Smart Cross-border Entrepreneurship Accelerator


Project Number – MIS 5070057
Priority axis 1 - A Competitive and Innovative Cross-Border Area
Investment priorities 3a - Promoting entrepreneurship, in particular by facilitating the economic exploitation of new ideas and fostering the creation of new firms, including through business incubators
Intervention fields 066. Advanced support services for SMEs and groups of SMEs (including management, marketing and design services)
Lead Beneficiary CHAMBER OF EVROS
Technology and Human Resources Institute (IATAP)
Start Date Apr 13, 2021
End Date Jul 12, 2023
Budget 534.584,15 €
ERDF Contribution 454.396,53 €
National Contribution 80.187,62 €
The project proposes the establishment of a single Smart cross-border Entrepreneurship Accelerator (SEA) with two regional nodes - one in Evros at the Chamber of Commerce, and one in Blagoevgrad at the American University. Each regional node hosts a Start-up Hub and a Co-working Space, and altogether accommodate an integrated accelerator programme for the CB region as a whole. The objective is to trigger the untapped entrepreneurial potential and enhance new business across the CB area. The project envisages three core actions to set up and run the SEAccelerator:
1) Scoping the SEA - a preparatory stage for content development of a sound training and mentoring programme considering regional specifics.  
2) Building the SEA - Investment and equipment supply to set up the Accelerator’s regional offices - the Start-up Hubs and Co-working Spaces in Evros and Blagoevgrad.
3) Piloting the SEA - implementing a full pilot acceleration cycle for the project beneficiaries. It follows the phase-gate model that goes through a 4-level process of streamline and selection of the most promising business ideas. Level 1, Pre-acceleration, is a series of trainings on business canvas run in parallel in BG and GR. Level 2 is individual mentorship to a selected number of level 1 trainees and mixed teams of entrepreneurs-to-be, allowing for deeper scoping of their business ideas. Level 3 delivers a series of Bootcamps with 2-day tailored trainings to a mixed pool of trainees from BG and GR, with mixed expertise mobilised from across the border. The bootcamps go deep into a wide spectrum of business aspects and entrepreneurship allowing for the participants to acquire new skills and knowledge. In Level 4 the finalists (individual or teamed entrepreneurs) are empowered to pitch before potential partners and investors. The 20 most prospective business ideas will participate in a pitching competition to be organised in the framework of the Final Conference and a Brokerage event.  
The project is to result in: A fully operational SEAccelerator; Raised awareness of the regional ecosystem and stakeholders on a wide scale; 120 participants in the pre-acceleration phase; 30 business ideas by approx. 60 potential entrepreneurs (individuals & teams) delivered training, mentoring, coaching; 20 mature business ideas exiting the Accelerator on the verge of setting up new businesses, opening new jobs;
The SEA is to be a pioneer accelerator for new businesses in the entire CB area. The Start-Hub and Co-working Space are as well the premier in the Blagoevgrad region. Sustaining the Accelerator and ensuring its operation beyond project life as a single accelerator servicing the entire CB area is perceived as the project ultimate success.

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