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CEED Global Annual Conference | Sofia, April 14, 2016

The CEED Global Annual Conference is the largest event hosted by CEED globally

CEED Global Annual Conference is a networking and learning gathering of entrepreneurs where you have the opportunity to hear and discuss insights about the future of various industries and global trends, as well as strategies, practices and steps for successful business to be implemented today.

Join us to connect with community of 300+ like-minded growth businesses, startup founders, investors and business leaders from more than 17 countries worldwide and be a step ahead of your competitors.

Pitch your product

Are you a dynamic startup or growth stage company in need of feedback and capital to take your company to the next level? If so, take this opportunity to pitch to a panel of international investors.

Apply for a Pitching Session


Who's attending?

Eric SchurenbergPresident and Editor-in-Chief of Inc.

Eric leads the premier print and online publication for entrepreneurs and business owners in the United States. Inc. is an authority on the fastest growing, most-innovative companies, trends and the biggest names in business as well as businesses on the rise.

Jim StikeleatherChief Innovation Officer at Dell

Jim leads a team of information technology and business experts who identify, evaluate and assess the future potential of new technologies, business models and processes to address evolving business, economic and social trends for the company and customers.

Galahad ClarkManaging Director and founder of Vivobarefoot

Galahad is a 7th generation shoe maker and member of the Clarks dynasty. His unique heritage meant growing up immersed in a world that honored tradition and pushed boundaries of design innovation. Vivobarefoot launched in 2012 as a stand-alone brand and has since sold over 1 million pairs of shoes.

Maria AnselmiGeneral Manager Bisnode Southern Markets

Maria has in the last ten years developed Bisnode business in the region through organic growth, M&A and partnerships acquiring a profound understanding of the business environment, digital information market and local languages. She is also responsible for continuous innovation and implementation of last concepts and technologies keeping Bisnode a relevant business information provider.

Vassil TerzievChief Innovation Officer at Progress

Vassil Terziev is a co-Founder and co-CEO of Telerik where he played an instrumental role in growing the company from a small startup in Bulgaria in 2002 to a leading global enterprise software vendor with 9 offices in 7 countries and more than 130,000 customers, including more than 450 of the Fortune 500®. Following Telerik’s acquisition by Progress Software (NASDAQ: PRGS) in December 2014, Vassil now serves as Chief Innovation Officer of the parent company where he is responsible for identifying growth strategies and new market opportunities, as well as promoting internal innovation

Linus BilleFounding Partner and CEO of Eicorn Enterprise Ignition

Eicorn is a venture-creation and innovation consultancy company based in Sweden that specializes in engineering their client’s innovation activities to have strong commercial merit and exceptional execution power. Linus works with larger corporations as well as entrepreneurs and startups. He has previously founded, invested in and managed a handful of companies, headed the Web & Mobile business area at HiQ Göteborg, and holds an Executive MBA from Saïd Business School University of Oxford.

Dr. Anna-Marie VilamovskaSecretary for Innovation and Healthcare, Administration of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria

Dr. Anna-Marie Vilamovska is Secretary for Innovation and Healthcare to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, H.E. Rosen Plevneliev. In the fall of 2015, Anna-Marie was selected as one of “New Europe 100 outstanding individuals” who are leading world-class innovation from Central and Eastern Europe by The Financial Times, The Visegrad Fund, Google and ResPublica. Anna-Marie co-chairs the Presidential Councils for Science and Education and for Social and Economic Development and represents Bulgaria at the EC Member States Board on Digital Entrepreneurship. She also manages the Presidents’ “John Atanasoff” Outstanding Young IT Scientists and Entrepreneurs Awards”, and the largest national philanthropic campaign “Bulgarian Christmas”.

Ralph CattoCEO of Guiding Capital

Ralph runs Guiding Capital, a non-industry specific private investment company supporting growth companies reach their potential. In 2000 he founded Housing Partners, a business providing software and service to the UK’s social housing sector. He continues to support the company and serves on the board.

Filip GenovFirst Vice President/Special Projects, UniCredit Bulbank

Filip is a senior banker with 20+ years of executive experience in Bulgaria and numerous other markets, where he initiated and created a wide array of innovations, new business lines, products and companies in the financial services area. In 2013 he became the first Eastern European manager to be elected to the Executive Committee of the Factors Chain International, being responsible for the R&D and innovations. Filip is also an avid supporter and business angel.

