% of women founders according to data from Dealroom.co and less applications for funding from female entrepreneurs are received. Maria Marinova from BVCA and Nikola Yanev from Eleven Ventures accentuated on the need for more community building initiatives to encourage entrepreneurs to take risks, share stories, solve problems and test ideas; as well as more success stories are needed in order to incentives entrepreneurs – such as realised exits and investments from top ties global funds.

The 30 selected female founders have received $10.000 of AWS promotional credits valid for 2 years, $5.000 of AWS Business Support and $1.600 of AWS Training offered by Amazon, a main partner in the project.