Svetozar Georgiev, Peter Sharkov, Mira Kusteff, Veneta Andonova, Nusha Spirova, Iskren Krusteff and Malina Kroumova
Photo: Yavor Radev
High-impact, Mentor, Visionary
View Iskren Krusteff’s profile
Chairman of the Managing Board
Iskren Krusteff is a high impact entrepreneur and investor focused on sustainable business models and educational transformation towards partnerships and innovation. He introduced the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in Bulgaria and serves as Chairman of the Board. Prior to building the GEM Bulgaria team, he managed businesses, programmes and projects consisting of cross-functional teams and budgets up to £50m in the public and private sectors in the EU, including the Financial Services Authority in the UK.
Mentor at Start it Smart – Bulgarian entrepreneurship club founded in 2009 with a mission to inspire and support young people to start their own companies. Also, mentor at Endeavor Bulgaria – Endeavor the largest high-impact movement around the world. Since February 2016 Iskren is a member of the Global Advisory Panel of the UAEU Science and Innovation Park (SIP) in Abu Dhabi.
Iskren is a frequent speaker at forums and conferences on entrepreneurship and member of judging panels on national and international competitions for entrepreneurs.
Photo: Nusha Spirova
Entrepreneur & Investor, Co-founder of Telerik Academy
View Svetozar Georgiev’s profile
Member of the Managing Board
Svetozar Georgiev is an entrepreneur, mentor and investor who focuses his efforts on the development of the ecosystem in Bulgaria.
Svetozar is one of the founders of the Telerik software company, which has become one of the world leaders in the market for web development tools, mobile and desktop applications. In 2015, Telerik was acquired by Progress Software, a US public company.
From the beginning of 2017, Svetozar, together with the other founders of Telerik and a small energetic team, took over the development of Telerik Academy – the largest initiative for free IT education in Bulgaria.
Svetozar is an active supporter of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria, an angel investor and mentor of young teams and accelerator funds in Bulgaria.
View Mira Krusteff’s profile
Member of the Managing Board
Mira Krusteff is an entrepreneur, passionate about children and youth, education transformation, informal education and making Bulgaria a better place for living.
She had previously managed high-profile international conferences on urbanism for the Urban Age project of the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, while in London. In Ireland, she set up, together with her husband, the first Bulgarian school in southern Ireland.
Since returning to Bulgaria with her family, Mira is an entrepreneur, in addition to being a member of the board of the not-for-profit GEM Bulgaria. She spends her spare time educating parents on how to use effectively digital instruments to benefit their children. Mira is certified PRINCE2 Project Manager and studied Business Administration and World Politics. Mira is also co-author of the first GEM Bulgaria National Report 2015/16.
Veneta Andonova, PhD
University Professor, Scholar and Mentor
View Veneta Andonova’s profile
Co-founder GEM Bulgaria
Director of Research
Author of the first GEM Bulgaria National Report 2015/16
Veneta is an Associate Professor of Business at the Universidad de los Andes School of Management and the Chair of the research policy committee at the School. Veneta is devoted to the development and adaptation of business strategies in developing countries and those in transition. Professor Andonova supports young entrepreneurs as tutor and mentor and helps companies understand effective and innovative business models, suitable for environments with serious social and economic challenges.
With her expertise, acquired from numerous travels and contact with leading figures in the business science and practice, Prof. Andonova actively participates as mentor of entrepreneurial initiatives in Bulgaria and actively supports student entrepreneurship while in Bulgaria.
She is frequent guest and speaker at international conferences and academic programs. She has published articles in international journals and her reports are popular among the international academic community.
EU funds expert
View Malina Kroumova’s profile
Malina Kroumova is an expert on EU funding and has worked in executive positions in the central government of Bulgaria in the past few years.
View Nusha Spirova’s profile
Nusha Spirova is a project manager in Bulgarian National Radio Darik, board member of Cleantech Bulgaria – business network for clean technologies and innovations in Bulgaria, co-founder of Lambent – a Bulgarian brand for handmade products and a member of ABLE – Association of Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs.
She has Bachelor Degree in “Public Administration” and Master Degree in “European Law” at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. She is an alumnus of Summer Entrepreneurship Program (SEP) at Babson College. In 2015 she was a national coordinator of the biggest European entrepreneurship competition for clean technologies – Climate Launchpad Europe. She has an experience in international and local partnerships in the field green technology and innovation, sustainable management and open innovations.
Over the past three years, she has specialised in areas such as product development, brand management and digital marketing (The Business Institute, Software University). She has 3-year experience as a project manager at Back2bg and Career in Bulgaria, why not? - NGO organisations with a mission to attract Bulgarians with education or working experience abroad back to Bulgaria and starting a business or career here.
View Petar Sharkov’s profile
Petar is co-founder and board member at Start It Smart, one of Bulgaria’s first and most significant entrepreneurial organisations. He is also a co-founder and trainer at MindMapping.bg, licensed personally by the very creator of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan. The company is focused on accelerated learning through the use of innovative tools. Also, he is a licensed trainer by Dr Georgi Lozanov about how to use the Suggestopedia method for faster learning and how to discover the hidden potential of the mind. In addition to that, Petar is in charge of the first pre-accelerator in Bulgaria, Start It Smart | Pre – Accelerator, a 10-week program for first-time entrepreneurs.
His passion to learn and teach is a major component of the driving force behind all projects he is involved with. True innovation, a willingness to achieve all goals one can set, and a passion to create and share with the world are the things that inspire Petar and move him along the exciting and unpredictable entrepreneurial road.
Manager, Judge of Sailing
View Iskra Yovkova’s profile
Iskra is a Business Administration graduate with 15 years of professional experience, including 5 years in top management positions, 5 years of business development experience and 5 years of experience in business consultancy, research and analyses.
Iskra has got considerable experience in the BPO sector, B2B services, project management, a business incubator and virtual incubator development, EU Phare programme projects. She has been Managing Director overseeing the operations of an international multi-channel retailer with 250 employees and has been working as a business analyst with leading international business intelligence companies. In addition, she has been involved in event management for concerts, business conferences and international sports events, holding leading positions in the International and Bulgarian Sailing Federations.
Stela is an Operations Manager in a large international company and has considerable experience in the field of marketing, strategic planning and business analysis. She is also an assistant in the economic development courses at Sofia University, affiliated with Harvard Business School’s Center of Economic Strategy and Competitiveness.
She graduated Business Administration at the Sofia University and studied at the prestigious French university Sciences Po Paris.
Stela takes strong interest in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bulgaria and is passionate about travelling and learning – loves to learn from books, but mostly loves to learn from other people.