Why join the conference?

If you are a social entrepreneur or an active citizen:

  • you will meet successful European social entrepreneurs and find out more about their background and approach
  •  you will learn about social initiatives that businesses are interested in and how to attract support for your own initiative
  •  you will hear the viewpoint of the European, national and local authorities on the development of social entrepreneurship and you will find out what are the support instruments they are developing
  •  you will meet over 100 other active citizens and social innovators from Bulgaria and Europe with the opportunity to share experience, exchange ideas and form partnerships.

If you are a representative of the business sector or the public institutions:

  •  you will learn about great/good examples/best practices from Bulgaria and Europe demonstrating how the business sector and public authorities can support social innovations in solving pressing social issues
  • you will meet successful social innovators and active citizens whom you may want to support.


About the conference

The conference will take place within two full days. There will be a simultaneous translation from Bulgarian to English for all foreign guests at the conference.

Partnering for Change Conference in Sofia is a follow up of Partnering for Change events in Stockholm (Sweden), Zagreb (Croatia) and Astana (Kazakhstan) organized by Reach for Change – an international foundation that finds, supports and scales social innovations improving the lives of children and youth. Currently we are supporting over 100 social entrepreneurs that have participated/participating in our Incubator in 17 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

This series of events share the philosophy behind the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 17: A successful sustainable development agenda requires partnerships between governments, the private sector and civil society. These inclusive partnerships built upon principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that place people and the planet at the center, are needed at the global, regional, national and local level.

Partnering for Change Conference is part of the ‘Transfer of Innovative Practices for Enhancing the Social Impact from the Activity of Social Entrepreneurs’ project funded by OP Human Resources Development’ 2014-2020, co-financed by the EU through the European Social Fund.




  • November 26
    Partnering for Change
    08:30 - 09:00
    09:00 - 09:30
    Opening and welcome
    Yordanka Fandukova, Mayor of Sofia

    Maria Gabriel, EU Commissioner digital economy and society

    Biser Petkov, Minister of Labor and Social Policy

    Elisaveta Belobradova, co-founder, Ole Male

    Tatiana Burmistrova, Regional Director for Central Europe and Kazakhstan, Reach for Change

    09:30 - 11:00
    Social entrepreneurship ecosystem
    How the partnership between business, institutions, and civil society could foster innovative solutions on pressing social issues

    The session aims to define partnership as a key factor of success for the social innovations in Europe.


    Questions for discussion:

    Why the social innovations and social entrepreneurship are important for the society?

    - What can teach us the successful examples of social innovations started from bottom up?

    - What are the roles of the institutions and the big business in fostering the social entrepreneurship ecosystem?


    Silva Zourleva, Member of the Board of Directors of Nova Broadcasting Group

    Sofia Breitholtz, CEO, Reach for Change

    Nikoleta Popkostadinova, social entrepreneur, Loveguide.bg

    Kristian Lundquist, social entrepreneur, CEO / Co-founder, Gro Play (Sweden)

    Moderator: Yuriy Vulkovsky, Reach for Change Bulgaria

    11:00 - 11:30
    Coffee Break
    11:30 - 13:00
    Partnership between the business and social innovators
    Partnering for Change: How companies can co-create social innovations with the social entrepreneurs.

    The session aims to present and analyze best practices of effective partnerships between corporations and social innovators with an emphasis on the exchange of knowledge and expertise.


    Questions for discussion:

    - What are the needs of the social innovators in order to scale their social impact?

    - What is the benefit for businesses to enter in cooperation with social innovators?

    - How to go beyond charity and use the full potential of the partnerships?


    Irina Vasilevska, Chief Corporate & Legal Affairs Officer, Telenor

    Ivan Dimov, Founder, Single Step Foundation, CEO of the Bulgarian Entrepreneurship Centre (Bulgaria)

    Grzegorz Konieczny, Country Manager, ING Bank, branch Bulgaria

    Irma Liubartienė, Founder, DRAMBLYS (Lithuania)

    Moderator: Sofia Breitholtz, CEO, Reach for Change

    13:00 - 14:30
    Lunch break
    The organisers will provide lunch at the hotel's restaurant
    14:30 - 16:00
    Open discussion: Partnership between the business and social innovators
    Partnering for Change: How to facilitate the partnership between business and social innovators

    The discussion aims to analyse further the win-win relations between big businesses and growing social entrepreneurs.


    Questions for discussion:

    - In-between “business” and “social” – what are the benefits and the challenges of the social entrepreneur’s position?

    - What is important for businesses when they search for partners in the social impact sector?

    - How to measure social impact and how to measure the effectiveness of a partnership?

    - What is your answer: “How to facilitate the partnership between businesses and social innovators?”


