leancampBulgarian startups, like those in many other European countries, continually face a problem: growing beyond our local markets. 
We find too many of my friends in hustling hard for potentially Zombie startups.  All that hard work, but not a lot of progress in the numbers that truly move them forward. On the other hand, there are clear strengths here in Bulgaria; companies that have grown globally, and investors building broad networks.
Digitalk’s around the corner – a great example of how networked Sofia is becoming, but it seems the networking skill is locked in a few individuals. What if we could tap into that, learn the networking skills ourselves, for our own startups?
The knowledge is here.  For example, Vessy Tesheva from Telerik recently shared her approach with me: “Partnerships mean each company can act proactively on the others’ behalf. This takes trust, which comes from thinking about relationships, not deals or connections.” Max Gurvits from Teres and Eleven explains to me how, for any networking goal, he makes a list of 100 potential people, since that research means he’s more likely to make contact sooner. Sofia’s seen the arrival from Stanford’s D-School, Elina Zheleva. She’s been teaching the D-School techniques, in courses for social enterprises, restaurants, and soon startups.
Vessy, Elina and Max will be at Leancamp, among other local and international leaders, happy to answer questions and help out Sofia startups. Leancamp isn’t a conference – you get to choose the topics and get answers to your challenges. It’s a non-profit event where the costs cover catering and the flights of our international guests. If you’re working hard to make international connections, join the lean camp Sofia on May 31.

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