Ivaylo SimovCo-founder at Eleven

Ivaylo is one of the most experienced VC professional in South Eastern Europe, with over 50 investments, ranging from acceleration stage at @Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund through expansion capital to the largest LBOs in the region. As part of @Eleven Accelerator Venture Fund he invest in early stage startups, using an incremental investment approach. He provide up to EUR 50k during a 3+3 month acceleration stage program under one roof, with the ability for up to EUR 150k follow-up seed investments.

Jaka LevstekCEO of D.Labs

Jaka leads D.Labs from London, a technical cofounder company - specialized for supporting startup founders in their early-stage of product and customer development. Jaka, an entrepreneur, consultant and mentor to a wide variety of tech and digital initiatives across the globe is also Deputy Program Director, MSc Strategic Marketing, Imperial College Business School.

Pavel EzekievCo-founder of NEVEQ

Pavel is a co-founder of NEVEQ, two venture capital funds invested in more than twenty software and internet companies. He co-founded Sofica, a Southeast European outsourcing company, acquired by a multinational in 2014. Earlier, he worked at Microsoft, at a global investment bank and managed a government agency helping private investors in Bulgaria.  

Mariyana HamanovaFounder and Executive Director at Cleantech Bulgaria

Mariyana leads Cleantech Bulgaria, who is dedicated to clean technologies and sustainable development and they bring together key stakeholders (industrial, political, academic, entrepreneurial as well as non-profit) to increase clean tech projects and venture development in Bulgaria. Mariyana is also co-founder of Back2BG, a career website for qualified professionals and graduates students.

Elvin GuriCEO of Empower Capital

Elvin is an investor and entrepreneur with a successful track record in financial services and is presently the founder and CEO of River Styxx Capital, an investment and advisory firm. Empower Capital invest in Bulgarian companies by providing growth capital, management expertise and connections to propel them to the next level. He previously co-founded JetFinance International, the largest independent consumer finance lender in SEE, having lent more than 1.5 million loans for around EUR 500 million.

Anne Kjær RiechertFounder ReDI School of Digital Integration

Anne founded the vocational training program in Berlin that teaches basic and advanced programming skills to asylum seekers to get them job ready. She was recognized by Berlingske Business Magazine as one of Denmark ́s 10 largest talents under 35 years, in the "Business Development" category.

Peter RighiGlobal Director of CEED

Peter co-founded CEED 10 years ago within the Small Enterprise Assistance Funds (SEAF), a venture capital firm focused solely on emerging and frontier markets. CEED was set up to get SMEs better positioned to receive investment and to scale. Today CEED has over 3000 annual member entrepreneurs and has reached over 30,000 companies in the last 10 years with support and services.

Lyuben BelovCo-founder and managing partner at LAUNCHub

Lyuben is one of the pioneers of the Bulgarian internet business and the local startup ecosystem. He was the co-founder of one of Bulgaria's largest IT companies, and after exiting in 2007, he became a private investor. He co-founded LAUNCHub, a 9-million-euro seed fund based in Sofia. 

Vuk DjukicPrinciple at South Central Ventures

Vuk Djukic is acting as the Principal for South Central Ventures (SCV), through Enterprise Innovation Fund (ENIF), which is focused on tech companies in the Balkans. His previous experience includes private equity, M&A consulting through IMAP and finance background.


Nikolay YarmovDirector of CEED Bulgaia

Nikolay is one of the CEED Network founders and has been with CEED Bulgaria as Executive Director since its inception in September 2005. Experienced private sector development promoter, SME finance activist with an open heart to assist young entrepreneurs in their early stages of development.

Elizabeta PlaninicFounder and CEO of Putujbolje

Elizabeta is founder and CEO of two companies, Putujbolje is specialised travel agency for corporate travel, and Čuvar Sjećanja (Guardian of Memories), first service world wide for tending graves. She was elected for female entrepreneur in Croatia for both brands.


