Entrepreneurship is best learned in practice outside of the classroom — this is the core value of the Elevate Accelerator Program. Having the freedom to experiment with starting your own business, applying your theoretical knowledge in practice, and immersing yourself in a network of experienced professionals are key for becoming a part of the startup ecosystem. The Elevate team believes that new entrepreneurial initiatives can only benefit individuals who are at the beginning of their professional development. That’s why we are joining forces with the Visa Innovation Program to introduce the first-ever Fintech Challenge at the American University in Bulgaria.
Money is the tool for nearly everything in our modern life. Whether we use it to buy new things, pay for services, save for our future, invest in businesses we believe in, support causes that are important for us or generally transfer value — Money is all around. So how could the various applications underlying money change? How will we manage our money in the future? How can we improve all the money flows, so we live a better life? What is the ideal customer journey in the world of money?
The Elevate team and Visa Innovation Program encourage AUBG students, recent graduates and their friends to use their creativity and try to envision a world where money, finance and all their applications are reimagined for a more integrated, meaningful, and positive world.
Some key words to inspire you on possible directions are:
We already mentioned a few of the benefits of applying for the Fintech Challenge by Visa Innovation Program: gaining real-life experience, making your first steps in the entrepreneurial world, and creating a network of experienced professionals who already have the know-how of starting your own business. But, of course, that is not all of it!
The Fintech Challenge by Visa Innovation Program is compliant with all the guidelines of the Elevate Accelerator program. This means that each startup that is accepted to the program gets access to:
- $2,000 initial grant to kick-start their idea, no strings attached;
- A chance to secure a further investment from the guaranteed investment pool at the Season 3 Demo Day;
- Weekly mentorship sessions, workshops, and 1–1 personalized advice;
- Resources from our partners, amongst whom are Eleven Ventures, Open Society University Network, Global Accelerator Network, the AUBG EMBA program, and many more;
- Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing;
- A sandbox-environment to experiment with the idea in real-market conditions.
How to Apply
In order to apply for the Fintech Challenge by Visa Innovation Program, you only need two things: at least one AUBG student or recent graduate in the team, and an innovative idea to tackle the theme “How Would the World of Money Look Like in 2030?”.
Once you have these two things, you go over to the F6S application form and fill it out by October 24. If you need any help with the development of the idea, finding a team, or filling out the application form you can:
- Contact the Elevate team on any social media and email, or find us in Aspire every Wednesday and Thursday until the deadline;
- Attend the Fintech Challenge’s informational workshop on October 6 at 4 pm at the BAC Auditorium or online via Zoom. Representatives from both the Elevate and Visa Innovation Program teams will be there to give more information and inspiration regarding the challenge!
About Visa Innovation Program
The Visa Innovation Program is a fintech pilot-centered collaboration platform spanning across Southeast Europe. The Program is designed to help you scale, supercharge your value proposition and engage with some of the leading financial institutions in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. You can find more about the Visa Innovation Program here.
The AUBG Accelerator Program Elevate is a 4-month experience and mentorship-based program designed to help AUBG students and recent graduates start a business. During the program, the participating startup teams have access to many workshops, trainings, and a mentorship network comprised of experienced entrepreneurs and AUBG alumni. Each team will get $2,000 with no strings attached to validate their idea, and a chance to secure a further investment from the guaranteed investment pool at the Season 3 Demo Day, where the startups pitch their ideas and progress to the Elevate community and investors to find further funding for developing their ideas.
Can only Fintech teams apply for Elevate Season 3?
No. The Fintech Challenge by Visa Innovation Program is one of the tracks of Season 3, where teams can apply with ideas that tackle the theme “How Would the World of Money Look Like in 2030?”. Still, teams with non-fintech startup ideas can apply for the general track by October 24.
At what stage of development should the startup be?
At any! You can apply only with an idea you have but have not worked on, or with a business that you’ve already started and is in development.
How many people can be in a team?
The golden rule is that your team should be comprised of between two and six people. Anything less — you don’t really have a team, it’s a solo founder; anything more — it will be hard to collaborate.
Can I get accepted if I don’t have a team?
The program is for teams only, so just go ahead and find a peer who believes in your vision. Have in mind that the majority of great companies worldwide have been started by two or more co-founders working together and complementing their skills. If you struggle with finding a partner, fill out this form and the Elevate team will assist you!
Is the program free?
You do not pay for any part of the program, including the application form, the interviews, the mentorship sessions, Demo Day, and so on. The initial grant also does not need to be refunded. If your team secures a further investment at the Season 3 Demo Day, Elevate becomes a 5% shareholder in your startup, so that the program can continue helping entrepreneurs, like you, start their own business!