    Opening introduction: Petar Reić, social entrepreneur, Omolab (Croatia)

    Opening introduction: Yana Lipovanska, social entrepreneur, co-founder, Margaritka (Bulgaria)

    Nikolay Yarmov, CEO, CEED Bulgaria

    Blagovesta Pugyova, social entrepreneur, “Give a book” Foundation

    Monika Kovachka – Dimitrova, Program Director, SAP Labs Bulgaria

    Vicktoria Blazheva, PR and Communication Director, UniCredit Bulbank

    Moderator: Krasimira Velichkova, director, Bulgarian Donors Forum

    16:00 - 16:30
    Coffee Break
    16:30 - 18:00
    Open discussion: Partnership between institutions and social innovators
    Partnering for Change: How national and local institutions could cooperate better with the social entrepreneurs for social change

    The discussion aims to discover the recipe for successful partnership between social entrepreneurs and public authorities.


    Questions for discussion:

    - What can we learn from the successful Swedish and Bulgarian examples of cooperation at the local level?

    - How could the government facilitate the scaling of the social innovations?

    - How to stimulate the cross-sector/ horizontal cooperation between ministries and agencies in support of social entrepreneurship?

    - What are the opportunities in the new Bulgarian Law for social economy and social enterprises?


    Opening introduction: Gunilla Lundberg, social entrepreneur, founder, IT Guide (Sweden)


    Opening introduction: Emilyan Kadiyski, social entrepreneur, founder of Vratsa Software

    Petar Nachev, Director, Directorate “Living standard, demographic policy and social investments” Ministry of Labour and Social Policy

    Denitsa Sacheva, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Science and Education

    Denitza Lozanova, Research and Development Director, Sofia Development Association

    Iva Taralezhkova, Chair of the Board, Citizen Participation Forum

    Moderator: Neli Koleva, Public Partnership Director, Teach for Bulgaria

  • November 27
    International cooperation and social innovations
    08:30 - 09:00
    09:00 - 10:30
    Nordic – Bulgarian best examples and opportunities for partnership
    Partnering for Change: Nordic – Bulgarian best examples and opportunities for cooperation in support and development of social innovations for achieving of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

    The session aims to present best practices of social innovations, to put them in the context of SDGs and to explore the new opportunities for Nordic-Bulgarian cooperation in the social impact field.


    Questions for discussion:

    - What can we learn from the successful examples from Denmark, Sweden and Bulgaria? What is common and what is different in their development?

    - How can we facilitate further exchange and cooperation in the field of social entrepreneurship between the Nordic countries and Bulgaria?

    - How could the institutions, businesses and social entrepreneurs cooperate to achieve the SDGs?


    Opening remarks: H.E. Ambassador Søren Jacobsen (Denmark)

    Zoya Paunova, Country Manager, AstraZeneca

    Boyana Kotseva, social entrepreneur, founder of Parakids, (Bulgaria)

    Adam Werner, lecturer, Tilia (Sweden)

    Rasmus Thøger Christensen, founder, LIVSKRAFT (Denmark)

    Moderator: Sofia Breitholtz, CEO, Reach for Change

    10:30 - 11:00
    Coffee Break
    11:00 - 12:30
    Social Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans
    Social Entrepreneurship in the Western Balkans: How the partnership between institutions, donors and support organisations could foster the growing number of social innovators?

    The session aims to identify the level of development of social entrepreneurship in the region and to map the main challenges and opportunities in front of the entrepreneurs and support organisations.


    Questions for discussion:

    - Is social entrepreneurship a donor’s fashion or a real trend in the Western Balkans?

    - Is there a gap between the available financial instruments and the needs of the early-stage social entrepreneurs in the region?

    - What is the difference in the social entrepreneurship field’s development in the EU member states (for example, Croatia and Bulgaria) and non-EU member states (for example, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina)?


    Neven Marinović, Executive Director, Smart Collective (Serbia)

    Marko Gregović, founder, BRODOTO, (Croatia)

    Jelena Ribić, social entrepreneur, Family Tales (Croatia)

    Larisa Manastirli, EBRD Director for Bulgaria

    Vladimir Marić, Impact Incubator Director, Mozaik Foundation (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

    Mirjana Šakić, Erste Bank (Austria)

    Moderator: Tatiana Burmistrova, Regional Director for Central Europe and Kazakhstan, Reach for Change

    12:30 - 12:45
    12:45 - 13:30
    Key note speech: Željko Khermayer
    Key note speech and discussion with Željko Khermayer – social entrepreneurs, founder of Feelif, winner at European Social Innovation Competition

    Mr.Khermayer will give share more about Feelif and will give answer to the following questions:

    - What were the factors for the success of Feelif?

    - What were the main challenges Feelif faced during its development and international scaling?

    - How Feelif measures its social impact?

    13:30 - 14:30
    Lunch Break
    The organisers will provide lunch at the hotel's restaurant
    14:30 - 17:30
    Impact Management Workshop
    Social Impact Management

    Moderator: Ida Johansson, Impact Officer, Reach for Change


    What will you get from the workshop:

    - access to the methodology for Impact Management of the global foundation Reach for Change – lead expert in Impact Management, supporting over 100 social entrepreneurs in its Incubators in Europe, Asia and Africa

    - find our how to apply procedures for impact management in your organisation, even if you have a very small team

    - specific tools for impact management, which you can use in your organisation


    The workshop is free, but the seats are limited and the participants will go through a preliminary selection until November 21st.

    17:30 - 18:30
    Conclusion and next steps: for participants and media


With the financial support of