Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Character.bg: Updating Well-Being and Character Building with Science, Teamwork and Technology
Explain your project in details:
One of our main objectives and activities is to research, inform and communicate appropriately contemporary findings in well-being and character building, so that what parents, teachers and society do on a daily basis with children and students at home and at school matches as much what science and practice prove to be accurate and relevant nowadays. Information and knowledge are a necessary first step, but changing behavior to match science takes experiences and practice. Another of our main objectives and activities is to engineer certain thematic experiences for well-being and character based on science, and eventually social innovations, which empower parents, teachers and society to help children and students develop well-being and character skills in order to flourish nowadays. Well-being and character are a team effort, so one more of our objectives and activities is to help children, parents, teachers and society coordinate and cooperate more effectively in this direction. We firmly believe that applying and incorporating contemporary technologies and tools horizontally across our objectives and activities, and well-being and character building in general, will help us: more interestingly communicate topics and engage children, students and adults, for example, with VR and AR; individualize the process and the thematic experiences as much; more easily unite participants and places for character building and make it more accessible to work in a team from anywhere, for example, through a social network and a mobile application; reach more people in Bulgaria and other countries and have greater impact, which is important for our social entrepreneurship venture. The scientific and digital approach to well-being and character, which Character.bg features and embodies, is innovative. Educationwise, positive education is also an innovative educational approach in Bulgaria and worldwide, helping kindergartens, schools, public administrations and educational systems better balance between academics as well as well-being and character.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
In search of ever new laws, new leaders, mysterious formulas for development, children, adults, local communities and countries seem to forget that all we need to truly flourish nowadays as people, organizations and societies worldwide lies in every single one of us. Sustainable development, social change, quality of life, they all begin from within. Character.bg recognizes this and our impact on sustainable development as a social start-up would be figuring out how to act from within, how to scientifically integrate our mindsets, heartsets and character skills with our families, jobs, public areas such as education, business, politics..., how to create customized conditions and experiences, which help us find, nurture and live according to the best in humankind. Particularly in Bulgaria, we raise awareness of this new topic through soft events, having already organized with co-fellows a Festival on Positive Education, a Forum on Innovations in Education, a Character Day 2017 campaign, public discussions, a round table with experts, relevant public meetings with professionals... We have conducted 40 character workshops in 21 public schools with approximately 1000 primary students, building vocabulary, basic understanding and character skills on character strengths with high application in education. We have translated and adapted certan thematic resources for teachers, parents and experts as well as designed and carried a training with 1 professional credit for teachers on positive education. We have been supporting a primary school in Bulgaria apply and get approved of as an innovative school with positive education as innovation, which allows us to work and evaluate success in a real environment with real students, teachers and parents for the next 2 academic years. We have established relationships with pioneering organizations in this field such as the International Positive Education Network, VIA Institute on Character, Character.org, Character Lab, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues.
Sustainability and future plans
We are a social start-up in Bulgaria, which supports social change, sustainable development and quality of life through social innovations. Our sustainability and future plans are subject to our vision of humankind, which develops, cultivates and lives according to its best version. Our greatest value added to society would be designing social innovations for sustainable development and quality of life based on practical wisdom, well-being and character, such as, for example, what kind of tools and models featuring and based on wisdom and character can serve as alternatives or help reduce bureaucracy and overregulation in contemporary society. Currently, Character.bg focuses on education, since education feeds with talent and people all other public areas of life such as business, healthcare, politics, etc. The business model of the platform - social network features a combination of: 1) subscription fees to online content; 2) paid offline activities and experiences such as: entrance fees to certain soft events; positive animation for kids and students, which scientifically build well-being and character skills through meaningful and funny experiences; thematic trainings for teachers, parents, experts, companies; methodological support in terms of consultations to kindergartens, schools and public administration for successful integration of positive education; 3) commission fees for intermediation between users and providers of well-being and character experiences; 4) sales of branded thematic products and articles; 5) opportunities for personal and corporate social responsibility, including gifts, donations, sponsorship, crowdfunding..., which allow for covering associated expenses with activities, such as our character workshops for students at schools; 6) project and grant based financing; 7) own and outside investments. Initially, we base, develop and conduct activities in our native country Bulgaria, but we dream of exporting them to other countries globally upon successful implementation and results. For additional information, please, take a look at this video as well: https://www.facebook.com/accandu/videos/1438288702948969/.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
I have always been inspired by people such as Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Bulgarian national heroes Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev. Since my birth in 1985, I have wanted to be able to do socially important and meaningful acts like they did. Meanwhile, for 33 years already, I have been interested in politics, economics, education, social affairs, leadership. I strongly believe social entrepreneurship is a combination of all these, embodies them and provides opportunities for social impact in our 21st century context. My most colorful dream is to develop and affirm as a true social entrepreneur. To make my dream come true, I consciously initiated our social start-up ACC&U and cofounded our social project Character.bg. I have been purposefully building capacity for entrepreneurship in myself by participating in workshops, trainings, projects and programs, such as: the ZGI:kompakt by the Social Entrepreneurship Akademie in Munich, Germany; the Summer Entrepreneurship Program of the America for Bulgaria Foundation, taking place in the US for 1 month in cities such as New York, Boston and San Francisco and conducted by Babson College and the Institute of International Education; the Start-up Academy BG-MK project, which awarded our start-up idea "positive animation for kids" within Character.bg with 1st prize; other local trainings. Believing in the benefits of social capital for more successful and effective entrepreneurship, I have joined the creative community of MOVE.BG, an online platform for innovative solutions for societal change and sustainable development in Bulgaria, serving as its ambassador for my native region and I am also an active member of the Association of the Bulgarian Leaders and Entrepreneurs - ABLE. Hopefully, with certain greater achievements and results on my behalf, I am planning to apply for an Ashoka fellowship as well for additional social entrepreneurship capacity building.