Stanislav SirakovPartner at LAUNCHub

Stanislav has more than 10 years’ experience in the financial industry, managing project and building new businesses inside the corporate world. In 2008 he left his fast growing career at Allianz, raised an angel round to build his own startup – market place for small business lending. Learning some lessons the hard way, he ended managing the biggest business plan competition in Bulgaria – Empower Award, where-from joining the LAUNCHub team was the most logical thing to do. Stanislav is a big fan of data driven decisions and happy to be a connector for LAUNCHub portfolio companies.

Michael SchusterPartner at SpeedInvest

Michael is partner at Speedinvest based in Vienna, Austria. He has worked in the IT industry the past decade, riding the startup rollercoaster on a daily basis. From starting the first commercial bloghoster in Europe, over to semantic technologies for collaboration, media companies and social media monitoring he has a broad experience in the daily life of a young tech company. Through his background in Computer Science, Economics and Business Administration he is able to work with startup teams and founders to get their product ready for prime time, address customers early in the life cycle and help build a team with the necessary skills.

Stephane GantchevPartner at LAUNCHub

Stephane Gantchev is Partner at LAUNCHub, a Pre-seed/Seed Venture Capital Fund investing in the most promising entrepreneurs and digital startups in Bulgaria and South Eastern Europe. Prior to LAUNCHub, Stephane started his career in France in Atos Origin and later in Orange (France Telecom) where he was Head of Innovations for the Orange France Mobile entity, discovering and trailing start-up in the mobile/telecom space. Stephane has been very active in the Bulgarian mobile and entrepreneur event scene contributing its grow.

George BrashnarovGeneral Manager at Nemetschek

George Brashnarov is managing one of the biggest software development companies in Bulgaria – Nemetschek OOD Bulgaria (as major shareholder). Mr. Brashnarov’s expertise spans over 20 years in IT areas such as software development, system integration, outsourcing services, consultancy and implementation of IT solutions with major international players and companies from ICT, building industry, automotive sector, financial and insurance institutions. He is President of BASSCOM (Bulgarian Association of Software Companie) and Chairman of the Board of the ESI Centre Eastern Europe (regional excellence Centre of the European Software Institute).

Lyubomir YanchevManaging Director of Melissa Climate

Lyubomir Yanchev is 21-year-old and has programming background. He’s Managing Director of Melissa Climate, one of few IoT hardware startups in BG that managed to enter mass production. They are currently selling their products for intelligent heating/cooling in 13 countries. Lyubo is passionate about people and always tries to inspire more and more people to undertake on their dreams.

Hristo BoyadzhievManaging Director at Despark

Hristo is a highly energetic business leader and social entrepreneur. He is the Managing Director of Despark, an award-winning digital agency that helps dreamers, pioneers and entrepreneurs create innovative products that impact the way people experience the world. Hristo has also founded and runs two NGOs that tackle various societal problems. He is a passionate traveler and photographer who has visited all 7 continents and has set his sights on reaching space one day.

Konstantin ChristoffCo-founder at Sensika Technologies

Konstantin co-founded Sensika in 2012 to build a single-access external intelligence solution with the vision to inject actionable data into every decision, efficiently changing the way enterprises navigate their business. He is instrumental in product design, business strategy and execution.

Venko SimeonovProducts and Development Executive, Harmonica

Venko is responsible for production strategies and development in Harmonica. Harmonica is one of the most dynamic organic food producers in Bulgaria, fulfilling a dream to create a successful business, through delicious food with care for the land and people.

Toni PerecOfficial photographer

Toni is a professional photographer and specializes in private and corporate special event, travel and portrait photography in real-time. She has the creative vision and prowess to capture the qualities and emotions that set her clients apart and boldly tell their story in crisp, clear visuals. Toni has build her business by word-of-mouth, and prides herself in taking great care of her clients. Her photography always delights.

What's the program?

Main Stage

  • Registration and Welcome Coffee
  • 9:00 - 10:00
  • Kicking off the conference
  • Nikolay Yarmov, Director of CEED Bulgaria
    Peter Righi, Global Director at CEED

  • 10:00 - 10:15
  • The great myth of visionary entrepreneurs
  • Eric Schurenberg, Editor-in-Chief of Inc.com

  • 10:15 – 11:00
  • Are You Ready for the Future?  What Will Your Company Look Like in 2025
  • Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer at Dell

  • 11:00 - 11:45
  • Failure VS Success – Why you should focus on learning from victories
  • Linus Bille, Founding Partner & CEO at Eicorn Enterprise Ignition

  • 11:45 – 12:15
  • Networking lunch
  • 12:15 – 13:15
  • Café chat hosted by Eric Schurenberg: Pushing the boundaries
  • Discussion with:
    Galahad Clark, Managing Director and founder of VivoBarefoot
    Maria Anselmi, General Manager Bisnode Southern markets
    Ralph Catto, CEO of Guiding Capital
    Vassil Terziev, Chief Innovation Officer at Progress

  • 13:15 – 14:15
  • When Women Thrive: Lessons from women leaders – who are not afraid to think differently and lead differently
  • Discussion with:
    Maria Anselmi, General Manager of Bisnode Southern Markets
    Anna Marie Vilamovska, Secretary for Innovation and Healthcare, Administration of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria
    Elizabeta Planinic, Founder and CEO of PutujBolje (TravelBetter)
    Anne Kjær Riechert, Founder of ReDI School of Digital Integration
    Mariyana Hamanova, Executive Director at Cleantech Bulgaria

  • 14:15 – 15:30
  • Becoming Future Ready: What to Stop, Start and Do Differently Beginning Today
  • Workshop by Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer at Dell

  • 14:15 – 15:30
  • Pitch your business
  • and get feedback from investors and entrepreneurs:
    Stanislav Sirakov, Partner at Launchub
    Ivaylo Simov,  Co-founder at Eleven
    Vuk Djukic, Principal at South Central Ventures
    Michael Schuster, Partner at SpeedInvest
    and others.


  • 14:15 – 15:30
  • Coffee break
  • 15:30 – 16:00
  • The Future through the eyes of investors
  • Discussion with:
    Lyuben Belov, Co-founder and managing partner at LAUNCHub
    Ivaylo Simov,  Co-founder at Eleven
    Elvin Guri, CEO of Empower Capital Fund
    Filip Genov, First Vice President/Special projects at UniCredit Bulbank
    Pavel Ezekiev, Co-founder of NEVEQ
    Vuk Djukic, Principle at South Central Ventures
    Michael Schuster, Partner at Speedinvest
    Gary Dodge, SEAF fund manager


  • 16:00 – 17:00
  • Builders vs. Developers: How growing companies cross the talent chasm?
  • Jaka Levstek, CEO at Dlabs

  • 17:00 - 17:30
  • Closing of the conference and Celebrating 10 years of CEED
  • Anniversary cocktail

  • 17:30 – 19:30

Pre conference 13 April
Innovative Bulgaria: Success entrepreneur stories of Bulgaria

Pre conference is organized only for international CEED members

17.00-17.30 Registration and welcome

17.30-18.30 Innovative Bulgaria: Success entrepreneur stories of Bulgaria

Discussion with:
Lyubomir Yanchev, Managing Director of Melissa Climate
Hristo Boyadzhiev, Managing Director of Despark
George Brashnarov, General Manager of Nemetschek Bulgaria
Nadezhda Visheva, Representative  of Bio Bulgaria
Konstantin Christoff, CEO and Co-founder of Sensika Technologies
Moderator: Leona Aslanova, Founder of Innovation Starter Box

18.30-20.00 Evening networking of international members

Location: Betahaus, Krum Popov 56-58 str. Sofia 1421

Special air travel offer for CEED conference

Turkish Airlines is the official airline of CEED Global conference and special discounts are offered on certain booking classes. In order to proceed with the online booking tool for Turkish Conventions please visit the Turkish Conventions website https://www4.thy.com/TKC/app/main?language=en and use the event code “159TKM16” under delegate section.

Who is CEED?

CEED builds entrepreneur communities and strengthens businesses by providing them with access to mentors, networks, knowledge and capital they need to grow. The first center was founded in Sofia, Bulgaria back in 2005.

Today, CEED has more than 30,000 companies in its global network and operations in Morocco, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Armenia, Moldova, Bangladesh and Albania, with projects in 10 other countries.

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